Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
II Corinthians 4:7-9 (NIV)
Nobody picked him to win.
Nobody, that is, except his owners, jockey, trainer, some loyal family and friends, and one handicapper who said if he could get out quickly he might be able to hold the lead from wire-to-wire and win the horse-race.
At 25-1 odds, nobody was picking First Dude—the three-year-old big bay colt owned by dear and wonderful friends—to win the 135th Preakness Stakes at famed Pimlico Racetrack in Laurel, Maryland.
Nobody, that is, except my two Granddaughters as they jumped up and down in front of the television screen watching as First Dude ran a gallant race and finished second by a head in the second leg of the Triple Crown races—the 2010 Preakness Stakes run this past weekend.
But wire-to-wire First Dude went, in the lead all the way, maintaining a powerful long-reaching stride for most of the one and three-sixteenths mile journey totaling about 1 minute and 55 seconds around the Pimlico Racetrack—until the last few lengths.
The track wasn’t muddy like the Kentucky Derby from a few weeks earlier, but there was still plenty of starting-gate-gitters, bumping, blocked pathways, jockeying for position and struggles along the stretch run. The racetrack was well-manicured and dry, and lent itself as a worthy backdrop for what turned out to be an unexpectedly exciting moment of sport’s viewing pleasure. Even more, upon reflection, it was an unexpected moment of inspiration for us to embrace for the race that is the rest of our lives. For in the midst of all sorts of handicaps pressing in on all sides to confront and overcome from start to finish—as well as the low expectations of everyone except those of us believers, and my Granddaughters—First Dude ran all the way to the end.
He didn’t win first-place—but led all the way until the very end, going wire-to-wire with all he had in him. From the twelve-horse start to the twelve-horse finish he went wire-to-wire with every muscle, breath and ounce of determination he could muster. And in that—he won.
The Scripture above is one of those for the moments we will face on all the racetracks we will find ourselves on in the days ahead. The two-minute moment of First Dude in the 135th Preakness is the lesson for us as to how we should handle those moments on those racetracks we will find ourselves on in all the days ahead. Always—wire-to-wire—win, place, show or somewhere else.
What problems, issues, uncertainties, disappointments, and heartaches are you facing today? What does it all look like tomorrow? What have you just come through yesterday, and feel completely wrung out from? What relationship is still bouncing from post-to-post with no apparent hope of ever settling down? Maybe an old addiction has entangled you again. What dream was just deflated by an unexpected turn of events? Perhaps, the light you thought was shining on your pathway into tomorrow has just gone dim.
I don’t know what you’re facing. But I’ll bet we’ve all been there, or in a similar place before.
Here’s a suggestion—no matter what issues, problems, or uncertainties you or I might be facing—how about we agree to face them from now until whenever—wire-to-wire? How about we also agree to face them with the assurance that the God who loves you and me, who sent His Son for you and for me—is facing them with us—wire-to-wire?
How about we face them remembering and believing in the encouragement from the words of the Apostle Paul…
“But we have this treasure (the saving message of Christ) in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
Face them today.
Face them tomorrow.
Face them all the way into eternity.
In His Name—Scott