Just this last week on the front page of the Grants Pass Daily Courier there was an article mentioning that the city council was to be discussing, and possibly deciding on whether or not to adopt, a proposed ordinance prohibiting car drivers, and passengers, from handing items of worth, such as money, H2O bags, water bottles etc., out of their car windows to pedestrians, including panhandlers, of course. To be honest, the last thing that I wanted to do was speak to the city council about this, but I truly felt God telling me to trust in Him and go speak to them.
My mother spoke first, one of her points being that she is trying to teach her children to be compassionate and this law would legislate them not being able to.
I spoke directly after her and it went quite well. God really gave me the strength to get through this terrifying thing, and I am so grateful. I mentioned that this ordinance would not solve the panhandling problem, it would only funnel the people standing on street corners into parking lots and foot traffic, which is what happened in Medford, where this is already law. I touched on the fact that, as a young lady, I do not feel safe with panhandlers coming up to me in parking lots. I spoke about H2O bags being a great solution that actually directs and homeless people to places that can help them. My biggest point, though, was that this ordinance would essentially be punishing those who want to help the less fortunate. My closing statement was, "No one should ever, ever be punished for having compassion on someone."
The law passed.
The Mayor complimented me on how well I spoke, three or four of the city councilors commented on what we had said. This law passed 7-1.
Walking out of the council building with my mom I started crying. "They didn't listen to a word we said!" But the morning after speaking to the council I read Proverbs 19:21, which says, "Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand," and I realized, all over again, that God's plans are often so very different than ours.
God does have a plan for this; He has some great purpose in this that we don't see quite yet.
Wednesday night I felt as if H2O Grants Pass had just been shut down, but it wasn't at all. There will certainly be some kinks to work out, but then, God is so incredibly good at working kinks out.
We now must either pull to the side of the road or else get out of our cars in order to legally hand H2O bags to panhandlers and homeless people in the Grants Pass city limits. The same goes for money, water bottles or any other, "item of value." Wednesday night this seemed like the end of the world, but somehow, today it really doesn't seem very large at all. God has shrunk it back to the size that it really is.
Something that God brought to my attention, and several others pointed it out as well, is the fact that this will cause us to actually engage with these people. It's so easy to just stick an H2O bag out of our car window and call it good, but these are human beings, and they deserve more respect than that. I am so excited to have conversations with them; to let them know that I truly do care. What a blessing this is!
Proverbs 3:19-20 says, "the Lord by wisdom founded the earth; but understanding He established the heavens; by His knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down dew." The Lord's wisdom so very greatly exceeds my own. By His wisdom He founded the earth! God has known about this since before He created the world and He has it so marvelously under control.
Corrie Ten Boom once said, "Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God." I do not know what the future holds for H2O Grants Pass, but God does, and I'm very excited to find out what He has planned. Will you join me on this new adventure?