Everyday before my husband leaves for work we have a time of family prayer, culminating in the Lord’s Prayer. Often the particulars of the day’s events are prayed for and we go to our various activities. Yesterday’s prayer asked for traveling mercies since my daughter and I were driving to the Monterey Bay area so she could practice for an upcoming golf tournament.
Despite the cold and rain, we were blessed by a pleasant day together and were on our way home when a bad judgment call on my part resulted in me backing into another car. So, exactly where were those traveling mercies? Very nearby, as you will see.
I got out of the car, as did the driver I backed into. He had a look of dread on his face, which was surprising since I was clearly at fault. I apologized and let him know that I was taking full responsibility for the fender bender. I asked what he wanted to do, since we were on a public road. Quite sheepishly, he said, “I think we need to call the police.” Since he didn’t have a cell phone, I did the honors and informed the Highway Patrol operator that I had just backed into another car and we needed the police to come. She assured me one would be there soon.
Both Jimmy (my new friend) and I were standing in the rain waiting for the police to arrive. He kept saying, “I don’t see what’s taking them so long. The station is right around the corner.” I suggested that we move our cars to the side of the road, but he wanted no part of that. Because he looked quite vulnerable, I accommodated his request. I soon discovered the reason for his skittishness. It seems that two years prior, someone had backed into his car, but reported that Jimmy had caused the accident. Jimmy was not about to have that happen to him again. I assured him that despite the fact that the only other witness was my daughter, I was taking responsibility for the accident. I told him, “Don’t worry, we may have no other witnesses, but I have to answer to Jesus Christ.”
We continued to wait and I suggested that we exchange information. The only paper that he had in his car was one that said, “Sermon Notes.” I knew that I had backed into a church-going man. I said, “Jimmy, I see you go to church; I do too.” He was not overly impressed with my confession of faith and proceeded to write down my info. Before too long an officer from the nearby state university arrived to let us know that the “real” police were on their way. They suggested we exchange information, checked our licenses and registration, and told us we could wait or we could leave since there was no contest as to how the accident took place.
Jimmy still wasn’t so sure. The campus police, after hearing what had occurred, informed us that I could possibly be cited with a vehicle code infraction if a police report was filled out. I kept silent, and Jimmy perked up, “No, we’re good.” He told me he was fine if we let our insurance companies handle it.
I went home, contacted my insurance company, and did all that was necessary to obtain a claim number. In order to put my new friend’s mind at ease, I called and told him that I could give him the claim number if he wanted. He was astounded. He refused saying that he trusted me. He then apologized profusely for all that happened and told me how sorry he was that this was going to cost me money. He then reminded me what had happened to him two years prior. I let him know that God had been looking out for both of us. We both were the recipients of His traveling mercies that evening, since we both were dealing with a member of the family of God.
In looking back at my day, I see how faithful God was – we had indeed been granted traveling mercies. In addition, I witnessed the effects of years of teaching and discipling my daughter. On the way home, I told her what had happened outside the car during the forty-five minutes we were detained. When I told her about his concerns of blame shifting, she said conclusively, “He doesn’t need to worry. He’s dealing with you.” What a great vote of confidence from a daughter who has experienced through her growing years parents who hold her responsible for her actions – both good and bad.
- Andrea G. Schwartz
Andrea Schwartz is Chalcedon’s family and Christian education advocate, and the author of eight books including: A House for God: Building a Kingdom-Driven Family, The Biblical Trustee Family: Understanding God’s Purpose for Your Household, Empowered: Developing Strong Women for Kingdom Service, Woman of the House: A Mother’s Role in Building a Christian Culture, and The Homeschool Life: Discovering God’s Way to Family-Based Education. She’s also the co-host of the Out of the Question podcast, and Homeschooling Helps (weekly live Facebook event). She can be reached at [email protected].