For Danica Patrick, her first days as a full-time NASCAR driver couldn’t have gone more wildly. On Thursday, she made it to the last lap of her Gatorade Duel before being wrecked in one of the more violent crashes you will ever see. Then, on Friday, Patrick shocked many NASCAR pundits by winning the pole for Saturday’s Nationwide series race at Daytona. That great accomplishment, however, went begging on Saturday when, on the 49th lap of that race, she was spun out and wrecked by her own teammate. It was a weekend of dramatic highs and lows for one of stock car racing’s most recognizable faces.
For most of us, life may seem a bit more sedentary, and usually more predictable, than that of a racecar driver. But we can still know plenty of ups and downs—and we are oftentimes most vulnerable for the downs when we are experiencing the ups. Perhaps that is why the apostle Paul warned the church at Corinth: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).
That is a valuable warning. It’s when we think we are on top that we can mistakenly assume that being on top is the norm, but Paul reminds us of the contrary. When we lose sight of the real nature of life in a fallen world, we are very much at risk. Clearly, when moments of success and victory visit us, regardless of what area of life may produce them, it’s fine to celebrate and give thanks for them. But we should not allow ourselves to be deceived by them. As we read in Job, “Man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7).
That is the true nature of life on this badly broken planet, and it’s one of the millions of reasons we are so dependent on our God. Only in His sufficient grace can we stand strong in the midst of life’s experiences—both the highs and the lows.
Bill Crowder, Sports Spectrum Chaplain