it’s bigger, bolder, brighter, bluer and it’s back – well technically the bump never left, it is still there, same as always; same place, same size – unaltered by time. It is the warning sign that has changed. It has become new and improved, if you will. This became apparent to me on my morning walk when as I neared the place where the old orange BUMP letters were (they are now quite faded but still visible) I was startled to see even bigger, bright blue, bold letters – BUMP – ahead of where the old neon orange letters spelling BUMP were. Now covering the faded orange letters is a large, bright, yellow-gold rectangle with diagonal stripes spanning the entire width of the cartpath.
A double warning! Unmistakable. Inescapable. No one is going to miss this. But why all the over kill? I wondered. Wasn’t the old warning sign enough? Were people not heeding the old neon orange BUMP letters, so something more drastic had to be done? Is the actual bump really that dangerous? Are golf carts careening out of control and crashing? Are people tripping and falling and suffering bodily injury? Is the bump more of a hazard than the normal hazards one would expect on a golf course?
I pondered these things as I continued my walk unharmed, thanks to the glaringly large letter warning in the form of the word BUMP. If this new warning didn’t work, would I soon see signs along the cart path such as “Beware of BUMP” or “BUMP ahead, proceed with caution” or “prepare for upcoming BUMP” or “BUMP – 300 feet ahead, travel at your own risk”, then “BUMP – 200 feet”, “BUMP – 100 feet”, then “you are now entering THE BUMP zone, use extreme caution”? These warning signs would certainly get anyone’s attention.
They would get my attention. How nice to have a sign warning me when something unexpected lies in my path just out of sight. This wasn’t the case for some dear friends of mine just recently. They were walking along their life’s path; walking faithfully, joyfully, purposefully, obediently. There were no warning signs posted for their particular bump, which turned out to be not a bump at all but a cliff. A full blown drop off. A cliff they did not see coming and so they had no way to prepare for it or to plan for it.
They did not see the cliff coming because there were no warning signs posted along their path. And none of us can see any further down the road than our physical vision allows. That whole crystal ball thing just isn’t helpful or reliable. This cliff appeared out of nowhere. Their path literally gave way, turning into a cliff which then dissolved right beneath their feet into a chasm, sending them into a free fall. A free fall with an unknown end in an abyss with an unknown bottom.
There was no CLIFF sign to warn my friends about what was ahead, as my BUMP sign warns me every morning, lest I be lost in thought and forget to prepare by adjusting my stride. They were not warned to prepare for a free fall. There was no time for my friends to purchase parachutes.
But even though my friends had no BUMP sign in their path (which would have been such an understatement anyway. How would it read? “Road ends, only way out is off the cliff” or “Detour ahead, may involve some off-road, in the air travel”), they had something better. They didn’t see this coming but they walk with and follow the One who did know this was coming, the One who was already at work preparing their next path; the One who knows the beginning from the end. They were surprised, but our Heavenly Father was not.
“I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.” (Isaiah 46:10) ” . . . I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.” (Revelation 21:6) God knows what we will face in our future and is always at work preparing the way ahead of us.
David said in Psalm 139:5-6 of God, “You hem me in – behind and before; You have laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.”
“The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)
In Isaiah 45:2 my Heavenly Father reminds me, “I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron.” Talk about some heavy duty path preparation! Definitely sounds like my Heavenly Father is preparing the way ahead of me, even if I don’t see Him doing it, even if I don’t realize that He has indeed gone ahead of me. I just need to open my eyes to see and to appreciate all the ways He has prepared and made beautiful the path He has for me to travel as I follow after Him, BUMPS, CLIFFS, CHASMS and all.
So my friends found themselves very unexpectedly free falling through the abyss that they never saw coming. But our Creator was already at work on their behalf, making a way for them where there was no way. “This is what the Lord says – He who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, . . . ‘See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert (abyss) and streams in the wasteland.’ ” (Isaiah 43:16, 19)
Their old path had disappeared, crumbling away beneath their feet. But God was busy creating and providing a new path for them to walk upon. Their feet would again be on level ground. “I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit (abyss), out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” (Psalm 40:1-2) God was with my friends in the abyss and He led them out of the abyss by the new path He had created and provided, just for them.
I smile as I encounter my very big, very bold, very bright blue BUMP letters each morning warning me of such a minor thing that I probably would not take notice of it except for the letters pointing it out to me and telling me I should take notice of it.
And then there’s real life, where at any moment my level path may become a steep incline or a cliff giving way to a chasm. However, I don’t need to waste a moment in worry over what lies ahead or worry that there might not be a BUMP sign on my path to alert me, to warn me that there is danger up ahead.
I have decided instead to “Trust in the Lord with all my heart and to lean not on my own understanding; instead, in all my ways I will acknowledge and seek God, and He will make my paths straight, He will direct my paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
I don’t need a BUMP sign as long as I’m following in Jesus’ footsteps. He knows the way that I take, He is the way and He is preparing the way ahead of me.
“Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” (Psalm 143:10)
Oh Lord, “guide me in paths of righteousness for Your name’s sake. lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 23:3 & 139:24)
sincerely, Grace Day
PS. thinking about appropriate cliff warning signs . . . how about . . . “cliff with attached chasm now beneath your feet – no alternate routes available – wings would be good, engage wings now, halos won’t help, water wings don’t count but the prayers of the saints do, so proceed with prayer!”