Although I understand their purpose, I am not a fan of speed bumps. I understand and appreciate their purpose. A speed bump is to slow traffic or reduce through traffic. You typically find speed bumps on streets or in shopping center parking lots. They work. Hit a speed bump moving at too high rate of speed and you get bumped. I understand the purpose and appreciate the effectiveness of speed bumps, but I do not like them.
The reason I do not like speed bumps is because they slow me down when I don't want to be slowed down. The street is a shortcut to where I am headed. If I cut through I will make better time. Until they installed speed bumps. The restaurant I am going to is at the far end of the shopping center. I am ready to eat lunch. Because of the speed bumps, I must slow down. I am in a hurry. I do not want to slow down. Speed bumps get on my nerves.
Life is filled with speed bumps. Life's speed bumps, like regular speed bumps, appear in places and at times that are inconvenient and particularly unappreciated. You are moving through life unimpeded and with great ease. Dreams seem to become reality with more consistency than you ever dreamed possible. Then, you hit a speed bump. What was to be a routine trip to the doctor to get a prescription filled for what you assumed was a simple seasonal cough. You hit the bump when you heard the doctor say, "I am a little concerned about what I am hearing. I would like to run a few tests to rule out some things."
You have worked hard your entire career to reach a point when you can retire and you and your wife can travel, visit the grandkids, and go places you have always dreamed about going. You are moving smoothly in that direction when the president of the company invites you to walk with him to his office. "The slumping economy has hurt us all. Our company, though surviving, is having to make some adjustments." You walk slowly back toward your office in shock. The dreams get put on hold.
The person who has experienced loss knows about speed bumps. You have had some really difficult days and nights. You wondered if you would ever feel like breathing again. Gradually life returned. You were feeling better. When asked, you would respond, "I'm doing better. I'm doing much better. I think I'm through the worst part." Then, bam! It hits. A song, a smell, a movie, a place, or a passing thought jostles your whole being. "Wow! I didn't see that coming.
Your family has gone through some tough times, but you have worked through them with the help of good friends and your church family. You can feel the blessing of healing with each passing day. You thank God everyday for what He has done to save your family from destruction. Then, in the middle of the night, you get a call from the police.
Speed bumps. You find the in the streets and the parking lots, and you find them in your life. How do you handle them?
Like bumps in the road, you have choices. You can look for another route. Usually there is no other route. You can speed over the hoping that will soften the blow. It does not. So, what do you do with life's speed bumps?
Consider how Paul approached his speed bump.
"To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
Recognize what is happening.
Remember that the bump in your path is more than like the work of Satan and not the Father. Paul's thorn was given to 'torment' him. The same is true for that speed bump. Satan has put it there because he knows it irritates you, frightens you, discourages you, frustrates you, and has the potential of keeping you from your goal. Do not assume the worst about God. He is not out to get you. He wants to help you. He is on your side. The speed bump can help you slow down and check your options, adjust your direction, and realign your focus.
Rely on God's power.
Paul admits that he would have preferred to go a different route. He asked for a different plan. When he realized there was no option, he accepted and drew on God's power when he was weak to sustain him. He even came to "delight is weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, and I difficulties." When you hit one of life's speed bumps rely on God's power to carry you over it.
As you travel through your day, pay attention. When you come to a speed bump, do not be surprised. Take it slow and move on. When you are weak, then you are strong.
A Norvell Note
Tom Norvell All Rights Reserved.