The weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway had a surreal feel to it. It was familiar yet different. We were in a place that we have been to many times but the feeling you get from visiting an old friend wasn’t there. It wasn’t like you could relax and just take it all in. Have our surroundings taken on a surreal feeling? Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Fall trip to New Hampshire Motor Speedway has become a welcome time of late. The focus is on the Modifieds, they are the main attraction. They occupy the center garage, they camp in the driver/owner lot in the infield, and they are treated with the respect their brand of racing has earned. It is a welcomed and anticipated date on the schedule.

But this year things were different. Not anything the track did, they continue to roll out the red carpet and make this a headline event on the schedule. It was more the restrictions in place because of COVID. Freedom is something you don’t truly appreciate until it’s gone. I am hopeful that we realize that before we get too comfortable with the “new normal”. The freedom to move around, associate with others, share each other’s company, talk with each other and just relax has been removed from our world.

We find ourselves questioning, can I go here or there? Where’s my mask? We stomp back to the car or camper, forgot my mask! We are slowly losing our freedom to just go someplace or see someone without concern. Used to be, keys, wallet or purse. Now it’s keys, wallet, purse, mask, hand sanitizer, etc. Oh to return to the simpler times.

We find ourselves isolated because of social distancing, afraid to shake a hand or embrace with an encouraging arm over the shoulder or hug. We cannot read people’s reactions, see their face. We have no idea if they are smiling or hurting behind that mask. We are uncomfortable and indecisive about offending someone who might see things differently. Our entire way of socializing has been handcuffed and we are not free to just spend time together the way we always have.

This leads us to the surreal feeling, a bizarre way to be together but not together. I was there but it just didn’t feel right. I find myself frustrated and agitated. I am sure I am not alone. Where do we turn from here?

We need to start regaining the freedom and independence we set aside in the name of health and wellbeing. The cure is proving worse than the infection. The first step is placing our trust and faith in the only source that is truly just; God. He and He alone will lead us through this. He and He alone will help us overcome our restlessness.

For the past few columns I have been writing about this and it may seem redundant but bear with me, we need to be confident of one thing, true peace comes only from God. Like anything we do we need to keep reminding ourselves what is true, what is right. The things around us are not real, they are manmade. We do not have to let them become our reality. Our peace, our joy, our comfort and security comes from the Father above, God. The armor of God comes to mind.

Ephesians 6:10-18; NLT; The Whole Armor of God

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

We must protect ourselves from the schemes of the enemy with the armor of God, from our head to our feet. The helmet of salvation; know who you belong to and don’t forget it. Protect your heart; allow only what is right to enter in. Hold your life together with the belt of truth; the truth found only in the word of God. Know the word of God and use it to cut through all the “fine sounding arguments” of the enemy, cutting through all the lies and discern the truth. Have intentions of bringing peace, the peace of God that comes from the Good News, wherever you go. Shield yourself from attack with your faith, strengthen it so that it can turn away the flaming arrows intent on destruction.

Make no mistake this is a battle and we are in the middle of it. Know the peace of God that secures our future no matter how this turns out. But don’t be passive. Living a life that follows Christ requires that we keep moving forward, keep bringing peace, keep soldiering on regardless of the challenges we face. Don’t worry about your back, God has that covered.

Remember we are in this together and by walking alongside each other we will get through this. Look around and see if there is someone you know that might need a little encouragement, maybe a little help to get through the day, week or month. Commit to walk alongside in faith and help them. Maybe you need some encouragement, don’t be afraid to shout it out, we are here and others stand by ready and willing to come alongside. We are stronger together!

Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.