Thankful – Grateful – Helpless – Humbled

Today is my baby sister’s birthday. She is 53 today, which makes me old. This year I turn the big 55…older than I ever age 12, when I truly believed I would not live past the age of 18, but I did, because God had plans for my life. But that’s a story for another day. IMG_0004

Anyway, the last couple of days, I was in Austin to help celebrate her birthday. She wanted us (her older sisters) to join her on a trip to Fredericksburg, a quaint little town, touristy, in the beautiful Texas hill country. Anyway, we were driving there from Austin, where my sister lives. Well, we took of early Wednesday morning from Austin. The wind was piercing. The temperature was not at freezing, but it sure felt like it!!! That arctic blast brought with it some harsh winds. Burrr!

Austin, bring out the heavy gear. It’s cold!

Before heading on to Fredricksburg, we made a stop in Blanco to pick up our older sister.  She had driven up from Pearsall to visit her daughter in Blanco, so we planned to pick her up there instead of her driving to Austin. She’s an older driver, yup…74. 

Before heading out of Austin we had to make a couple of stops. So we’re driving on I 35, traffic is horrible, typical for Austin, that we almost missed our exit to Slaughter Creek. 


Now, we are on the access road, traffic is just as bad. We are coming up to the light and we’re all chanting “Stay green, stay green.” As we are driving across the light I notice this young man, Anglo, sitting, just huddled up on the pavement, covering his face with his hands and rubbing his forehead with his fingers. It looked like he was crying. I imagine he was one of many homeless in Austin. On the next corner I saw a couple more homeless guys holding their signs asking for help, but they did not move my spirit as this young man had. It was a quick glimpse at frustration and desperation over uncontrollable circumstances, so dismayed, that he couldn’t even bring himself to show his face, much less beg for help. Being homeless, perhaps he thought no one would even notice, but God saw him.

He wasn’t holding any visible cardboard sign. Maybe he wasn’t even homeless, just a desperate soul that could not walk another foot. I can’t really say. Nevertheless, my heart went out to this man and I started praying for him. We were on the far right lane of a one way street, so even if he had been begging for help, we would have been unable to stop. At quick glance I thought..”Dear Jesus, what could have transpired in this young man’s life to bring him to this street corner on such a cold morning, with only a light jacket to keep him warm?” I could feel the tears starting to fall, but I just kept praying for the young man. If my sisters noticed this man, neither one said anything, but then again… I didn’t either. I just took my concern to the Lord.

As I was praying for this man I was reminded of my own circumstances. And I thought…”Lord, these days…it doesn’t take much to send individuals and families spiraling into the abyss of despair.” It’s tragic. I was ever so thankful for God’s mercy. My economic circumstances could have left me in much the same dire circumstances, and in all reality they have, but God is merciful.  I was grateful for the people the Lord had placed around me to sustain me in my difficult times. Only the living God can do that. 


I was helpless to help this man, but I was confident that if God had brought me here to see this man in his desperation, that He had a plan for that man and He just needed someone to stand in the gap for him, which is all I could do. Helpless as I am…God is always able. We never know when God is going to use us, or in what capacity, so we always have to be prepared.

Sometimes God just wants someone to stand in the gap. Rich Mullins sang about holding himself accountable as his brother’s keeper. Give a listen. Be blessed. As one humbly resting in the arms of the Savior, give thanks.   

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