In the aftermath of recent events it is all too clear the uncertainty of life. We are in the habit of looking ahead to future events with anticipation and excitement. We do not know what the future holds. We need to know who holds the future. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

 My thoughts are with the families that mourn losses. The events of the past week have a way of focusing our attention on the uncertainty of life. Being involved with racing there is the ever present uncertainty of how things will finish. The race must be run for before the checkered flag falls.
 When the checkered flag falls for us we do not know. We cannot predict the future. If we knew when the end would come it would paralyze us and prevent us from living each day. The difficulty is when the end comes suddenly, unexpected, not at all the way we figured things would go.
The racing community deals with that as a real part of their lives. We have been there when the checkered flag fell for someone at a time we didn’t expect. We know the suddenness and finality when life ends unexpectedly. But we move on and remember.

We have learned from those times and made provisions to eliminate as many risks as possible. Sometimes we get complacent or self-assured and think it won’t happen to us. I remind you of the uncertainty of life.

 This past week we have witnessed what happens when we don’t learn, when we don’t address the underlying issue. We have had our hearts broken, our attention raised, our fears confirmed. We have seen it in living color, the depravity of man. Our society is breaking down before our very eyes. Are we helpless to change this? Are we bystanders only here to observe? Can we turn this steamroller around?

The answer is yes, we don’t have to sit by and watch our world self-destruct. We are all a part of the solution. We need to stand up and speak out for what is right, just and honoring to God.

Mathew 5:13-15; 13 “(We) are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.

 14 “(We) are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.

Life has been given to us by God and he has instructed us to hold it in the highest regard. The events that surround us demonstrate that we do not value life the way God would have us to. Life has become something we disrespect, expendable, and many of us have determined that we have the understanding to determine whose life should be ended. That is wrong and an insult to the creator of life. We need to value what God values.

As I sat and reflected on these events thoughts come to mind, some encouraging, some troubling. I know the positions on each side of the argument. I have personal relationships with people that have been involved on both sides of the issue. Both sides have a basis for their struggles. My daughter Katie, a resident of New York City put it best.

 “Coming back from vacation to a reality that should not exist. A reality that hits way too close to home for many people I love. A reality that can be rationalized by other people I love. A reality that makes people I love get on their feet and protest down the streets, a reality that other people I love try to avoid or deflect.
 I am grateful that it is a reality I am angry about, that makes my heart break, that makes me attempt to process what it would feel like to be in the shoes of one of my black or brown friends, that makes me want to understand more, that makes me compassionate and that make me want to do something to change it.
 However this reality hits you I pray God’s grace and love will meet you there.”
 Thanks for the wise words Katie, love you.
I listened to a church member on Sunday morning share the real fear a wife and mother of color has when her family leaves the home. Her husband drove truck and would leave their South Carolina home at 3am only to be stopped by the local law enforcement. His fear was that he might lose his patience with the daily interrogation and say something that would be construed as threatening. They finally had to go to the Chief of Police and explain that he was going to work, where he worked and that if the daily questioning didn’t stop they would have to expose it. Every day her husband went to work she feared for his life. This should not be.

I remember the way the racing community received GoGo, a man of color from Haiti. I wasn’t sure how a predominantly white community would welcome him. I prepared him as best I could. To his credit he wanted to go and experience racing first hand. He was welcomed with open arms, asked about his country, shown respect and value that he hadn’t received from the general public. I was proud to be part of such a group that I call family.

But again GoGo had to endure the scrutiny of being different. He worked nights and left the house around midnight. He would tell me of the many times he was followed by a police car. He didn’t understand it. I tried to explain but there wasn’t really any explanation that sounded right. I encouraged him to be careful and cautious. That didn’t prevent him from being pulled over a few times.

On the other side I have very close friends in law enforcement and the challenges they face every day is overwhelming to me. They face a reality that I don’t. They face a challenge that scares most of us. Here is how one Officer’s wife put it;

“Every morning I walk into our closet and see these, my husband’s police uniforms. Not many have these hanging next to their jeans and dress shirts. He didn’t choose to wear these for the fame and fortune. He drives his old, hail-dented, hubcap-less, duct-taped, Mitsubishi to the police station every day so I can drive “his” newer truck. He hates coffee and writing tickets. He avoids donuts and cussing. There is no typical day at work. His office is his police car, his computer, inside it. Some days he comforts victims of sexual assault or rape. Some days he gets in high-speed chases to catch a guy who shot and killed a 9-month pregnant girl in the stomach. Some days he convinces suicidal persons to keep on living. Some days he enters the stench of trash-filled, bug-infested, drug dealer apartments to see 5 kids under the age of 6 running around. Some days he gets fire ant bites from diving into flash flood waters to save a family of 4 submerged in their vehicle. Some days he jumps fences in foot chases. Some days he responds to domestic disputes never sure if he might meet a gun to his face at the door. And some days he rides his police bike and enjoys the random acts of kindness shone to him and his police friends. He loves the kind words and paid-for lunches by random strangers in restaurants. He always tells me about them. He has a daughter who adores him and 2 sons who are so proud of him. He’s called Poppa and Pa Jason by his 2 grandchildren. He loves his giant dog Nala. Sometimes I get mad at his clothes draped over the tub and his tote bag lying on the bathroom floor with his police gun inside. Long ago, when he worked deep nights, I would be awakened to the loud sound of Velcro being detached as he removed his bulletproof vest and I’d be annoyed. Today, I’m praying for those families not much unlike mine who wish they could hear that Velcro sound again.”

The fear on both sides is real and justifiable. There is no one without blame. So where do we turn? Who will make a difference? We must! Those that believe in God, those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. The responsibility falls to us in the communities where we live and breathe. We have to demonstrate and embody the things that honor God. We need to value life as most important. We need to look upon each one as a creation of God and demonstrate His character; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these actions.

His Word tells us that we are salt and light, we need to improve the situation around us and shed light on the darkness. We need to stand up for what is right and just in the eyes of God. That will not always make us popular, but it will always keep us standing with God and standing when the battle is over.

Evil will prevail if left unchecked. Man will self-destruct without guidance. We as a people will perish if we forsake God and choose our own direction. This isn’t about self-preservation, this is about preserving what we all have come to enjoy, Freedom. Make a commitment to stand with God through the power of Christ and open our arms, move our feet, and embrace the lives around us. Show the love that Jesus has for each of us. He loved us so much He laid down his life for us. Amen.

 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.