God has a way of allowing us to be in the right place at the right time.
I was walking down a dimly lit street late one evening when I heard muffledscreams coming from behind a clump of bushes. Alarmed, I slowed down tolisten, and panicked when I realized that what I was hearing were theunmistakable sounds of a struggle: heavy grunting, frantic scuffling, andtearing of fabric.
Only yards from where I stood, a woman was being attacked. Should I getinvolved? I was frightened for my own safety, and cursed myself for havingsuddenly decided to take a new route home that night. What if I becameanother statistic? Shouldn't I just run to the nearest phone and call thepolice?
Although it seemed an eternity, the deliberations in my head had taken onlyseconds, but already the girl's cries were growing weaker. I knew I had toact fast. How could I walk away from this? No, I finally resolved, I couldnot turn my back on the fate of this unknown woman, even if it meantriskingmy own life.
I am not a brave man, nor am I athletic. I don't know where I found themoral courage and physical strength -- but once I had finally resolved tohelp the girl, I became strangely transformed. I ran behind the bushes andpulled the assailant off the woman. Grappling, we fell to the ground, wherewe wrestled for a few minutes until the attacker jumped up and escaped.
Panting hard, I scrambled upright and approached the girl, who was crouchedbehind a tree, sobbing. In the darkness, I could barely see her outline,butI could certainly sense her trembling shock. Not wanting to frighten herfurther, I at first spoke to her from a distance. "It's okay," I saidsoothingly. "The man ran away. You're safe now." There was a long pause andthen I heard the words, uttered in wonder, in amazement. "Dad, is thatyou?"And then, from behind the tree, out stepped my youngest daughter,Katherine.