By Jim Jack
“Get your motor runnin, head out on the highway. Looking for adventure in whatever comes our way. Like a true nature’s child, we were born, born to be wild. We can climb so high I never wanna die.” As a child…I was mild…mainly smiled…not much got me riled…learned later humans are naturally defiled…sin is systematically compiled…during the B.C. days I wasn’t too wild…Jesus eventually got me dialed…and it took God’s love, grace and mercy for Him to get me eternally reconciled.
“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who couldn’t hear the music,” (Friedrich Nietzsche). Can you hear the [motor] music? I can, but some can’t. There are people who believe racing is too wild and too weird. Why they think this is beyond me, but we all have our own opinions about every aspect of life.
I’m not a dancer—no rhythm here—but I love music and it makes me want to dance to the music…dancing doesn’t make me sea sick…racers dance every time they hear the clock tick…with minds thick as a brick…God says don’t wait, as it’s time to follow Him quick.
Maybe it’s the weird looking helmets and driving suits. Maybe it’s the mysterious looking machines that accelerate down the track at speeds of 100, 200, or even 300 mph. Maybe it’s the smell of the exotic racing fuels burned in the pits during the warm-up, and out on the track. Maybe it’s the sponsors some don’t agree with.
Some people who aren’t into motorsports think it’s a bunch of wild and weird individuals who simply want to party it up, then drive faster than they could ever imagine. You know, I think you have to be a little on the wild side to drive at those speeds. You have to be a little wild to want to spend so much money for only a few seconds of excitement.
When an avid gear-head races, or the fans get to watch their favorite drivers and teams compete, it’s an incredibly wonderful experience. Watching someone using their God-given talent to build and then drive out on the race track is truly a wonderful opportunity to enjoy another facet of life on planet earth…for all it’s worth…Christ came from heaven down-to-earth…to offer us a second birth. That’s a wild and wonderful offer!
I don’t have to tell you we live in a weird world. People ask, “Do I really need Jesus to go to heaven? Yes, you do. And our reply should be as wild and weird as today’s wacky world, as these days you even need Jesus just to go to Walmart!
Some people may even think it’s weird we pray with every drag boat driver and crew before they make a run. It’s wonderfully wild in our minds that we’re honored to do such a wonderful thing like praying for safety, praying everything mechanically works right, and to do their very best as they drive down that race track—smooth and in the groove—full-well knowing that “stuff happens” out on a race course at any given moment.
The road well traveled may seem weird to some, wild to some and hopefully wonderful to most of the others. Most racers are diligent like a surgeon, brilliant like an engineer, more careful than a wise teacher, precise as a mathematician, unknowingly having much patience, and use more great forethought than most political leaders.
Can you hear the music of eight cylinders blasting in your ears? Can you feel the music? Does it make you want to get a little wild and dance in the pits or in the grandstands? I remember when good friend Tom Mettler won his first NHRA Wally, I jumped for joy. Another chaplain said to me, “I’ve never seen you get so excited at a race before.” I didn’t feel weird, but I went wild having a wonderful experience of a friend winning a big race. Hey, I’m just as human as you, and it was okay to let loose a little at the race track.
To be honest with you, when I came to the Lord in February 1988, some close friends and some family members thought I had gone weird on them. Thinking maybe I took some wild new drug. In their wild imagination they believed I had gone over the top with religion and couldn’t understand what happened to me. All the while, it was a wild time in my life knowing that the Creator of the universe simply demonstrated His unconditional love to me in a wild and wonderful way…I have to say…it wasn’t a stage play…it was eternity telling me it was time to obey…maybe earthly weird, but heavenly okay.
Many people simply don’t understand racing and many people simply don’t understand salvation and why it’s necessary for every man, woman, and child on planet earth. God’s love is not an afterthought, as He planned, prepared, and predestined for us to believe in and put our trust in His Son Jesus [the] Christ. He doesn’t force His love on anyone, just like racing doesn’t force itself on anyone. You must experience many things in life to see if they are weird, wild or wonderful. For yours truly, I’ve experienced many things in seventy five years, and I can tell you what is weird (crime), what is wild (racing), and what is wonderful (Christianity).
“The word ‘Christian’ means different things to different people … if we get our information from biblical material, there is no doubt that the Christian life is a dancing, leaping, daring life,” (Eugene Peterson).
Weird for me, is not going to the races, and not being there for our racing family. Weird would also be going to a race and only watching the racing and not being a conduit of God’s love. Weird is also not hearing and seeing God for yourself: This incredible world with its wonders at every turn in the road was created for us to use our God-given gifts to share with everyone we come in to contact with at the races, or anywhere else. Weird is a drag racing fan that loves nitro powered machines, but doesn’t like the aroma of nitromethane.
Wild is seeing, hearing, and enjoying motorsports at its finest, be it an incredible boat screaming across the water with a huge rooster tail and impressing everyone with its performance as the fearless pilot plants the throttle to the floor. Wild is enjoying the aroma of nitromethane and wanting more every time at the races: A wild craving for more…shouting from the shore…loving it better than before…throttle to the floor…can you hear the engine roar…after the crewmen the nitro they did pour…the seconds are less than four…it’s definitely not folk lore…as God truly wants you arriving on heaven’s shore.
Wonderful is learning what an eleven thousand horsepower racing machine can accomplish in a short distance. “Oh but they’re weird and they’re wonderful,” sang someone famous. Weird are so many horses inside a 500 cubic inch supercharged hemi: Wild when all those horses are unleashed simultaneously and wonderful are the results that show up on the scoreboard.
Tell me? How many weird looks did Christ get when He said He would be crucified and then rise from the dead on the third day? How wild was the idea that those who believe in Him would have eternal life. How weird that we are cleansed by His blood. How weird to carry your cross every day. How weird to serve others, not be served. How wonderful for those of us who have accepted Christ as our Savior and Lord knowing we’ll be with Him in heaven. How wild to think, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8).
How many wild, weird and wonderful things have we witnessed at the races? Miraculous saves of crashes that didn’t happen, spectacular fiery engine explosions, races won by mere thousandths of second, and the countless incredible friendships, winners tearing up at the trophy presentation, and world champions praising God for the opportunity to race and win.
Driving faster than 99% of the world’s population may seem weird to those that don’t fathom eleven thousand horsepower when you’re sitting in the seat…it may seem weird to tell others you enjoy sitting at Jesus’ feet…believe it or not the smell of nitro is wildly sweet…or when you opened the door to God who was wonderfully there for you to personally meet…a racing driver can truly be classified as an athlete…for two thousand years Christ has been gathering His own special fleet…He’s always able and willing to lovingly greet…at the track or out on the street…if you look closely you might even see God’s most recent tweet…the Scriptures tell us Jesus is building you an eternal suite…and once you arrive at the finish line of heaven your race of life is wildly and wonderfully complete!