Crossing the Finish Line

>> Saturday, June 4, 2011

For racing fans, last Sunday was a delight; two big races the same day. It was the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500 … and in Charlotte it was the longest race of the circuit … the Coca Cola 600.

First was the Indy. I was working in the yard when my husband came to tell me there were 50 laps left. Since all that really matters is the last lap, I knew I would see the important part. On that last lap, J. R Hildebrand, a 23-year old rookie, was leading and looked like he was a sure winner. But that fourth turn was his undoing. He crashed into the outside wall. His car was damaged, but still moving so he crept toward the finish line as Dan Wheldon swept past to cross that all important line first. A little side note: Hildebrand was driving the car that Dan Wheldon had driven the last two years and came in second both times.

Two hours later, the focus turned to Charlotte. It’s been 105 races since Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has won a race … or nearly three years. The crowd roared as he took the white flag. One more lap and he was finally a winner again. Along the backstretch he seemed to be slowing. The problem … he was out of gas. He managed to coast across that all important finish line in seventh place.

In both races, all it took was a blink of an eye to change the outcome.

Life is like that. A few months ago, my friend was driving home from Spokane. In the blink of an eye, her car was rolling across a field and she is now paralyzed from the neck down. The folks who live in Joplin understand how life can change in the blink of an eye. They are suddenly homeless … and their cars are destroyed so they have no transportation to get to work.

We see it on the news all the time. The earthquake and tsunami in Japan changed the entire countryside.

But for those of us who are Christ followers, the race isn’t over yet. We strive toward a finish line that is still in the future. With all that is happening in the world today, it feels like maybe the white flag is waving.

I wonder which turn we are in, coming down to the finish line.

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”
Acts 20:24 (NIV)



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