“God leaves his toughest battles for His strongest soldiers.”

Black handwritten letters on brown cardboard that is leaning against a backpack on the edge of a parking lot.

Looking over, I noticed a family, a man, woman and two dogs, sitting alongside the sign. Two backpacks, each stuffed with their worldly possessions, rest between them. The youngest, a puppy, is pulling on a rope leash.

My traffic light remains red.

The story could end here, as we all see a similar sight though our car windows nearly every day. Only many times, we pretend to not — instead rationalizing our busy life precludes us from absorbing the reality through the glass.

On this day, however, I witnessed something remarkable.

A late-model pickup truck pulled alongside the family. Getting out, the driver spoke to the family with a smile and warmth. Another man, the passenger, jumped out and did the same. A few words are exchanged and the family rose to its feet. The woman grabbed her cane and struggled toward the bed of the pickup — a limp hampering her balance. The man, his right wrist bandaged, reached out to shake the driver’s hand.

The driver and his friend helped lift the two dogs into the bed and quickly began lending a hand to load the oversized backpacks into the back as well.

My light changed to green as the man and woman situated themselves in the back of the bed along with their belongings and two dogs. Smiles and handshakes were shared all around.

Pulling away, I found myself somewhere between embarrassed and proud. Embarrassed I’d become incrementally desensitized to emotionally responding to similar opportunities outside my car window and proud for the two men who were not. I honestly believe God put us in specific situations for a reason — and that red light was meant for me.

Sometimes, during the holiday season, for instance, it is almost fashionable to make an effort to help those in need. In reality, this is something we should build into the fabric of our everyday being. To help only when we hear holiday music is almost superficial and being performed for the wrong reasons.

There are many people down on their luck, as they say. And for others, they contributed to their situation through choices and decisions. But in the end, they are all God’s children. And as I remember, we are all responsible for taking care of God’s children.

Which is why I believe what I witnessed was so remarkable. For me to witness this particular moment through the comfortable insulation of tinted glass windows and leather seats struck home — as if God thought I could use the reminder.

I don’t try to overanalyze these moments in life, as I’ve come to expect an occasional nudge or hint is really a part of God helping keep us grounded. The opportunities are there, but the lesson is up to us alone to recognize.

My only hope is I wasn’t the only one looking out the window.

(3) comments

David Alquest

Thank you for sharing your experience of witnessing poverty stricken people who were helped by others who passed by. It is enriching indeed to know there are some who reach out and help the less fortunate. These needy people may suffer from illness, lack of skills, confused or slow thinking, mistakes they have made or just be a victim of consequences. Whatever it may be or whether it is their fault or not, you realize that they need help and that we as fellow humans need to help them. I, too, identified with your guilt of sitting in your comfortable car observing the needy without acting on it. Your article encouraged me to be a better person - to drive around the block again or pull beside the road and help.
Unfortunately, our society, in general, does not do enough to help the poor (just read the online forum responses). They call them lazy, stupid, unclean, dangerous and evil. But, if we can help the poor or misguided to improve, our society should improve.

Jim Forsythe

How many people in Galveston county are in need of help? At that stop light, do we see the people , or do we look past them, as if they are not right in front of us! You may be thinking that,if I help,it may be for a person that is just faking it.
Years a go,I asked a Pastor, what he did about the people that are receiving food,that do not have a need . He said,you must help all, to make sure that the ones that really need help,receive it.

If there any reason , as a county ,we could not have a program to help the ones in need.
Below is a example .
March 02,,  2017
HOUSTON - Mayor Turner unveiled a new six-point plan to tackle the city's homeless problem Thursday.
Turner said that the city has cut the homeless population in half over the last six years and only a third of those now sleep on the streets. He said he's looking to the 100 public and private groups who made that possible to cut the number down even further.
Expanding the program, the 'Way Home Initiative', is at the center of the mayor's plan
To read more go to    http://www.khou.com/news/local/mayor-turner-unveils-plan-for-houstons-homeless/418649547

Jim Forsythe

If you know a person in need , below may be a place for them to start .
Housing, Day Shelters
Shelter Listings is dedicated to serving the homeless and low-income.  We have listed out the shelters and services we have in Galveston County, TX below. This list has homeless shelters, halfway houses, affordable housing, etc. The database consists of over 4,000 listings and includes emergency shelters, homeless shelters, day shelters, transitional housing, shared housing, residential drug alcohol rehabilitation programs and permanent affordable housing.  
http://www.shelterlistings.org/county/tx-galveston-county.html

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