By Chad Bonham
1993 Daytona 500: Daytona International Speedway (February 14, 1993)
When Norm Miller stood in Victory Lane at the 1993 Daytona 500, he was part of an unexpected win that defied all odds. Dubbed late in the race as the “Dale and Dale show,” Dale Jarrett took the checkered flag in an all-out battle against legendary champion Dale Earnhardt.
As owner of Interstate Batteries and primary sponsor of the Joe Gibbs Racing #18 car, Miller had the unique perspective of watching a second-year team win its first Cup race on NASCAR’s biggest stage. But nearly 20 years earlier, there was another watershed moment that made it all possible. Had it not been for a few key Bible verses, Miller might not have been around to experience the celebration.
“I started drinking and partying at the young age of 14 years old,” he told Beliefnet. “I thought that was what life was all about—have a party and have fun. I got out of college and set some goals for myself and made them ahead of time. But as my life progressed, I wasn’t happy. I was empty and actually anxious about life and failure. My drinking problem crescendoed on me. I had two DWI’s. In the midst of all of that, I climbed the ladder of success but it was on the wrong wall.”
Attempting to climb out of a deep, dark emotional hole, Miller started attending Alcoholics Anonymous and later took a friend’s advice to study the validity of the Bible. Convinced that it was worth reading, one of the first scriptures that grabbed his attention spoke to his personal circumstances.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
“I knew I was a sinner,” Miller said. “I didn’t have any problem with that.”
That led him to the New Testament’s preeminent red-letter passage.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
As he dove deeper, one of the apostle Paul’s letters to the church in Galatia gave him hope that he might be able to fill the void in his heart.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
“Man, that’s what I want,” he thought to himself. “If I can get peace, love, and joy, then I’ve got it. So then I wanted to know how to get the Spirit. Then I learned that when you receive Christ as your Savior as repayment for your sins through confession that God would put His Spirit in your heart and help you live the rest of your life here and then eternally. So I prayed one night. That was in 1974. I’ve been trying to honor Him and walk with Him ever since.”
This devotional is brought to you by Museum of the Bible, a 430,000 square foot museum being constructed 3 blocks south of the US Capitol in Washington, D.C. and is set to open in November of 2017.
(Photos: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images; Bill Hall/Getty Images; Courtesy Interstate Batteries)