Years ago we were driving through a university campus, and our son Monte, age five at the time, asked, “Why do they have those slow-down bumps?” I had never heard them called that before, but his name for them may be more descriptive than calling them speed bumps.

Slow-down bumps. Life is full of them. A financial setback, a deferred promotion, graduation plans delayed another semester, major surgery, a broken leg, the loss of a job, arthritis . . . .

When driving we may not enjoy having to slow to a crawl in order to negotiate those asphalt protuberances spaced every few yards, but we can still see the value of them. And while the inevitable inconveniences and disappointing delays of life may not be much fun, can we perhaps find the good hidden in them?

Isn’t it true that the slow-down bumps of life remind us that we are neither immortal nor invincible—that we are not in complete control of the situation? This is humbling, to say the least—but then we recall that humility is not a bad quality to cultivate (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

Then too, and often against our will, life’s slow-down bumps are able to do what perhaps nothing else could do—they force us to slow our hectic pace to the point where we can think—and grow.. They soften us where we’ve been too hard, and they strengthen us where we’ve been too lax (Romans 5:3-5; James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 1:6-7).

There are at least two ways to drive over a slow-down bump: 1) we can resent it for all we’re worth and go jolting over it with teeth-rattling defiance, or 2) we can accept it for what it is, and go gently over.