Faith on the Frontstretch: It Takes Courage to Run Full Throttle at Daytona

Photo credit: Walter Scriptunas II 2020. Used with permission.

“ ... and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”       ~ Hebrews 12:1b

The 2020 Daytona 500 was all about people who seem to have no fear. On the ground were the NASCAR drivers and crews along with many of our country’s brave service men and women who were in attendance. In the air, the fighter pilots of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds performed the flyover for the 10th consecutive year.

Even our Commander-in-Chief seemed to sense the courage all around him. During a prerace interview, President Trump said that one thing he enjoys about NASCAR is how brave the drivers are.

“I think it’s really the bravery of these people ...” President Trump said. “They do all the safety things and everything, but it takes great courage.”

If you’re like me, you might have thought, “Yeah, OK, maybe they’re brave. But mostly they’re just daredevils who like to go fast!”

But ... then the accident happened on the last lap of the race. If you didn’t see the horrifying footage, here’s what happened. Ryan Newman’s car got turned into the outside wall, flipped over, was hit on the driver’s side by another car, and then slid across the finish line upside down.

So after watching the footage of the crash and studying the photos, I’ve reconsidered my stance, and I think the President was right. NASCAR drivers are brave. It takes courage to run full throttle at Daytona.

NASCAR drivers harness a type of courage that’s foreign to many of us. They push through the fear, or at least a little nervousness, to do something they love.

Sometimes things in our own race of life can be just as scary. How do we push through the fear?  The Old Testament book of Joshua tells us one way to get past our fears and move forward with courage.

In Joshua 1, Moses has died, making Joshua the new leader of the Israelites. Joshua must have needed a pep talk, because God essentially tells him, “I’ll be with you, just like I was with Moses. Your job is to lead the people into the Promised Land. But don’t be afraid, because I’ve got your back.”

In Joshua 1, the command, “Be strong and courageous” appears in verses 6, 7, 9, and 18 – yep, that’s four times. I guess God really wanted Joshua (and us!) to get the message.

Here’s verse 9:
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.    ~Joshua 1:9

“Be strong and courageous.” That’s God encouraging you to run full throttle, knowing He’s got you.

Courage isn’t something many of us come by naturally, even if we’re leaders like Joshua -- or soldiers or race car drivers. But relying on God and having faith in His protection and guidance can diffuse fear and infuse us with the strength to do things, even when we’re afraid.

So how does this apply to your life? Well, courage is throttling up even when you still feel the fear, because you trust God and put your confidence in Him.

Maybe there’s something you need to do, but you’re afraid. Apply for a different job? Have a difficult conversation? Take a yoga class? Move into your own apartment? You fill in the blank.

Is it easy to take that step? Heck, no. But it’s so important if you want to move forward in life.

If you feel God leading you to do something, go ahead, and run full throttle. Be strong and courageous. As you trust Him and move forward in faith, He’ll be right there beside you.

When I am afraid, I will put my confidence in you. Yes, I will trust the promises of God. ~Psalm 56:3 (TLB)


“Faith on the Frontstretch” explores the role of faith in motorsports and runs once a month during the NASCAR season. Beth Bence Reinke has been writing Faith on the Frontstretch off and on since 2011. A lover of Sundays and chocolate, she's also an editor, a registered dietitian, and the author of more than three dozen children's books.

Want more racing devotions? Just click to read more Faith on the Frontstretch columns. Follow Beth on twitter at @bbreinke. 
Faith on the Frontstretch: It Takes Courage to Run Full Throttle at Daytona Faith on the Frontstretch: It Takes Courage to Run Full Throttle at Daytona Reviewed by Beth Reinke on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 Rating: 5