Daniel Whittle shares the following incident, marvelous, as at the time of its occurrence neither party had ever been known to each other:
In New Haven, Conn., lives a little invalid widow, almost helpless, with no one upon whom to rely for support, and only indebted to friendly acquaintances for a temporary home. With no money, no acquaintances, she had nowhere else to turn to but to the Father of all good. She had prayed often, and often had answers, but this time, though needing money, still she received none. The answer was long delayed; she was almost discouraged. “Was God at last to fail and forget her? No, it could not be. Let God be true even if I perish, I shall still cling to Him. I can not give Him up.”
Just at that time a business man in New York, who had been absent on a long journey for the Summer and had just returned, happened to pick up a note among many hundred lying on his desk, and noticed that the writer asked for some trifling favor, saying she was poor, had no means.
Her circumstances were unknown: he knew nothing but her name. He was eager to minister to the little ones of the Lord, and felt deeply impressed in prayer that morning, in asking a blessing on his day’s labors, that he might be able to help the need of some of “his children” who might then be in want. In his business hours the thought came over him with the depth of emotion, “WHAT CAN I DO? LORD, THY SERVANT IS READY.” Just at that moment he picked up this note of the little invalid, who asked the trivial favor, saying it would be such a comfort. (No money whatever was asked for in this note.)
Suddenly the thought came to him, “Perhaps this is my very opportunity. This may be the Lord’s little one in need.” But there was nothing in the letter to indicate she was a Christian. She solicited no money or pecuniary help.
Immediately there came to his mind, amid floods of tears, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these, my children, ye have done it unto me.” Instantly he understood it as a message from the Lord, and the intimation of the Holy Spirit. He immediately sat down and wrote a check for $25, and enclosed it to her, saying, “I know not your need; you have not asked me for help, but I send you something which may be useful. I trust you are a Christian. I shall be happy to learn if it has done good, and made you happy. Give me no thanks. The Lord’s blessing is enough for me.”
The letter was sent and forgotten, but a strange presentiment came over the mind of the writer. “I am afraid I did not direct that letter right.” He sent a second postal card, asking if a letter had been received at her home; if not, to go to her post office and inquire.
Now notice the wonderful singularity of incident. Here is a man sending money, never asked for, to an unknown person, about whom he knew nothing; then misdirecting his letter, and then remembering and sending another message to go and find where the first had gone to. But notice the marvelous result. The little invalid received the postal card, but not the letter. She sent to the post office, and sure enough there was the first letter with its misdirection. She was just in time to save it from being sent to another woman of the same name living in another part of the same city.
She opened her letter, and with tears of thankfulness perused this wonderful reply, a marvelous witness to the power of an overruling Spirit, who had directed everything.
“My heart is full, that God should so answer my simple prayer. I first asked him for $10, then $15, and then for $25. I asked him for $25 several times, and was astonished at my boldness, but the amount was so fixed in my mind, I could not ask for anything else, and then I humbly trusted it to Him, and from that time I thought, I will not name any sum; let it be as He knows my need. And how He has honored my simple faith and trust in these dark days. Your letter contained exactly the $25 I prayed for. I have not had $1.50 to spend this Summer. I have suffered for everything. But through it all I have felt such perfect faith in the Lord, that his hand was leading me, even when I could not see a step before me; and that He should move your heart to help me seems so wonderful, so good. I am so glad I can thank you now, but ah, so much “over there” where words will express so much more in the beautiful atmosphere of heaven. Your letter and kind gift was mailed the very same day that I was praying in great distress and trial. I knew not but that I should be without even a home. My verse was Psalms 50: 15. O, how I had to pray that day. So day by day I was comforted, and now to-day the answer has come.”
Here, then, is a portion of the story of a sweet life who trusted God, not as a God of the past, nor far off, but ever living, ever present, ever faithful, and believed Him able, willing, and that He would help her in her daily life. She tried her Lord, to prove if his promises were indeed true, and she clung to them to the very last. No one knew her need. No one knew what she was praying for. The stranger did not know anything of her. She had asked money of no one but the Lord. Hesitant ever, she dared not name any amount of the Lord, but that ever present Spirit of God guided her heart, made her fix the amount, and then touched the heart of the stranger and fixed the amount also in his mind, and then, by his own guidance saved the letter from being lost, and behold! when opened the prayer of the one and the gift of the other was the same.
What a comfort, what a privilege, then, it is for the true-hearted Christian thus to feel, “There is one who careth for us.”