The Still Small Voice
By Karla McNeal

After I moved into my new apartment in February, 2007, I received a postcard from my health insurance company noting that it was time for me to renew my health insurance. Usually a later reminder would also be sent out from Medicaid, along with paperwork to fill out and mail back. So I kept waiting for the latter packet to come. Then, something told me to call my insurance company one particular week. I did this, but the representative told me to call back later in the week. When I made this second call, I was told that what I really needed to do was to call another number, to speak to someone directly in the Medicaid office, because I had moved. When I did this, the Medicaid rep then told me that I would have to come in. “OK,” I sighed to myself, “I’ll do that, when I get a chance.”

Later that week, on Friday, I had several cancellations in my dog-walking, which was very strange because usually I have back-to-back assignments. Animal care is what I do in between acting jobs. Since it was the beginning of the NewFest GLBT film festival, I headed over to see about getting a ticket for one of the screenings. Suddenly I found myself walking past the Medicaid office on West 34th Street; and so I said, let me go and see what paperwork I need to show them. When I went in, however, I saw a long line of 25-30 people waiting for service. A guy at the nearby desk said, “STAND IN LINE for information” – but I thought, “No way, Jose; I’ve got better things to do than this.” So, I turned around to leave. Then a woman in line said: “No, don’t leave. The line really moves fast. Yes, yes, it really moves very fast!” So, I decided to stay.

When I finally reached the service window (and, it only took about fifteen minutes), the Medicaid woman looked up my case, and then said to me, “It’s a good thing that you came in today, otherwise your insurance would have been cancelled.” She asked me if I had any documents verifying my identification, proof of new residence, and so on. Now something had told me earlier in the week to get together the paperwork I thought I would need in this regards and put it in my backpack, so I said: “Well, yes, actually I do!” and then I found them and showed them to her. “Good,” she smiled, looking them over. “We can take care of this today. Now, you can get as sick as you like. And that’s pretty much it!” Then, the woman standing over at the next window turned to me and said, “I have all of my paperwork, but they still think I’m dead. Even though I’m standing here very much alive!”

I had another similar experience, with my little small voice. About a year ago I met a woman at the Chelsea Piers Dog Park, and she asked me if I would like to work for her animal care service. Every time we met after that, she would again invite me to join her company – but something told me, don’t do it. This went on for over a year, but I never felt at peace about it. Then, one day, I ran into an employee who had worked for her, and I told her about the woman’s propositions. “Oh, be glad you never switched over to her,” she exclaimed. “She’s mean, demanding, dishonest, manipulative and greedy! Terrible, terrible to work for! That’s why I quit.” How I thanked God for his little small voice, and that I had listened to it.

There’s a story told in the Bible about the prophet Elijah (1 Kings 19:1-15), who during a very depressing time in his life (when the evil Queen Jezebel was searching for him, to kill him) fled into the wilderness. He traveled for forty days and forty nights, through the desert, to reach Mt. Horeb (Mt. Sinai), but God miraculously provided food and drink for him along the way. Then, standing up there on the peak, a great wind shook the mountainside – but God was not in the wind. Then there was a powerful earthquake, and then blinding lightning struck, but God was not in these either. Then Elijah heard a “still small voice” (v. 12, KJV), which assured him of God’s very real and continuing care for him and giving him leading in what he should do next.

Of course, God can, and sometimes does, speak in a mighty way. Remember how God spoke to Job “out of the whirlwind” (Job 38:1). But, praise God for that “still small voice” by which He usually gives us his warnings, urgings and leading, and the sense of his abiding presence.


©2007 Karla McNeal

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