Sunday, the NASCAR Sprint Cup series visited one of the most famous and most honored sites in all of motorsports—the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. When Indiana native and Purdue graduate Ryan Newman, the pole winner and eventual race winner for this year’s race, led the field to the green flag yesterday afternoon, it marked one of the high points of the season for NASCAR’s top series. Filled with the history and tradition of the Indy 500, the vaunted speedway has hosted a NASCAR July race since 1994—the inaugural Brickyard 400 being won by Jeff Gordon. And although it is still a little odd to see the big, heavy stock cars on a track more identified with open-wheel racing, there is no doubt that this is a race any driver would be honored to win. Not simply because of the check or the trophy, but because the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is such a special place.
In the Old Testament, David, the poet-king of Israel, also spoke of a special place—a place that was infinitely more important than any sports arena. He declared:
One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock (Psalm 27:4-5).
As David speaks of the “house of the Lord,” he is not speaking of a physical house of worship, for the temple in Jerusalem had not even been built yet. He is talking about a life lived in the presence of God. There, in that special place, David found God’s beauty revealed, God’s wisdom available, and God’s protection from the fears of life. All of that, and more, is found in His Presence. And there can be no more special place for us to be—all the days of our lives.
Bill Crowder, Sports Spectrum Chaplain