Today we worry about how to make an appointment when our flight is cancelled. In the 1800s they had the same worry – if a train was cancelled! Here’s a fascinating account from the pre-GPS era! From Daniel Whittle:
A man was preaching Sundays at a little country church, about 70 miles by rail from the institution where he attended. He went Saturday, returning on Monday.
One Saturday the train ran off the track. All day long they worked at the wreck. At last, finding it too late to make connection with the other railroad, he took the down train back to the institution.
What should be done? A promise to preach forty miles across the country had been made. There was also an appointment six miles beyond for an afternoon service.
It was now night. To ride by horse across the country was the only way open, or stay at home. Two disappointed congregations the result in the latter case. But the roads were heavy from recent rains.
‘Twill be so late that none can direct. Friends said, ‘Stay; you can’t go forty miles across, to you, an unknown country.’
But the man felt it duty to go. Hiring a horse noted for endurance, at nine o’clock at night — dark, threatening — he set out. As he headed the horse in the direction of the village — for he could find none who could tell him the exact road — he prayed: ‘O God, starting out to preach thy word to-morrow, direct the way — guide this horse.’
The night wore on; as cross-roads came, dropping the lines over the dashboard, the same prayer was offered. When the horse chose a road, the driver urged him on.
As day began to break, emerging from some wood in an unfrequented road, they entered the village they sought.
The sermon that morning was from the text, ‘Son, go work to-day in my vineyard.’ The largest congregation of the Summer had gathered.
It will not do to say that the horse knew the road. Returning in broad daylight the next day, though directed and directed again, we lost the way and went seven miles out of our course.
A scientist might laugh at this way of driving, or at asking God to guide in such trivial matters. But we shall still believe that God led the horse and blessed us in our attempt to serve him.
Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.