22 August 2008

Let's Go Racing

Luke 9:23 (The Message)
Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat—I am.

My husband is a NASCAR™ fan from way back. His favorite driver drove the black #3 car. Tragically, his beloved driver was killed in the early 2000’s when his car hit the wall just short of the finish line. This event took away a lot of my husband’s enthusiasm for racing and it just hasn’t been the same for him. His love for the sport has been revived, and now he cheers on his favorite’s son.

Every weekend, usually Sunday afternoon, this group of 45 (plus or minus) drivers and their teams travel around the country to the different venues on the circuit and race each other. Most of the tracks are ovals or tri-ovals; hence, the drivers mostly just turn left. Each team has an elaborate tractor-trailer, a.k.a. “hauler”, to haul their equipment (cars and state-of-the-art tools), and the drivers have posh motor homes in which they comfortably rest and spend time with their families and comrades when they aren’t on the track or in the garages.

A practice session is usually held the day before the event. During this time, the drivers and their teams test out the particular car and engine they intend to use. They fine-tune their machines based upon data gathered via practice and expected track conditions the day of the actual race. All the teams have a back-up car, incase (a) they wreck or (b) they blow their engine or other major part that would render the car of choice un-drivable.

NASCAR™ has made tremendous strides over the years. Since the aforementioned driver’s death and the death of two other young men shortly afterwards, safety of the driver and the crew has become the top concern of the industry. Teams and their respective owners make use of every bit of modern technology available. There is so much more going on in a NASCAR™ race than for the driver to fire up his engine, keep the throttle wide open and turn left. They have every “what-if” or “suppose” calculated out, right down to how many laps they can get out of a full fuel cell and a back-up driver incase the regular guy or gal falls ill.

In our race called life, we run on the road course that has twists and bends all throughout the track. We don’t get a practice session. We have to get it right the first time. Our machines (our hearts) have to be adjusted so that we can take the checkered flag. We have to pick our team wisely: we must choose Jesus as our driver, the Holy Spirit as the crew chief, and God as our owner who’ll double as our spotter to steer us clear of Satan’s debris on our track. We must use only the highest-octane fuel available, God’s word in the Holy Bible. Our fans (prayer warriors) cheer for us (pray for us) and give us the encouragement we need.

When we get to winner’s circle on victory lane (Heaven), God will meet us there to help us climb out of the window and into His arms. He will present us with our trophy, eternal life.

Philippians 3:14 (New Living Translation)
I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

2 Timothy 4:7 (New International Version)
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Hebrews 12:1 (Contemporary English Version)
Such a large crowd of witnesses is all around us! So we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially the sin that just won't let go. And we must be determined to run the race that is ahead of us.

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