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Big Brown going down

Big Brown had the chance to do something very special – win the Triple Crown.  No horse had won it since 1978, when Jimmy Carter was president, gas was 89 cents a gallon, and Hotel California, was atop the music charts.  With impressive wins in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, all that was left for Big Brown was to win the Belmont.  He was the heavy favorite to do so.

The horse’s trainer, Rick Dutrow, certainly thought Big Brown would win.  I feel that he will do it. It's actually a foregone conclusion for me.  To me, I just see the horses he's in with and I see our horse so I expect him to win this race.”

Dutrow didn’t stop with predicting a win or demeaning the competition – he was already celebrating the win.  "I can't imagine what I'm going to feel like when they turn for home," he said. "I just can't imagine. I know that it's going to be a beautiful picture for us. I know our horse is just ... he's just in a zone and I see his competition, that turning for home something is going to come over the crowd. So, I can't wait."

Had Dutrow been able to forsee the actual outcome of the race would be, he probably could have waited a long time, as in forever.  Big Brown didn’t just lose the race, he came in last.  (Somebody somewhere had to think this would happen to a racehorse named after a UPS truck!).  The Belmont was won by a horse that was a 38 to 1 long shot. 

A couple of things stand out here.  The first is that there are no sure things outside of God.  Everything else is subject to weakness, a bad day, poor judgment, etc.  Shining moments and stumbling feet are both part of the human condition and we do no one any favors when we act otherwise.  God alone is perfect.  A lot of energy is wasted exalting people (or horses), that would be better directed toward exalting God. 

The other thing is that if you’re human, it’s just smart to be humble.  If life teaches us anything, it is this:  the reason life is uncertain is because we’re not in control.  If we’re not in control, we shouldn’t arrogantly act as if we are.  Pride goes before the fall (and usually there’s not a lot of time in between).  The prouder we are, the harder we fall.  Just ask Rick Dutrow.  After the race he said, “I feel like a loser right now and I don’t know why.” 

Hopefully, he’ll figure it out. 

"For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted," (Luke 14:11).

"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble," (James 4:6).

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