A few weeks back there was a fiery crash in a Super Late Model race at Evergreen Speedway. I am pleased to say that the drivers involved escaped with minor injuries. Pretty amazing when you hit the wall going well over 100mph and erupt into flames. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
There are times in our lives that take us by surprise. Not that we don’t think they might happen or even that we know they will. I am reminded these past few weeks as I look back on two driver’s we lost, we are not in control of the things that happen around us. Furthermore, we cannot possibly cover every scenario that might occur. Let’s face it there are some unknowns in the racing world. We run the race because we want to see how things work out. We use a passage of Scripture to remind us to prepare in such a way as to be ready for the unexpected.
1 Corinthians 9:24, (NLT), Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!
Running is such a way as to win means you prepare for the unexpected and make plans to overcome anything that might hinder you. Hopefully it doesn’t take a near catastrophe to move us to take all the safety precautions we can. Take a look at that word, precaution. Pre means before. So precaution means preparation for caution. How well are we protected?
There have been well documented cases of high profile drivers suffering injuries before installing additional safety measures in their cars. Those injuries have caused some of their abilities to wane. They have led some to step out of the driver’s seat and some to go home to the Lord.
A friend of mine was in one of the three cars that were involved in the fiery crash at Evergreen, Jeff Knight. Jeff just doesn’t only have a passion for racing he has a passion for Christ. Jeff is the pastor of The Rock Church in Monroe WA. He credits the Hand of God for his deliverance from the incident.
As we talked the other day Jeff walked through his pre-race. Taking his jewelry off, putting the right protection on under his driving suit. Making sure none of his equipment was compromised. He shared that it becomes a habit that he sometimes wonders if it is worth it. Can I just skip some of this stuff? He was thankful that he didn’t that night. He had taken all the precautions he could to ensure his safety. He is thankful the other drivers did also, because it was one of them that pulled him from his car as it was engulfed in flames.
You see sometimes we are not only preparing to protect ourselves, we are preparing to help someone else. Think about a different ending. Think about three cars up in flames. Two drivers unprepared, maybe able to get themselves out. Not prepared to help someone else. That was not the case. All three took the right precautions and were not only able to help themselves but when it became clear someone else needed help they ran back into the flames. One of the images left implanted in my mind was another driver pulling Jeff out of his car in the midst of the fire.
As Jeff and I spoke further he said; “There were more than three of us involved, there was a fourth person in the fire, I felt the hand of God in the midst of the flames. I sat there totally engulfed in flames (after I hit the wall) but there was a presence surrounding me, God was there with me.”
Some of you may know the Bible passage of the Fiery Furnace. I remember playing King Nebuchadnezzar in a Church play. The story in in Daniel 3 and it talks about three men who refused to bow down to a pagan god. The passage goes;
19 Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. 20 Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So they tied them up and threw them into the furnace, fully dressed in their pants, turbans, robes, and other garments. 22 And because the king, in his anger, had demanded such a hot fire in the furnace, the flames killed the soldiers as they threw the three men in. 23 So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell into the roaring flames.
24 But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?”
“Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,” they replied.
25 “Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!”
26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”
So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire. 27 Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke!
28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore, I make this decree: If any people, whatever their race or nation or language, speak a word against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they will be torn limb from limb, and their houses will be turned into heaps of rubble. There is no other god who can rescue like this!”
30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to even higher positions in the province of Babylon.
In His Word God promises to never leave us or forsake us. That is something we can rely on. Jeff felt the presence of God in the midst of catastrophe. We can also have that presence in our daily lives. We need to prepare not only physically and mentally, we need to prepare spiritually. We are God’s creation and each one of us is valuable to Him. He desires that none of us should perish without knowing the love He has for us. I encourage you today to prepare for the unforeseen events of tomorrow by asking God to be present in your life.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27, (NLT), Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.
Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.