Mar 03 2015
It was the last lap of the Indianapolis 500. Rookie driver, 23-year old, J.R. Hildebrand was leading the world’s most famous race, poised to become the youngest man to ever win the event. As he came down the back straightaway, it became clear he would have to pass one more lapped car (a slow car at the back of the pack) before the race ended. As he drove through turn 3 and into turn 4, Hildebrand moved his National Guard car to the outside of the lapped car. As he exited turn 4, Hildebrand’s car drifted further and further toward the wall. I was watching the race on that May 29th in 2011 and my stomach sank. I audibly gasped and shouted, “OH NO!”
J.R. Hildebrand’s car slammed into the Turn 4 wall, launching a plume of debris into the air. He skidded down the front straightaway toward the finish line. But it was too late. Second-place driver, Dan Wheldon, came roaring out of Turn 4, passed Hildebrand’s crippled car, and won the race. Hildebrand had lost the Indianapolis 500 – a 500-mile race equivalent to 2.6 MILLION feet – in the final 300 feet.
IT AIN’T OVER TIL IT’S OVER
Sean Flynn, writing for GQ Magazine about the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, put it best:
When nothing is certain, everything is possible.
No matter what you’ve done, no matter where you find yourself, your life is not over. You haven’t lost. Jesus Christ was murdered and buried in the ground. It seemed the story was over. His family and friends wept bitterly over their loss. But things were just getting started. The man who performed so many miracles during his life BECAME the greatest miracle in human history. Three days after being laid to rest, he was miraculously resurrected.
We call it hope!
Sometimes things seem hopeless. Events and circumstances seem unconquerable. And perhaps they are for you. But God is bigger than everything. When it feels like you’re losing or that you’ve lost, remember that the Psalmist once felt the same way.
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
Notice something: the Psalmist isn’t looking for specific reasons why his soul is downcast. Imagine a kid who’s crying because she lost her toy. But her mom says, “Why are you crying? Your toy is right here.” The Psalmist is telling himself this massive truth: “You’re despairing so deeply because you’ve forgotten God and his power. He’s right here. Remember him! Put your hope in him!”
My brothers and sisters, saviors save. If your soul is crushed today, put your hope in God. It won’t magically fix everything. But your despair will have hope. Your life is not a loss. Because Jesus proved something incredible to us: Even when things seem certain, anything is possible with God (Matthew 19:26).