Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Bell Tolls for Eight Belles!

"She ran an incredible race. She ran the race of her life." --- Larry Jones, trainer for Eight Belles

She proved to all who watched that she could run with the "boys" -- she was the only filly in the field of 20 in a race that some have labeled as the most exciting 2 minutes in the arena of all sporting events.

Eight Belles was seeking to be the fourth filly in Kentucky Derby history to win the race. She didn't win, but came in 2nd behind Big Brown who was favored to win the 2008 running of the Derby. But shortly after crossing the finish line she suddenly collapsed with both front ankles shattered. And shortly after that the heart rending decision was made to euthanize her on the track where a short time before she demonstrated that she was a fierce competitor!

For many it brought back memories of a race two years earlier of a Derby winner -- Barbaro who shattered a rear ankle after starting a few days later in the Preakness. I saw that race also and was impressed with the fact that this horse, in spite of his injury, wanted to stay in the race until his jockey stopped him!

Perhaps, if we will, we can learn a lesson from animals such as Eight Belles and Barbaro. Their hearts were in racing -- that's what they were trained to do and they put all they had into it until the end.

In this crazy world of confused values and goals, God seeks to break through and remind us that He has a plan for each conceived human being. It will involve training and on our part, giving it the best that we have. The plan begins to unfold once we have repented of our self-centered ways and our sinful rebellion against our Creator, and have received Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.

At one point the holy Scriptures refer to our journey here on earth as a "race" --

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. --- Hebrews 12:1, 2

So, how goes the race on a day by day basis in your experience? There are a lot of distractions and a lot of voices clamoring for attention. All the noise and clamor at Churchhill Downs did not distract a determined filly to give her best and provide dramatic witness that she could indeed run with the best of them!

Eventually each one of us will stand before Jesus Christ -- we will hear one of two statements coming from His mouth -- will it be "Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord." (Matthew 25:21) OR "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!" (Matthew 7:23)

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. --- 2 Timothy 4:7, 8

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