Pace Car – definition(google):
a car that sets the pace and positions racers for a rolling start in a warm-up lap or laps before a race, or that returns to control the pace in temporarily hazardous conditions.
Every morning on my drive in to work, I merge in and out of a parade of cars - all of us trying to arrive at our respective destinations. Some are heading in to work same as I. Some are perhaps traveling to the doctor’s office or the grocery store. Still others are on their way to an appointment with a friend or a date with nature. Each of us has an agenda. Each of us trying to get somewhere.
I try very hard to leave around the same time every weekday. I have my ride beautifully timed so as to arrive on time to work, but not too early, and with enough time to grab that much-needed cup of hot coffee before starting the day’s responsibilities. I’ve given myself about a 5 minute buffer since the traffic is fairly predictable, but there are days when that’s cutting it close, especially now that it’s school season.
Inevitably, on the days that I leave a few minutes later and reduce my extra time, I find myself wanting to apply a little more pressure to the gas pedal. I’m a lot less patient with other drivers. I hope for a parting of the sea of vehicles so I can pass ahead. My inability to leave a few minutes earlier becomes everyone else’s fault and my inner peace is in turmoil for fear of being late to work...
...and, almost every time, I get stuck behind a pace car.
> Someone who decides it’s a good idea on a workday to follow the speed limit… what?!
> A work truck that can’t accelerate quickly due to its sheer size – c’mon 0-60!
> A car that wants to turn left at an intersection when the right turn is a no-stop turn and I could’ve just kept going…
Now, all of these things are non-issues on days that I leave with enough time. Since I love to drive, my commute is generally pleasant and calming. I barely notice having to stop for the busses or the myriad other delays that occur without my giving them a second thought.
But the days I’m trying the beat the clock, I want to cut corners. I want to break the law. I focus inward and don’t care about anyone else’s agenda. I become selfish and frantic.
Thankfully – (yes, thankfully) – the pace car slows me down.
It keeps me from going above the speed limit. It helps me stay aware of my surroundings so I don’t cut someone off on the road. It tells me I will get to my destination safely.
God is often our pace car.
When we a racing for a change that may not be in our best interest, God applies the brakes to keep us below the speed limit.
When we are trying to move a barrier too quickly without proper planning or prayer, He is the heavy construction vehicle causing us to take our time and use wisdom.
When we feel like cutting corners will help us get ahead, God is the left-turn car in a no-stop, right turn intersection.
Jeremiah 2:25: “Slow down. Take a deep breath. What’s the hurry? Why wear yourself out?
Just what are you after anyway?” (MSG)
Pace cars aren’t meant to cause strife. They aren’t there to spite us.
They are meant to maintain order, to keep us safe, and to get us ready for our race.
So slow down a little.
Be grateful for the pace cars in life.
Breathe in peace and pray for direction.
And notice the blessings in the pauses.
Photo from www.bristolmotorspeedway.com