Read a NASCAR Excerpt

Read a NASCAR Excerpt
Frustrating Seasons

Read Exodus 32:1-20.

ď[Mosesí] anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain" (v. 19).

It's been called "one of the most frustrating streaks ever in NASCAR history." It belonged to Dale Earnhardt.

Nineteen years in a row, one of the sport's greatest drivers fell short in the biggest race of all; he couldn't win the Daytona 500. "The harder he tried, the more frustrated he became," wrote Jerry Bonkowski about Earnhardt's streak. Joe Menzer called the streak "a one-thousand-pound gorilla."

It wasn't like Earnhardt didn't have his chances; it was just that something always seemed to happen. Perhaps the strangest "something" of all was a sea gull. One year Earnhardt was running near the front when he slammed into a sea gull and was knocked out of the race. In 1986, he was leading when he ran out of gas. In 1990, he was leading on the last lap when he ran into some debris, which jammed his radiator and cut a tire. He finished fifth. In 1993, he again was leading late when Dale Jarrett passed him for the win.

It got so bad that when Earnhardt came to Daytona in 1998, he "had all but given up on his dream. He was resigned to let whatever happened happen." What happened was that the streak ended. On his twentieth try, The Intimidator claimed the checkered flag. The frustration was over and done with.

The traffic light catches you when you're running late for work or for your doctorís appointment. The bureaucrat gives you red tape when you want help. Your child refuses to take schoolwork seriously. Makes your blood boil over, doesnít it?

Frustration is part of Godís testing ground that is life. Whatís important is not that you encounter frustration ó thatís a given ó but how you handle it. Do you respond with curses, screams, and violence? Or a deep breath, a silent prayer, and calm persistence, even resolution when itís called for? Which way do you suppose God wishes you to respond?

I've got that monkey off my back! -- Dale Earnhardt after his 1998 win at Daytona

Frustration is a vexing part of life, but God expects us to handle it gracefully.

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