Speed Bumps on the Road of Life

Speed bump (or is it speed hump?) with white directional arrows.

The photo shows one of several speed bumps on a country lane near where we live. This one is very abrupt, and it catches many drivers by surprise even if they see the white directional arrows, heed the warning sign (not in the photo), and slow down. Most drivers slow almost to a crawl but, even so, the pavement bears the scars of rear bumpers and trailer hitches that gouged the asphalt as the vehicle bounced over the speed bump. Of course, we can’t see what the bump did to the cars and trucks that hit it too hard, but it was probably not pretty.

Sometimes we run into unavoidable speed bumps on the road of life. Even if we slow down and try to ease past the bump, it can still do us real and lasting damage. A friend drifts away, and the relationship is no longer the same. We lose a job, along with our insurance coverage. An accident or sickness strikes a family member. The doctor comes into our room with that grim “C” word in our diagnosis.

To whom can we turn when a speed bump takes its toll? Self-help books? Support groups? Specialized counselors for careers, finances, health, or grief? Each of these might help, maybe a little or maybe a lot. However, sooner or later we each face a more fundamental question: when life brings us to a speed bump we cannot handle, do we turn towards or away from God?

One time in a park my daughter and I encountered a potentially dangerous, off-leash dog. She was pre-school age, and was not that much bigger than the dog approaching us. At that point she could react in one of several ways: prepare to defend herself, try to run away, or rely on her father for help. The first choice was clearly hopeless and the second choice just as hopeless, but the third choice might turn out well, at least for her if not me. There was no time to think any of this through, so she instinctively turned to me and grabbed my leg. Drawing from this example, when we reach the speed bump and the crisis comes, what is our instinctive response? Do we fight alone, try to run away from the problem, or rely on our heavenly Father?

This Advent season gives us occasion to think about how our heavenly Father did not wait for us to figure out what to do. Instead, He sent his only begotten son, Jesus, to rescue us. We look ahead to celebrating the birth of Emmanuel, God with us, on Christmas Day. And we look further ahead to the day we will celebrate the second coming of Christ. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

2 thoughts on “Speed Bumps on the Road of Life

  1. Definitely, I will not run away from that speed bump. But I won’t try to handle the unexpected alone. It is the ultimate comfort to know that He is always with me.


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