Every year when they run the Indianapolis 500, I always imagine what it would be like to drive the pace car. It’s usually a cool-looking Corvette or some other really fast car that leads the lines of race cars around the track. At just the right moment, seemingly at the very last second, just as the starter waves the green flag around the final curve, the pace car dives from the top of the track to the bottom, entering pit row, while the competitors behind it move to full throttle, and the race is on. I wonder what it’s like to hear that gigantic, thunderous crowd? What’s it like, I wonder, to know that there’s no passing the pace car, and that what the crowd is cheering about is that the pace car finally got out of the way so race could begin?
I’ve always wanted to drive that pace car, just to find out.
The pace car doesn’t just start the race, of course. The fact that it leaves the track doesn’t mean it won’t be back. It’s also a safety car or a caution car, you might say. In fact, one of the primary roles of a pace car is to help competitors maintain safe and consistent speeds when there’s debris on the track, or a crash. During that caution period, the pace car enters the track and forces everyone to slow down, reduce speed until any debris or crashed cars are cleared from the track. Once the track is safe for racing, everybody lines up again behind the pace car. There’s no passing the pace car. No need to get in a hurry, until the pace car exits the track again, and the race resumes.
The writer of Hebrews in The Book does a great job of describing what we already know. Everyone knows life seems like a race we are running, or navigating; not a race on a 500 mile track in Indianapolis, but what the writer of Hebrews describes as ‘the race marked out for us.’ (Heb. 12:1) We’re all running our own race, designed by the God who created us. Anyone who’s lived any time at all knows that there is a lot of debris on the track of our lives. So many dangerous obstacles, challenges, things that pop up or interfere with what I define as progress, events and actions that impede my winning my race. Interesting thing about that race, though: I’m the only one running in the race that’s been marked out for me. The objective is not ‘winning.’ I’m the only runner in my race. Because of Jesus, I’ve already been declared the winner. No. My race isn’t about how to win. It’s about how to finish, without growing weary and losing heart. It’s not the race, then. It’s the pace.
My challenge in life is that I’ve never lost my great desire to drive the pace car in my life. How would my life be different if I could simply align my life with the One Who not only Marks the Race Set Out For Me, He’s the God Who Drives the Pace Car. Why do I struggle so with the rules of life’s race: There’s no passing the Pace Car.
Ps. 27:14 ” Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”