Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Faith on the Frontstretch: When the Race Is Over

A lone plane soars toward the heavens in the flyover at Dover International Speedway on Sept. 29, 2012
Credit: Beth Bence Reinke for Skirts and Scuffs     
“ ... and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1b

When a driver takes the green flag, he has no idea what the end of the race will bring. The best case scenario would be ending the race with a celebration in Victory Lane, maybe even wielding a broom, like Brad Keselowski did in his New Hampshire sweep this weekend.

But in racing, only one driver wins, and outcomes vary for everybody else. A guy could run out of fuel or hit the wall or tangle with a competitor. Sometimes the race is over way too soon, like when Jimmie Johnson’s race day ended on Lap 12, after blowing two tires within a few minutes.

For a stock car driver, when a race ends too soon, there’s always next week or next season. But when a life ends too soon, it’s final.

The ladies of Skirts and Scuffs are saddened at losing of one of our own way too soon: Lisa Reese. Formula 1 fans may remember Lisa as our F1 correspondent from 2011-2012. Lisa’s race of life ended last week without warning, from an apparent heart attack.

Our writer and editor Janine Cloud, who knew Lisa best, shares these thoughts:

“Lisa was one of the sweetest, kindest people I’ve ever been blessed with knowing. As beautiful as she was on the outside, she was even more beautiful on the inside: She had the gift of a caring and listening heart.”

Lisa was a woman of faith who loved her Lord, and our hearts rejoice knowing she’s in heaven. Even so, those of us who knew Lisa are in shock and disbelief that she’s gone.

The race of life is unpredictable, speeding forward, like an 850+ horsepower engine running wide open. Sometimes we’re ready for what’s coming – a joyful event like the birth of a baby – and we embrace it, allowing the moment to blanket us like confetti in Victory Lane. But when it comes to illness and tragedy, we aren't ready. The unexpected passing of friends or loved ones catches us off guard, like an abrupt slam into the wall from a blown tire. A vicious boom, with no confetti.

Maybe you know about loss. Someone is here, and then they’re not. Even when the body remains for a short time, the essence of the person – the soul – has travelled somewhere else.

Where do our souls go when we leave this earth? It’s a question everyone asks. Thankfully, God explains it for us in the Bible. “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved...” (Acts 16:31.)

If you believe Jesus died for every wrong thing you’ve ever done, and ask Him to forgive you and to be your Lord and Savior, you’ll go to heaven when you die. Knowing that when your eyes close for the last time you’ll be welcomed into heaven gives you peace. And death doesn’t seem so scary anymore.

NASCAR drivers get 36 chances, each race with the potential to end in a win. But you and I only get one chance at this race of life. We need to know with certainty what will happen to us when the race ends.

Where are you headed when your race of life is over?

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” ~ Acts 4:12
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“Faith on the Frontstretch” appears every 1st & 3rd Wednesday and explores the role of faith in motorsports. Comments or twitter follows welcome: @bbreinke. See you on the Frontstretch!

Want more racing devotions? When you donate $25 to Skirts and Scuffs, we’ll send you a complimentary copy of Beth’s book, Race Fans’ Devotions to Go, a month-long, pocket-sized devotional book for NASCAR fans. Or you can purchase the book in paperback & ebook here.

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