Heeding the Inner Call
Jane E. Ruth
I waited in anticipation of the missionaries speaking at our church from an Indian reservation in the Southwest. They were to be discussing their life routine and situations of working among the indigenous tribes. There is the good, the bad, the indifferent, much like our society.
I was interested because I had spent 1.5 years working in Canada among the Indians and enjoyed the experience of learning about the differences in culture and meeting new friends. It was intriguing to me how the Indians existed with so little food. Moreover, they did not have furniture in their homes. The Indians were too poor to buy any furnishings. A bare existence and life-there was not a sign of electricity for them in the bush country where we had to fly out via Cessna 180s to help. The Mission stations solely had generators. These experiences have stayed with us all our lives. My husband and I presently work among the Indians again in another country. We see the same problems with the indigenous. It’s the same, the good, the bad, and the indifferent, but we are helping them with their basic needs and seeing results.
The missionary began by telling how poor the Indians were and the problems with food and keeping foods without refrigeration.
Their living conditions as missionaries were also lacking. They were dependent on receiving donations from churches where they visited when they came home on leave. They spoke about how God provided for them, and so far, they had never gone without basics in regards to food and shelter, and travel.
I invited them to our home for dinner, and we had quite the gabfest exchanging stories that occurred on the reservations and mission stations. Missions are not a boring life. Missionaries are human too!
The couple returned home, and two months later, I was cleaning my house, and an inner thought kept popping into my head.
You need to send this missionary couple some money now.
I ignored the suggestion and kept cleaning house-my priority! After all, everyday day life is essential, and keeping up the house is paramount.
I puttered around and decided to bake a shoofly pie for supper. I was knee-deep in mixing ingredients when the inner suggestion came again.
You need to send some money to this missionary couple.
Now I know God nudges us sometimes gently, an inner knowing or thought. I ignored it for the second time. I must bake this pie; it is paramount.
My husband and I sat down for supper and enjoyed a piece of pie for dessert. Not once did I think about this inner urging coming to me.
I had these inner urgings before and tended to act on them. And the inner feelings turned out to be true. People needed help, and I was designated to give it to them. I read about a quaker woman who said: “heed the checks,” -meaning pay attention to the inner urgings.
But, I did not listen that day.
The next day, I was sewing a dress, and the inner urging came again. This time, I gave up and listened. This inner voice had occurred too many times.
I went straightway to my husband and ask for $20.00 to send to this missionary couple. He didn’t hesitate and handed me $20.00. I don’t think he was listening to me. He seemed engrossed in his work on the computer. I think he gave it to me to get me to quit bothering him. He never questioned me, just handed it over. God works in mysterious ways!
I mailed the money immediately and told the missionaries I hoped it would help even though it was only $20.00. Maybe, now the inner urging would subside.
I returned to my usual mundane day-to-day living and never thought any more about the incident. The inner suggestions had subsided, and I could continue with my routine life without interruptions.
Two weeks later, I received a letter from the missionary couple. They said, “we wanted to let you know. We had just used the last of the baby formula, and there was no more left. We were broke this week. We never had a week like this in regards to donations not coming in to sustain us.
I(John) decided to walk to the mailbox and check it one more time. We had been praying, no pleading, with God for a miracle. What would we do? We can survive for a few days until, hopefully, a donation arrives, but the baby can’t. She needs formula every day. We had none.”
John said he arrived at the mailbox downhearted and worried for his newborn daughter on her last bottle of formula. He opened the mailbox, and there was my letter with $20.00-right on time, not too soon, not too late. They were so thankful! The money arrived in time to feed the baby for her next bottle. That timing was down to the nitty-gritty, I must say.
I cried to think that I was not heeding the inner check or suggestion. It took me a whole day, twenty-four hours, to listen to God Who knows people’s needs. He was trying to answer their prayer by getting through to me, and I was complacent about it.
Heeding the Inner call is a true story (I naturally changed names ), and I have learned to listen to that inner voice. We can answer people’s needs if we pay attention and not let everyday life obscure and override the inner life. And, God got through just in time to prevent a newborn baby from being hungry.
I had read several books on Quakers and intuition and the inner voice. I knew that I had experienced it sometimes, but God brought it home to me with that incident. I reminded myself how important, no, it is imperative, to answer that inner call. How much could we help our fellow man if we listened spiritually and did not rely on only external cues in life?