Two Words Racers Don’t Expect to Hear

If my life is a race, and it is (1 Cor. 9:24; Heb.12:1), then it makes sense to run it with the same effort, speed and determination that I try to execute on the course.  A predicable coach might summarize the very concept of racing in two words: “Go fast.” However, God isn’t exactly predictable by our earthly wisdom (1 Cor. 3:19). His coaching is counter-intuitive to most rookies as well as many veteran racers. Two words? Try these: “BE STILL!”

It was early Saturday morning of Labor Day weekend. I had just spent the night in a tent that I had setup in the dark after rolling in late to Mt. Home, Texas, for the US OCR Championships. I knew I had a big day of filming, racing, and filming some more ahead of me. I would need to check-in for media passes and my runner’s package. Both would require my ID, which was in my wallet.

MY WALLET!  Where did I put it? It wasn’t with the odds-and-ends that I had thrown in the corner of my tent before going to bed. In fact, it wasn’t in the tent anywhere. So, it had to be in my car; only it wasn’t. I went through both the car and the tent again. Then, a third and fourth time while questioning whether I had even made it to camp with my wallet at all. Had I somehow dropped it in that no name city in which I had stopped for gas during my trip? I had too many things riding on me finding my wallet. Sure, I probably could have talked to the right people and acquired everything I needed without my wallet and ID. Still, it would have been a heavy distraction on my mind all day.

While most of the camp was still asleep, I was having my own private, panic attack amidst the morning darkness.  I had scoured my tent and car many times over and even used a flashlight to search the otherwise dark ground connecting the two locations. Finally accepting my defeat, I looked in the one direction where I knew my wallet couldn’t be. Looking up to the heavens, I found something more valuable than the little cash and few credit cards that reside in my wallet; something that defines me more than the picture ID I had so desperately been seeking.

The famous stars over Texas had never been more vast nor visible, and their collective luminance shined light on the fact that, in my private hustle and bustle of the morning, I had not yet “checked-in” with the Creator (both of the stars and of me). Suddenly, the GO FAST mantra of race day was silenced by the tranquil truth of God’s word; “BE STILL…and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

Sure, racing involves staying fast and focused. However, even the best racers know you cannot redline all the time. Sometimes you have to pause and regain your composure… especially if you are failing an obstacle. Likewise, believers would do well to pause and meditate on our Coach’s instructions, draw strength from our Creator, and let His light cast out the darkness of doubt that often veils what we need to see.

Just a minute of staring into a starry sky seemed to alter the hue of the horizon. In fact, everything seemed an immeasurable degree brighter. So much so, that as I closed my car’s trunk one final time, I found my wallet in the most unlikely place. It had rested on my rear window all night and had become hidden every time I opened my trunk to look for it. Also, the wallet could have been stolen at any time by anyone passing by, but it wasn’t.

Neither our worry nor our preparation, speed, strength, or dedication can account for every anticipated or unexpected obstacle. At some point, we just have to be still and give it to God. May we strive to begin each day and every new leg of the race with our eyes on the prize above instead of only turning to Him as a last resort.

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. -1 Kings 19:11-12

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