I never knew a lot about professional motor sports. Maybe one reason was because I felt I didn’t have anyone to look up to in NASCAR as a child. I was more impressed with the flee-footed, shake-and-bake Randall Cunningham of the Philadelphia Eagles. Watching a bunch of cars traveling 200 mph never fully captured my interest. It wasn’t until I was hired by Valvoline Instant Oil Change a decade ago, that my suspicion of NASCAR increased. Valvoline not only provides great products, but maintains a winning tradition in racing. (No plug intended)!
Through the years I watched employees take pride in Valvoline racing and weekly followed the track results. So by default, I was privileged to learn some basic knowledge of motor sports. The pit stop was always interesting to me because of all the elements surrounding it. First of all, a successful execution of a pit stop can make or break a race for the driver. I don’t want to focus on the fundaments of each stop, but I do wish to provide examples of the 12 second challenge. Some of the purposes I found were refueling, new tires, mechanical adjustments and even driver changes are permitted.
Though exciting as watching 15 plus technicians sprint to complete their tasks in the pit, not all pit stops are amusing. What about our life in the pits? One definition I found for a “pit” stated, “a low or wretched psychological state”; experiencing feelings of sadness and hopelessness. Increased signs of depression and self-loathing are also apparent. Spiritually we can suddenly find ourselves in a pit as well. Lacking joy, peace and self-control to name a few. We are tempted by the world, and often times tested by God. The world wants to destroy and corrupt you; But God’s purpose is to preserve and prosper you through your trials.
As I was studying the life of Joseph in Genesis 37, I discovered he too had a pit stop. Joseph was an anointed young dreamer, who was spoiled and set apart since birth. Held as “the miracle child”, he faced trials but triumphed through painful life lessons. Though his existence was a rare occurrence, it didn’t keep his brothers from sharing their lack of affection for him. He was treated with high regard by their father, but to them he was an arrogant, no-it-all, tattle tailing brat!
24 And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.
Joseph’s destiny began with a pit experience. Though he would go on to assist ownership of Egypt, God had to humble and teach him how to solely rely Him. He in return was refueled and refocused for his journey ahead. While serving his prison sentence, some minor adjustments had to be made through the testing of his faith. Joseph displayed sincere integrity when tempted and tried by his oppressors.
In life it may seem like you’re in a deep, dark and dry place. GOD IS WITH YOU! Maybe you’re in a struggling marriage, an overwhelming divorce, a career disadvantage, or simply at a faith crossroad. GOD IS WITH YOU! You may be living with anger from a scarred childhood or have witnessed abandonment or abuse. GOD IS WITH YOU! In Genesis 39 you’ll read the words, “God was with him” a number of times. So whether in the pit or in prison, God never left Joseph, nor will he leave us! King David said these words centuries ago,
I can never escape from your Spirit!
So as we travel through life’s pit stops, remember that God is with us! He will refuel us to reach the finish line, which is everlasting life with the KING! But unlike motor sports, the checkered flag doesn’t only reveal the champion. Everyone who finishes the race wins the prize. So no matter what pit you may find yourself in, ask God, “what do you want me to learn from this?”
”These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold--though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” 1 Peter 1:7
Genesis 37 & 39
1 Peter 1:7
Shawn “Three D.” Thomas is a musician, songwriter, teacher and minister of the Gospel. Along with those gifts and God-given talent, he is a husband and loving father.