Until recently, I paid little attention to NASCAR. It seemed that all NASCAR was about was turning left and going fast while turning left. Then, a few years ago, I went to Charlotte, NC, to do some work with Motor Racing Outreach. While there, we visited the car shops and met the teams that build the race cars. We saw the process and the engineering involved. Most of all, however, we saw how fragile those big machines are—consisting of thousands of parts engineered to minute accuracy, all of which could fail in a moment of time. I became fascinated with how hard the sport really is, largely due to the challenges presented by so many potential catastrophic failures—catastrophic failures that are exacerbated by pushing those vehicles at 200+ miles per hour for 400, 500, or even 600 miles. Suddenly, for me, the sport was about more than going fast and going left. It was about overcoming challenges, both great and small. That is a metaphor for life. Life is not easy and, I suppose, it isn’t meant to be. Life is hard, but the challenges we face in life cannot be overcome by fast engines or slick engineering. They can only be overcome with the strength and grace of the Lord Himself. Paul, who experienced no small amount of challenges, hardships, sufferings, and reversals, looked through all of those things and saw Christ’s honor. He told the church at Corinth:

We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body (2 Corinthians 4:8-10).

I love that. Paul saw suffering in the name of Christ as part of living the life of Christ—so that he was not overwhelmed or undone by the challenges that life frequently presented. His focus was on the Savior, and that focus was able to carry him through. For us, the same priority rings true. In the strength of the Lord, we can honor Him in all the seasons of life—even those that call us to overcome great challenges. Join us tomorrow on Sports Spectrum radio as we take a further look at the need for healthy perspective as we face the challenges of life.   Bill Crowder, Sports Spectrum Chaplain