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Slow It Down, Son

The English language has some words that are used in multiple settings and with different meanings.  One of those that we are hearing today is the word “race”.  The nation is involved in the political “race” for the White House.  All of us are “racing” faster and faster daily to get our work done.  The news media reports various “race” issues between Whites, African Americans, Illegal Aliens, Refugees, and others.  An entire sporting culture is centered around auto “races”.  Movies and media produce things that are more “racy” than ever.

It must be difficult for the new citizen from a different country to learn all of the meanings and nuances of our language and colloquialisms.  Although it may take years for a person to grasp all of the shades of meaning of “race”, we understand when we see any group of people competing to make it “first” to the finish line that we are witnessing a “race”.  We watch in awe at the speed of a car, the strength of a runner, or the power of a gold-medal swimmer.

Does anyone here know who “Million Dollar Bill” is? If you guessed Bill Gates, then you would be wrong. Another nickname is “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville.” In the year 1987, at Talladega Motor Speedway, Bill Elliot set the fastest recorded speed for a qualifying lap at 212.809 mph. This was the fastest miles per hour recorded for qualifying in a NASCAR event. The cars ran so fast that they literally began to lift off the speedway, creating a major safety issue. The speeds were so fast, and they really could not handle the cars. 

NASCAR would implement the restrictor plate. If you are not a race fan, or not a car person at all, here is what a restrictor plate does: The device limits the power output of the engine, therefore slowing the acceleration and the overall speed. The horsepower of these machines is phenomenal. In 2004, Rusty Wallace tested a car at Talladega Super Speedway without a restrictor plate, and reached a top speed of 228 mph in the backstretch, and had a one lap average of 221 mph. Wallace would describe the experience as “out of control,” and he also said that “there is no way that we could race at those speeds.” The restrictor plates have slowed the cars’ speeds significantly, and they now average around 187 mph- still very fast for most of us.

But is it really? We all seem to be going faster and faster, until we actually find out–as Rusty Wallace said– that we are out of control. The things that we are doing are no longer fun, and have become extremely dangerous. (Ricky Hurst, Sermon “Patience- Stop and Smell the Roses”, 5/31/2011).

The Lord knew that we would be stretched and pulled by the demands upon us.  He knew that we would not have a problem staying busy.  What He implored us to do is to seek quiet times set aside to be still and know that I am God.”  (Psalm 46:10).  Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act.” (Psalm 37:7).   Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. (Psalm 62:5-6).  But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength. (Isaiah 40:31).