I don’t know how we became aware of it. Or remember when we began to claim it. I do know, (compliments of the World Wide Web), that it is a thing—first noted in an 1893 Women’s Temperance Union report. Traveler’s Mercies—the invocation of Divine protection and preservation when on a journey. It works. With reservations.
I had an instance of Traveler’s Mercies on a recent trip to Oklahoma.
On a tight schedule, driving an unfamiliar SUV, I stopped for a minute to get a Quarter Pounder to tide me over until dinner at the airport. (There was an old joke in the days that we traveled the nation holding revival meetings— “How can you tell a prosperous preacher? By counting the McDonald’s wrappers on the floorboard of his Cadillac!”) Pulling out of the parking lot I heard my bag slide in the rear of the SUV but thought nothing of it—bags always slide in the back of an SUV. I drove up the road to get on the freeway, pulling behind a pick-up truck. It didn’t move. A moment later the driver, a young man, stuck his head out and yelled, “Your hatch is open.” I thought that he meant the fuel filler hatch, but as I looked, I realized that yea verily, the hatch was open. I eased onto the road, slowly so I wouldn’t lose my bag. As I pulled into a gas station parking lot my phone rang— “Is this Leon Stutzman, and are you in Purcell, Oklahoma?” I said yes, and the voice asked, “Are you in a Red Buick SUV?” When I said yes, she replied, “I’m pulling up in the white car behind you. I have your bag.” I got out of the car, retrieved the bag, offered the young woman a reward, (twice), for the good deed done, which she refused to accept, saying, “Just pass it on.” Traveler’s Mercies.
I have stories.
Lost on the south side of Chicago, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, driving a friend's Lincoln Town car. I saw the light of what looked like an old service station and said, “I’ll go in and ask how to get to the freeway.” My friend double locked the doors when I got out. I walked in on an after-hours gambling club wearing my long black leather coat with a big rabbit fur collar, topped with a fedora. (The boy dressed bad!) The OG’s, (original gangsters), drinking and playing cards looked up in amazement as I said, “How do I get to the freeway?” Dead silence. Finally, one of them rasped out, “Two blocks and a left.” When I turned to go he said, “Nice hat, man.” Traveler’s Mercies.
Traveler’s Mercies work. Professor Ben ………, was recently driving the interstate at sixty-five miles an hour when he hit a pothole. His tire blew. He safely slowed to the side of the road. Traveler’s Mercies. Somewhere in the archives of our local television station, there’s a video of a Volkswagen Beetle spinning in the middle of the interstate during a thunderstorm, being miraculously missed by speeding semis. His mother, one of our church members, told me, “I always pray traveler’s mercies. So, do I. As you should. Traveling today you need all the help that you can get. A few angels, heavenly and otherwise, never hurts.
When you join me “Behind The Door” I’m going to share some ways that you can experience “Traveler’s Mercies” on the journey of life. This is practical stuff that will help you to finish the trip with aplomb. If you have the password you can go there right now—if you don’t hit the “Sowing” button and sow a seed of any size into the ministry and you will be redirected to the password page. Write it down, it’s good for the rest of the month. I’ll meet you “Behind The Door.”