We stood in line preparing to embark on what some might call a "thrill ride"! Numerous small and numbered cars awaited the brave or foolish souls--completely dependent upon your perspective--who would dare to climb aboard and travel at breakneck speeds. With a bit of apprehension, my husband and I paid the posted fee and plopped down in the oh-so-tiny space. Of course, I immediately, and without any needed coaxing, strapped myself securely to the tattered seat. And then, I braced myself for a ride unlike any I had experienced before that moment. You can rest assured that with a white-knuckle grasp I gripped the seat in front of me. And in between the small shrieks of fear I managed to utter, I was overtaken by the feeling that my morning's breakfast could at any moment be hurled through the air. No, I wasn't at SIX FLAGS OVER TEXAS...And no, I wasn't at DISNEYLAND. Instead, this thrilling ride was inside a taxi cab in Costa Maya, Mexico! My husband responded with his trademark laugh--a cackling sound that never failed to capture the attention of all within earshot. On the other hand, I wavered between keeping my eyes tightly shut or keeping them wide open. Of course, the moments my eyes were wide open left me frustrated, since my driver--who must have secretly carried a desire to race at the Indianapolis 500--whizzed past all the sights! Yes, I hardly knew what I was missing, because the scenery zooming past my window was little more than a blur. Suddenly, our very pleasant and uncommunicative driver slowed the cab to a crawl, hung his head out the window, and pointed toward the ground to a rope that was large in circumference and spread across the road. He uttered to us one of the few phrases he knew in English--"Awwww, Mexican speed bumps!" Never had I been so happy to see a speed bump! From that moment on, in a steady succession, Mexican speed bumps appeared...And it was then that everything around me came into clear view!
Later, when I reflected on that moment, I realized the unveiling of an unlikely lesson in an unlikely place. Yes, the truth is that as I attempt to whiz past the challenging circumstances in my life, I desperately need to be slowed down...I need to pause and reflect and be pointed back repeatedly to the ONE who has hemmed me in behind and before. Like those Mexican speed bumps, He is there smack dab in the middle of my life. My friends, there isn't a place where He isn't already waiting and wooing me--ever beckoning me to come into His Holy Presence, take my shoes off, and "sit a spell." And I hear echoes of what the psalmist beautifully and confidently declared, "Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your Presence? If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast..."
Indeed, our gracious God--who has drawn us into intimate fellowship with Himself--invites each of us to embrace the "speed bumps" along the way that we might delight in His omnipresence. Yes, "omni" meaning "everywhere" and "presence" actually meaning something you may not have considered, for it quite literally means "face"! Ohhh, friend, picture your Heavenly Father turning His face toward you at all times! How thankful I will ever be for that glorious day in Mexico when God provided me with an unlikely lesson in a unlikely place--the back seat of a taxi cab! Just as He beckoned me then, HE is beckoning each of us to slow down, let the dust clear, and accept His ongoing invitation. After all, we have His complete attention, for He is ever directing all that He is toward us! Will you join me today in praising our God for His omnipresence?