February 19, 2008
A Runaway Ramp
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” I Corinthians 9:24 (NIV)
My friend Melanie and I were coming back from speaking at a retreat in the mountains when I noticed several runaway truck ramps along the highway as we wound our way down the steep, imposing mountain roads. These ramps were installed so that large trucks have a place to go if their brakes fail, or if they are simply going too fast and could possibly lose control. I took note of the different styles of ramps—some dirt, some concrete—all designed so the trucks would have an “out” in times of danger. All put in place ahead of time, before they were ever needed.
I thought about how we could all stand to install runaway ramps in our lives. Some of us need to have ramps for when we get going too fast, committing to too many things and not saying “no” when we should. Some of us need ramps to slow us down when we our natural brakes aren’t working well as we travel down a path of temptation. And some of us need to have a ramp in place in our relationships; erecting boundaries that keep us from venturing down dangerous roads we have traveled with people before.
For each of us, these ramps will look different and serve different purposes. Like the truck ramps, we need to have them in place ahead of time so that when we get going too fast—when we are threatening to fly out of control—we can quickly get off the path we’re on and find refuge and rest. The ramps should provide us with a place we can sit and catch our breath. A place where we can gain a better perspective.
Do you have any runaway ramps? If so, what do they look like? Perhaps your ramp is a date with a godly friend for coffee to talk, laugh, cry or vent. Perhaps your ramp is exercise. Maybe your ramp is a weekend away to collect your thoughts, go for long walks, soak in God’s Word and spend extended time praying. Perhaps your ramp is a regular appointment with a Christian counselor to process current issues or problems from your past.
I have a friend who schedules a weekly time for her runaway ramp by hiring a sitter to keep her kids for several hours while she visits a local church prayer room and spends concentrated time talking and listening to God. The point isn’t what our ramp looks like—as that will be very personal—but to have a ramp erected, before we get into a desperate situation. It just might be the one thing in our lives that makes the difference between careening down the mountain or making it safely to our intended destination.
Dear Lord, help me to know when I need to get off the road. Help me to see when I am going too fast in the wrong direction. Help me, Lord, to have people and places in my life that are safe. Most of all, help me to remember that I can always run to you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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Breathe, by Keri Wyatt Kent
Make a list of “ramps” you already have in place in your life. Then make a list of “ramps” you might need to have in your life.
What is a danger area for you? What gets you out of control and out of balance? Is it too many commitments, a bad habit, or an unhealthy relationship? Ask God to help you see where and how you can set limits.
Song of Songs 2:4, “He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love.” (NIV)
Psalm 118:8, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.” (NIV)
Psalm 118:25-26, “O Lord, save us; O Lord, grant us success. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the house of the Lord we bless you.” (NIV)
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Matthews, NC 28105