Ready for Trouble

NASCAR racing at Talladega is never uneventful, often featuring multicar pileups at 190+ miles per hour, with plenty of raw nerves, bent sheet metal, and exposed tempers along the way. Saturday’s Nationwide race was no exception, but the dangers were unusually high—even for Talladega. In the closing laps, a massive crash in Turn 3 collected a number of cars and sent Eric McClure speeding into the soft wall on the inside of the track. Hitting the barrier at such high speed was more than the car could take, and it folded up at impact—before being spindled and mutilated as it spun to a stop. The instant McClure hit the wall, however, the safety crew was on its way. With the right personnel, the right training, and the right equipment, they were able to ascertain the nature of McClure’s situation and slowly, gently, and carefully remove him from his destroyed race car. McClure was then put on a backboard and taken to the infield care center before being airlifted to an area hospital for treatment and observation. NASCAR officials said that McClure was alert and communicative, but it was pretty scary. And yet, in spite of that, it was impressive to watch the safety crew at work. No matter how frightening the crash, they were prepared. They were ready for trouble, and when trouble came they responded accordingly.

This matters because a significant part of life is dealing with trouble. Job said, “Man is born to trouble, as surely as sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7 NIV), and he was right. Life in a fallen world is filled with trouble, heartache, and loss. The question is, how do we prepare for that trouble so that, when it visits us, we are ready to respond appropriately?

Let me suggest three factors that can contribute to our own readiness.

  • First, realize that we cannot bear the load of all the troubles of life today. We can only handle today’s troubles today. To that end, Jesus reminded us, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34). Focus on what is in front of you, rather than worrying over what tomorrow may or may not bring.
  • Second, remember that in the struggles we face today we need help. For that reason, we continually go to our Father in times of need. Paul wrote, “Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble, and always be prayerful” (Romans 12:12).
  • Third, don’t ever forget that God’s love for His child is not diminished by the troubles of life. As Paul said, “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death? . . . No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us” (8:35,37).

We cannot prevent troubles from coming our way—they’re part of life in a broken world. We can, however, prepare for them by recognizing our dependence upon Christ and confidently trusting in Him and His love. His grace really is sufficient.

 

Bill Crowder, Sports Spectrum Chaplain