I’ve always hated to hear that so-and-so “lost his or her battle with cancer.” I intentionally don’t use that phrase because I know Bill Edwards did not lose anything.
Oh, I have certainly had moments in the past seven weeks (plus one day and 6 hours) when I felt like he did lose, but that’s only when I’m dwelling on the prayers God didn’t answer the way we wanted Him to. The loss is mine – and even that is not eternal truth when I remember that “to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
We don’t see all that God is up to right now in calling Bill home, but we do know it is GOOD – and the girls and I were blessed to see that first-hand at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway yesterday.
Bill loved sports cars and fast cars of all kinds, none more so than the incomparable Indy cars. That’s why he was beyond pumped to be a part of Kingdom Racing (www.kingdomracing.net) and their ministry to share the Gospel through motorsports. In past years, he delighted in attending the Indy 500 and, among other duties, capturing images of the world’s most watched one-day sporting event. Only one time, a friend actually captured a shot of Bill – walking arm and arm with founder George Del Canto, as they did so often when they walked the grid and prayed over every team, every driver, and every soul on the track.
George approached me after Bill’s service in March and said the Kingdom Racing team wanted to honor Bill’s legacy with their season. At their gracious invitation, the girls and I flew to Indianapolis on Saturday and were treated as their guests at the world-famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway…knowing they had a surprise for us but not fully prepared to see what that was.
We proudly donned our new beafish designs t-shirts (www.beafishdesigns.com), greeted friends of Bill’s, took pictures in the suite, and were then escorted to the garage.
George took the covers off the #24 Townsend Bell/Robert Graham car, and right there above both back tires was Bill’s beafish logo with the inscription “in memory of Bill Edwards.” George expounded on what Bill meant to all of them and said that this year their car would make those infamous 200 laps with “angel wings.”
I was moved to tears – just so completely humbled – and if that wasn’t enough, after the cars rolled through Gasoline Alley and lined up for the time trials, precious George put his arms around Brittany and me, guided us in walking down the grid and said, “So this is what Bill and I did.” And he began praying safety and blessing over every car, every driver and every soul at the track. Just like he had done with Bill so many times.
In that sacred moment, my spirit soared for the first time in seven weeks (plus one day and 6 hours). NO loss, ALL gain. Gain of a deeper appreciation of a sport and ministry that meant so very much to Bill, a deeper realization of yet another group of lives Bill touched, and mostly a deeper awe of a God who loves me enough to allow me to participate in any of this wonder.
Over the top.
All of the above.
Next Sunday, the 99th run of the Indianapolis 500 will take place and we will be praying for all, but cheering for one: car #24 — owned by Kingdom Racing and Dryer & Reinbold. Driven by Townsend Bell at over 220 mph, it will fly around that famed track with angel wings named for a little-known but widely-loved fisher of men. And I will say, “Godspeed, sweet Bill. You win.”