speed bumps

One of the shows our family enjoys watching is The Great Food Truck Race on the Food Network. Some of the country’s best food trucks compete in cities across the country for a grand prize of $100,000. Each week, the challenge intensifies as the remaining competitors do their best to sell the most food and avoid elimination.

What makes the show especially interesting are the “speed bumps”. This is where the show’s host, Tyler Florence, throws a curve ball their way. When the trucks are up and running, with long lines and big tickets, Tyler calls the contestants and tells them something like: “You have to change locations, now.” Or, “Everything on your menu needs to be $1.” “Your head chef is done for the rest of the day.” “You are now a desserts-only truck.” The teams are left scrambling, and this is where the true stars shine. And the fragile players crumble.

Speed bumps aren’t only on reality shows and paved roads. They pop up in real life and we scramble, crumble and sometimes shine.

I hit my latest speed bump about a month ago when my chronic back pain flared up. But this time was different, and my recovery has not been as quick as in the past. I was pretty much out of commission for a good week, with my body hurting and my brain turned to mush (due to the strong meds). My husband and daughters took over and took care of everything, including me.

In the weeks following, I’ve been working to get better, resolving complications and going to physical therapy. On my daily planner, things have been scratched off, moved and rescheduled. I’ve been surprised by how difficult it can be to slow down. To move and live life s-l-o-w.

I’m used to going fast. I’m accustomed to doing several things at once. So slowing down has, in some ways, been good for me. I did manage to keep up with my bible study on the book of Genesis. And I found that reading about the beginning of the world, studying about Creator God, Maker of heaven, earth, everything on the earth, and ME - it brought me comfort.

My speed bump has been small. There are much bigger speed bumps that people hit in life: death of a loved one, cancer, divorce, job loss, depression…these can bring life as we know it to a screeching halt, and it can be really difficult to move at all.

In the bible, a man named Job hit a mountain-sized speed bump. It was really more of a huge pot hole that swallowed up everything he cherished: his children, his wealth, even his health. Job’s friends were at a loss for what to say, but that didn’t stop them from eventually saying all kinds of things about why such terrible things had happened to him. Job and his friends go back and forth, pouring out their pain, their questions, their judgments and their feeble attempts to explain such suffering.

Then, finally, in chapter 38, after dozens of chapters recording the humans wrestling with the questions, the raw emotions, the struggle to understand and make sense of what cannot be understood - finally, the LORD speaks. And this time He is the one who asks a question.

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone – while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?

“Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther: here is where your proud waves halt’?

“Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place?”

This is the response of God, and this is what gives me indescribable comfort. He is God, and we are not. We don’t understand, but we don’t have to. Sometimes when life slows and my limits are drawn, when I am still and quiet because I am weak and empty, this is when I am reminded of who He is. In the beginning, God created. Made everything out of nothing. Love and freedom, He let us choose. And He chose, from the beginning, forgiveness and redemption.

Are there any speed bumps in your life right now? Are you waiting, watching, trusting? Where do you find comfort?

Psalm 46: 10:

"Be still, and know that I am God."