A post script to last week’s part two of this story — A comment made on that post got me to thinking about the way I got the verses God led me to:
One thing I didn’t add is that I read Our Daily Bread, and it was through those pages that those verses came to me. Always the appropriate verse, just on the day that I needed the lesson – even though the booklet had probably been published months before!
Now part 3:
As I struggled with the rumors and fall-out of Jeff’s divorce; I was shown more than once that I was not to stand in judgment, and I was not to condemn him. It was not my job or my right. Instead, God showed me that He wanted me to continue to pray for Jeff; and He showed me in ways that were unmistakable.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with NASCAR, or any form of auto racing, there is something called the ‘bump-and-run’. The name is nearly self-explanatory. If a driver is having trouble getting by the car in front of him, he bumps the front of his car into the back of the car he is trying to pass and nudges him out of the way.
This may seem a very unsportsmanlike move, but it is done by each and every driver. However, just because they do it to others, that does not mean they like it when it is done to them. In fact, they get rather testy if someone gets them loose and then shoots by them.
So, that summer, as Jeff was going through his divorce, he was not running as well as he had been; and he was not winning. He got a little more aggressive, a little more careless in his driving and ended up ‘taking out’ other drivers. This was when my anger and sarcasm reached its zenith; and I stood in front of the TV and yelled at him like he could actually hear me.
One race in particular, as I watched him head from the back of the field to the front, I also noticed numerous other drivers very handily performing the ‘bump-and-run’ on others. I counted dozens of times when they would push the car in front of them just enough to force the driver to move over and let them go by.
Anyway, fast forward to the last couple dozen laps. Jeff was nearing the front, following another driver that had also not won yet that season. The other driver continued to nudge the cars in front of him to take over the lead; and Jeff followed him through to second place.
I don’t remember what lap it was, but it was within the last few laps, and Jeff nudged the lead car enough for him to be able to go by and take the lead. And win the race.
Now, after watching the other 42 drivers doing the exact same move through the whole race, and seeing the car that finished 2nd do it to get the lead previously, it seemed rather hypocritical that the driver threw a hissy-fit because Jeff did it to him and won the race.
But, during the following week, there were numerous discussions on how that other driver should take Jeff out (aka – crash him) the next race. That whole week I felt a sense of dread and unease that he was going to be hurt the following race.
So, I began to pray … and pray … and pray.
The night of the race, I was glued to the TV.
Now you have to understand; just because I was angry at Jeff for being human, I didn’t want him to get hurt. My stomach was tied in knots because during the pre-race show, they still talked about the other driver retaliating and getting back at Jeff for taking the race win away.
I began to pray in earnest, feeling this overwhelming weight pushing me down. I knelt in front of the TV, praying that if the other driver was truly planning on doing anything, that the Lord would protect Jeff, even if it meant getting him out of the race.
Not very far into the race, something happened and Jeff was done. I don’t remember if it was a blown engine or if he spun by himself and crashed, but he was out of the race.
And the reason I don’t remember what happened is because there were two races where he had a driver mad enough at him to take him out. One race he blew an engine, the other he spun out all by himself, for no apparent reason, and crashed the car.
Both races I had felt a weight pushing down on me, telling me to pray.
There was a third race; and this one I remember vividly.
Indianapolis – The Brickyard 400.
Even before the race started I felt something akin to terror weighing me down, enough that I was on my knees in tears, praying for the kid that had come to mean so much to me. The Lord had put a burden on my heart where he was concerned and it was as if I was in fear for my son.
I began to pray, but it didn’t seem enough. I knelt on the floor in front of the TV, but soon found myself face into the carpet, tears falling as I cried out to the Lord to be with Jeff during the race.
I prayed that God would keep His hand on Jeff, that He would supply everything Jeff needed during that afternoon. Most of all I prayed that the Lord would place His hedge of protection around that #24 DuPont Chevy and keep Jeff safe. It was during the cautions that I felt the need to pray even harder, asking God to allow Jeff to feel His presence in the car, giving Jeff whatever reassurance he needed.
To this day, I do not know what the problem was; but I know there was one.
The day after the race I watched the recap of the race and one of the other drivers commented on how hot it had been during the race – well over 100° in the cars. He said they all dreaded the caution laps because when the cars slowed it got even hotter – all except Jeff. The driver said that he had overheard Jeff talking about needing the cautions because he was struggling so much.
I remember a couple other times during that summer, on a Friday or Saturday, when I would feel this tremendous weight pushing me down, a certainty that Jeff was struggling with something. I felt anxious for him, and was certain there was something the matter. I knew it was the Lord telling me to pray for him. I don’t know what the exact problem was; but I always heard afterward that he had been having trouble during their practice sessions.
This went on for the entire season. Most of the time it was not as intense as the times I have talked about here; but by the end of November I had learned how to listen to the Lord when He told me to pray about someone.
The Lord put a very real burden on my heart where Jeff was concerned, a burden that grew my interest into a deep concern and caring that continues to this day.
And the kid from California has taken his own place on my prayer list – right along with my son and my stepchildren.
© Drusilla Mott and https://drusillamott.wordpress.com, 2012