Hope for the poor

We are never brought so low, so near to death, but God can raise us up. If he has saved us from spiritual and eternal death, we may thence hope, that in all our distresses he will be a very present help to us. – Matthew Henry

Two sweet promises given are given when I place my hope in God – I shall not be overlooked by Him, and I will not be disappointed as peace will visit my heart, sin will be cast as far as the east is from the west and I will enter into His glory.

 

I grew up poor, not in the sense that I had needs, but in the sense that we never had more.  I wore clothes that were three fashion seasons behind, our food groups never changed, and we fixed everything that was broken.  Extra curricular activities at school was an immediate “no” to joining and I started working to provide for the family at twelve years old.

At twelve I was introduced to Jesus. At fourteen He became my friend, Saviour and I became a follower of Christ.  One thing I learned then about being poor – I did not need to fight, strive or be envious – the One in Heaven was my helper.  Two things became apparent to me then – I was never going to be able to afford post secondary education – so I looked to God to instruct me and secondly, when Jesus was to come again, my hope was that He would welcome me home.

When we remember the poor and the needy we are remembering the promise of God to live among us and be our God. We are remembering that we too are poor, we too are needy, only in different ways. We are remembering that hope cannot be bought or sold

I know, from experience, how faith can be tested, how our hope in Jesus leads us to run the race with perseverance, which leads to maturity and completeness. But this is nothing without love. For love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Working with Partners International, a ministry founded in the work among refugees, one thing I love is that we are not afraid to be poor.  It is easier to fear it than embrace it but our hearts reflect the heart of our God.

“Because the poor are despoiled, because the needy groan,
    I will now rise up,” says the Lord;
    “I will place them in the safety for which they long.” – Psalm 12:5

Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker,
    but those who are kind to the needy honor him. – Proverbs 14:31

 This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. – Ezekiel 16:49

God’s displeasure and punishment of His people in the Old Testament were clearly in part due to their failure to be merciful–to care for the poor and needy and God’s blessing to His people in the New Testament was a result of salvation received and the fruit of generosity to those who had little.

For the needy shall not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the poor perish forever – Psalm 9:18

Job 5:16

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