A man had planned a three-day trip with care. On paper everything looked
promising for a combination of business and pleasure that would make
these days stand out in the record of the year.
In the morning he would go to Washington. There he would have
opportunity to see in one of the Departments a man whose help in an
emergency would prove invaluable. At four in the afternoon he would
leave for Cincinnati. By taking the train he would miss a bit of scenery
at Cumberland, which he had hoped to see. This could not be helped,
however, for by the train he would be set down in Cincinnati in good
season for the important one-day session of a committee, the primary
object of the trip.
To be sure, he would have to miss another important committee meeting at
home, unless he should forego the Washington stop. But would it not be
worth while to miss one of the meetings when he did not see how he could
well arrange for both?
The ticket was bought and reservation was made. Then interruption number
one came. Most unexpectedly there was a call from a neighbor to render
such a service as can be given but once in a lifetime. Yet that
difficult service must be rendered at the moment when, according to
program, he would be taking the train for Washington.
Of course there could be no question as to his course. Instead of going
to Washington and seeing the man with whom conference would mean so
much, he must take train by a route more direct. This would enable him
to reach Cincinnati in season for the committee meeting; and it would
enable him also to attend the committee meeting at home which he had
decided to put aside for the sake of the Washington opportunity.
After serving his neighbor and attending the home meeting--this turned
out to be so important that to miss it would have been little short of a
calamity--the direct train for Cincinnati was taken, though not without
a sigh for the lost opportunity in Washington.
Yet the sigh was forgotten when on that train he became acquainted with
three fellow-passengers who gave him some new and needed glimpses of
A study of time tables showed him that he could return by way of
Washington, and could have two hours for the interview there on which he
had counted so much, before the hour came for completing the homeward
After a successful committee meeting in Cincinnati, the importance of
which proved to be even greater than had been anticipated, the train for
Washington was taken at the Cincinnati terminal. At the moment this
train was due to leave, there drew in on an adjoining track cars from
which weary, anxious-looking passengers alighted. "What train is that?"
was the question that came to his lips.
"Number two, boss," the porter replied. "Left Washington at four
yesterday afternoon. She's ten hours late, 'count of that big wreck down
in the mountains."
And that was the train he had planned to take after finishing his
business in Washington! If he had taken it, what of his touch with the
In thankful spirit, and with the resolve renewed for the ten thousandth
time that he would cease to question God's wisdom in thwarting his
little plans, he went to his berth. First, however, he included in his
evening prayer a petition that the train might not be late in reaching
Washington, since the time there would be short enough, at best.
Three hours later he roused with the start that is apt to come with the
intense silence that marks a long night wait of a train between
stations. The delay was so prolonged that soon the time table showed the
loss of three hours.
There was one consolation, however: he would be able to pass during
hours of daylight through the incomparable mountains of West Virginia.
The unexpected blessing was forgotten when the train drew into the
Washington station so near the close of the afternoon that the traveler
thought he might as well go home at once. Later on, he might be able to
make a special trip to the Capital. "And I might have finished my
program without all that expense and trouble," he thought.
But while he was there he decided he would call on the telephone the man
in the department whom he wished to see. He told the man of his late
train and his disappointment.
"Perhaps it is just as well," was the word from the other end of the
wire. "I have been afraid that the time set aside for our work this
afternoon was altogether too short. What do you say to coming to me the
first thing in the morning? Then we can devote to our program all the
time that proves necessary."
So he remained overnight. The evening gave him the chance he had sought
for a year to spend an evening consulting authorities at the
Congressional Library. Next morning the real business of the stopover
was attended to. Then he learned why it would have been impossible to
receive the afternoon before the attention he received during the
morning hours. He knew, too, that it would have been out of the question
to seek a second interview on the same business; therefore he would
have had to rest content with the results of the first conference.
The time came to take the train for the final stage of the journey. On
that train his seat-mate, a man he had never seen before, perhaps never
would see again, gave him a number of bits of vital information on the
very business that had led him to Washington!
Is it worth while to ask God to look out for the everyday needs of His
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