I was using the vacuum cleaner today and glanced at the television and saw that the Belmont Stakes was about to be run. I had seen California Chrome win the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, the back-story on his owners and how they are just ordinary men who took a chance on a horse no one else wanted had peaked my interest and had me rooting all the way for the Double C. I had forgotten the Belmont Stakes was being aired until I saw it so I turned off the grating sound of the machine and sat down in front of the TV. If I had anything green and purple in my possession I would have put it on!
The commentators were discussing the different horses and their trainers, and I was watching the interaction between jockey and horse with interest. The march to the track began and before long they were in the gate, eyes kind of wild, nostrils flaring, snorting, they were ready, ready for the race they had been trained to win. The gates burst open and out they came running as if running for their life, perhaps some were. As the camera was shooting them from the front you could see the muscles in their legs, powerful and moving forward, ears back, jockeys standing in their stirrups…then it happened, I was watching them running so hard, everyone wanting to be a winner, they had heard the bell and that meant run, win, and they were going for it full force. The front-runner drifted to the middle slightly and with that fell back a little, the horse on the outside made his move, here he came edging out front… Double C moved from the inside to the outside and looked like he was making his move to win, with that the jockeys began to apply their whips! They were hitting the horses on their side, these horses who were already going top speed, and with that I burst into uncontrollable tears and sobs welling up from my stomach. I couldn’t stop, I went to the bathroom, washed my face but the sight of those horses straining, running as hard as they could being whipped to go faster kept going on in the theater of my 3-D mind and I continued to cry.
I sat myself down and thought about why it struck me so hard and found the answer close to the surface of my feelings. In this life we are all trying to make it, some just trying to get from month to month and sometimes it seems that the harder we run the runner on the inside drifts over and knocks us out of our lead. Just as we have lost the lead we thought we had someone does something that compares to the jockey hitting the hindquarters of the horse with his whip. We are fighting to do the right thing, trained from our youth to “make it”, we hear the “bell” and like horses we are off to the challenge of life hoping to be the absolute winner, riding off to the winner’s circle with the Roses or, as today, the Carnations. How many disappointed people leave the track wondering if they have given the “race” all they had and with California Chrome’s loss I identified even further and was really devastated.
Galatians 5:7-10 “You were running superbly! Who cut in on you, deflecting you from the true course of obedience? This detour doesn’t come from the One who called you into the race in the first place. And please don’t toss this off as insignificant. It only takes a minute amount of yeast, you know, to permeate an entire loaf of bread. Deep down, the Master has given me confidence that you will not defect. But the one who is upsetting you, whoever he is, will bear the divine judgment.”
1 Cor.9: 24-27 “You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally. I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.”
These were the scriptures that God put into my heart as I thought on these things. I run hard and I know that you dear reader, do too. Don’t give up, don’t let anyone discourage you, when you hear the bell of life ring, run with determination, don’t get distracted because you can win! RUN!