Since as early as 1959 there had only been two names that came up in conversations as the best in Nascar and most dominate, Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. That is until 1993 when a “Rainbow Warrior” would emerge. Growing up I had always been fascinated with any type of racing whether it was Nascar or Drag Racing. What caught my attention the most was how fast these cars could get to in a short amount of time. For many years Richard Petty was the most dominate driver because he had won 7 championships in his career and then Dale Earnhardt would step in the picture in 1979 as a rookie and would also in his career put up 7 championships as well, with 1994 being his last. What made Dale Earnhardt the most dominate driver was not necessarily the wins but how aggressive he was on the track. He would ultimately become “The Intimidator” because of the black car he drove and his bump drafting that always seemed to lead to bumper rubbing while spinning the other car out to take the win. So, he would do anything to win, an at all cost mentality. So, every villain needs a hero to go up against, right? That is where Jeff Gordon comes in.
As a 9-year-old boy in 1993 I had finally found a driver that I could be a fan of because Jeff Gordon seemed to want to run clean races without crashing his opponents in order to get the win. With his bright rainbow colors on his fire suit and a rainbow on the hood of his car because of his Dupont sponsor, he had arrived to change Nascar forever. Many Earnhardt fans did not like Jeff Gordon because they saw him as a major threat because there was finally someone that could possibly knock Earnhardt off his pedestal of greatness. One of the coolest things I think at that time in 1993 was the fact that not only did Earnhardt win the championship but Jeff Gordon won the rookie of the year that same year, which showed that times were about to change. Like I said before, Earnhardt would get his last championship one year later in 1994 and Gordon would capture his first win that same year so it was only a matter of time before “The Intimidator” would become less intimidating because of the “Rainbow Warrior.”
I will get back to this conclusion of these two drivers in a moment but I want to focus on the comparison that these two have in our walk with Jesus in society. You might be asking yourself; how do these two drivers have to do with our walk with Jesus? Well, remember that this world is a lot like Earnhardt because it seems to be “The Intimidator” in our lives on a daily basis. Too may times we find ourselves finally in the front and this world seems to not leave us alone and can eventually spin us out and wreck us to the point where we seem all hope is lost. This world has that win at all cost mentality but little does it know that it can’t win because only one person has conquered death. The world thinks it has the win until, the “Rainbow Warrior” arrives to show us that the promise is still true today just like it was with Noah on the Ark (Genesis chapter 6) but we have to trust in Him. The world may think that it is the great champion but victory is the one that gives us the promise and peace to carry on. When we are intimidated God tells us in scripture to remind us that we are not to live in fear, but of power and love with a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). See we are the “Rainbow Warrior” for Jesus in that we have to run the clean race and show others that He is the only way to Heaven and that what the world represents is evil and eventually will be destroyed. Loving others is important but according to scripture telling the truth on what the gospel says is true love.
The world has also taken a symbol of promise (Rainbow) that God showed to Noah and has made it to represent sin in many different ways. One, to represent PRIDE, which is a sin in itself to be prideful, scripture tells us in 1 John 2:16 “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.” Two, Same Sex Homosexuality, (Book of Leviticus). As a claimed believer of Jesus, are you blind of this? Have you allowed the world to intimidate you so much that you adjust with it and allow things to happen because you are afraid of what others will think of you? I will tell you that by living out the scripture and truth that no matter what happens to you, you win in the end and you are serving your purpose in life. I am not saying and never will say to hate people because of their sin because that is the total opposite of what scripture says to do. If anything, love sinners the most and pray for them the most and show light always around those that are not in the light because that is our purpose as believers and God will continue to carry out His promises if we are warriors for Him.
Like I said before, Earnhardt may had been “The Intimidator” but he actually became the biggest mentor that Jeff Gordon had in the garage. Sometimes when you earn the respect of others that seem to be your competition, they eventually wake up and listen and understand that you mean well. Just like this crazy world we live in, we can’t give up and change who we are to please someone in it because eventually you never know, that person that seems to intimidate us may be moved in a way that they change in becoming a mentor for others. 1998 was a special year because not only did Dale Earnhardt finally win at Daytona, Jeff Gordon won the most races of his career and anyone in one year with 13 wins but both seemed to be champions in life because of the respect each one had for each other. Earnhardt would end up passing away in 2001 because of a wreck at Daytona, but he proclaimed that he was a Christian and is in Heaven today. I don’t know how or when he became a Christian but I do know that his mentality was changed when he became a mentor to Gordon and other drivers down the road and surrounded himself with more positive people before his death.
If you find yourself struggling to get out of the pits in life and it seems that the finish line is nowhere to be found in this fast speed of life, let Jesus take the wheel today to help you win the race. Amen.