We’re taking a trip, and (as always) praying for traveling mercies.
Fishing rods, half-dozen suitcases, pillows, water bottles, iPods, books, games, snacks and supplies for the big road trip to Wisconsin were all loaded into the Kia minivan this morning as we departed upstate New York. Thankfully, I was only packing for 5 this trip — only the youngest 3 are with Laurel and I — as we go to visit Grandma, Grandpa and other Bissett’s in the Badger State. And with all such trips, we begin our drive with a word of prayer.
With this long trip in mind, at the mid-week prayer meeting last night I led a brief study on “traveling mercies.” Tonight as I sit to write this blog post (from our Toledo, Ohio, hotel room), I find I left all those study notes at home!
What do we have in mind as we pray for “traveling mercies” for ourselves or for others? I think a few Bible passages shed some light on that.
(1) God’s mercies to His people are new every day, wherever we are. In the book of Lamentations, the weeping prophet joyfully declares, “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (3:22-23, esv). So wherever we are traveling, or whether we are not traveling at all, God’s loving-kindness / tender mercies (Hebrew, hesed) are fresh and timely for His people every day.
(2) God is always with His people, leading and guiding them. The story of the Exodus from Egypt into the wilderness — where He led them by a pillar of cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21). This lasted for all 40 years of their wilderness wanderings (EX 40:38), right to the day they entered the promised land. One passage even specifies where the people of Israel were to stop circling and turn to the north! The Lord our God is always with us — even as Jesus promised in the New Testament, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
(3) …Well, I can’t recall my third point of the Bible study at the moment, but will add it later…
(4) Companions are a very good idea when traveling. The Bible even says so, as in Ecclesiastes 4.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him — a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (esv)
One of our prayer meeting members said, “That just good common sense.” Indeed, but it’s also a truth from God’s Word! Another pointed out that Jesus sent out His disciples “two by two” on their training missions. We do well to prepare for our travels and to make provisions for the company of others (or at least the ability to summon help as it is needed).
(5) And, do not forget that God often does great things when one is “on the road.” I took our prayer meeting folks to the book of Acts, first to chapter 8. There an Ethiopian official was traveling home from Jerusalem, and on the dessert road he is met by a Christian and brought to faith in Christ. He even asks to be baptized right on the spot, alongside the road! We also read in Acts 9, about the dramatic conversion of Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus. it wasn’t on his agenda (or “trip-tic”) for that day, but it was the gracious plan of the Lord to redirect Saul’s/Paul’s life from that day forward. Do not underestimate the many “opportunities” that traveling presents for the Lord to act in our lives — in simple or in profound ways.
Today was a long, but safe — and generally happy — day of travel for the Bissett’s. In fact, I marvel that while most of New York was covered by strong thunderstorms, our crossing of the whole state from east to west only brought us under a few sprinkles! Amazing, huh? Especially after all these preparatory thoughts.
Well, I hope to blog a bit more on this trip, as time allows. You’re welcome to follow along. Oh, and do pray for us, and for traveling mercies to be ours — in abundance.