I’ve been on a bit of a social media hiatus over the past two weeks. Last week, I was on vacation spending time with the family and self-imposed limitations on my social engagement. This week I’ve been at seminary (SEBTS) and simply have had very little time for anything outside of reading and studying.
Tonight, I ate dinner at a place that has become one of my favorites here in Wake Forest, Smithfield’s Chicken and BBQ. If you ever find one, try it! As I was leaving I got a tea refill for the road and the employee said, “Traveling mercies to you, God bless and come back to see us.” I smiled and acknowledged his graciousness. As I was walking out the door I began to chuckle a bit.
When I was in my early twenties and still relatively young in my Christian faith, a saintly woman of God by the name of Mildred Rutledge was my Sunday School teacher. Ms. Mildred is, to this day, the epitome of the prayer warrior. Though she and her husband, George, were well into their sixties then, they taught the College and Career class. I learned much from Mildred.
Among the many things she taught that has stayed with me through the years were the definitions of, and distinctions between, grace and mercy. They are still written in the front of one of my bibles. Grace is getting what we do not deserve. Mercy is NOT getting what we DO deserve. I’m fairly certain that she borrowed that from Herschel Hobbs, but there is nothing wrong with that.There is, after all, nothing new under the sun. It was not long after that lesson that someone first dropped the traveling mercies line on me. Not sure where I was going, but someone prayed for traveling mercies for me. That’s when I began to think about mercy and grace. I determined that I would rather have traveling grace. In my mind I determined that God’s protection while driving, which is what we are really praying for and seeking, was something that we were going to get (Good Lord willing) though we did not merit it. I was twenty.
Tonight, as I walked out the door of Smithfield’s, I had to chuckle because at the age of 43, I’ve changed my mind. Tomorrow afternoon I will be set free from my doctoral seminar after five straight days of 8AM-5PM classes. I will be jumping in my rented Corolla (which kinda fits me like a shirt that is too tight) and rocketing up the interstate back to Kingsport in my beautiful East Tennessee hills. Now while I will be making every effort to obey all traffic laws, my mind will be on seeing MY girls and resting in MY bed with MY pillow after eating dinner with MY family and sitting in MY chair. Between left lane drivers, speeding tickets, and my slightly distracted driving, there will be many things that could happen that I probably deserve, BUT my God is able and His word reminds us that His mercies are new every morning. I can use them tomorrow. What about you?
Discovered a new restaurant called PDQ. They have chicken tenders, salads and the best fries I have had in a while. Check them out!
Enjoyed sitting under the teaching of Dr. Steve Echols, President of Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, and Dr. Greg Lawson, Professor of Christian Education at SEBTS, and Dr. Kenneth Keathley, Professor of Theology at SEBTS.
Hampton Inn cookies might be the death of me. Get thee behind me…
The powdered eggs they give you here at The Hamp tend to linger in your stomach like gravel.
I write too much about food.
The folks here in the Hamptons gave me a nice ground floor room only two doors down from the fitness center. I walked by it at least 4 times a day… at a brisk pace. Does that count? Only one time a day was I going for the cookies.
Not gonna lie, if SEBTS had nicer swag I would get some and advertise for the school, but it’s a little lacking. The only thing that would fit me is a coffee mug and a bumper sticker.