May 22, 2015

Emmaus Walk / Debra Tomaselli

Why we follow that still small voice

Debra TomaselliNobody likes a bargain more than me.

So I was thrilled when the expenditures on our once-in-a-lifetime trip to Rome appeared to be under budget. But I struggled with the message that accompanied that realization.

Even while travelling, I noticed my husband and I weren’t spending as much as we expected. The restaurants weren’t pricey. Our hotel, despite a three-star rating, was charming. We walked everywhere, eliminating the cost of public transportation.

So, even before heading home, I anticipated substantial savings.

We prayed in gratitude for the unexpected windfall, but whenever we did, something seemed to tell me that all the excess money wasn’t ours to keep. Rather, we needed to share it.

Additionally, a particular co-worker came to mind, along with a specific sum of money.

Back home, I waited for the bills to settle. Maybe international fees or conversion costs would consume the anticipated savings, but that didn’t happen.

Instead, the feeling that I had to give that exact amount of money to that particular co-worker persisted.

Amy, a middle-aged woman, was new to our office, but we’d had a conversation where I learned that both her parents died when she was young. I knew she believed in God, and saw his miraculous work in her life.

Still, I barely knew her.

For weeks, I resisted. Why not keep the money? Or give her half the amount?

Obstacles arose. Would I give her cash? Nobody carries that amount of cash. Check? I disliked that thought.

Fears invaded. Would she think I was rich? Would she expect future loans?

However, the still, small voice persisted. It had to be that exact amount to that particular person.

Finally, I surrendered.

“God, if you want me to give her the money, I will,” I prayed. “But you need to make a way.”

That morning, our paths crossed. When Amy asked about my Italy trip, we agreed to meet in the lunchroom. I’d bring my pictures. As my story unfolded, I found myself telling her how the trip cost only half of what we’d budgeted for it.

As we parted, she mentioned that she was heading to the bank.

I knew this was an answer to prayer.

I hurried to my office, wrote the check and slipped it on her desk.

Moments later, she found me. Waving the check, she tried to return it.

“I can’t keep this,” she said.

I raised my hands, refusing the check. “It’s yours,” I said.

“Are you sure?” she asked, incredulous.

“Yes, keep it.”

“Thank you,” she said.

“Don’t thank me,” I responded. “Thank God.”

She nodded, tears in her eyes. “I do,” she said. “But I thank you, too.”

Later, she confided that weeks ago she’d received an unexpected bill. The due date was approaching, and she lacked funds to cover it. She began praying for a specific sum of money, even posting a check on her refrigerator indicating the amount needed. It was the exact amount I’d given her.

We’re friends now, but she’s never asked to borrow a dime.

Rather, we stand in awe together, praising a God who hears our prayers and moves mountains to meet our every need.

(Debra Tomaselli writes from Altamonte Springs, Florida. She can be reached at

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