Who Needs Poverty?

“The poor will always be among you.”

Is it just me?

These words.  I can’t dismiss them.  They are sacred because Jesus spoke them, and yet, like “Sam I am” I tell you adamantly,

I do not like them.

They itch something terrible!  They have been, by no means, comfortable under my skin.

Poverty?  Always?  Really?

Stories echo and I glimpse the horror that can lie behind those 4 letters – the extreme vulnerability and violence and helplessness and desolation and…

Yes, the poor can have joy too, and joy can always transcend circumstance, but poverty and it’s ever lingering prospects…they aren’t a pretty thing.

So I ponder…why would God tell us this? Why would God allow this?  Who needs poverty?

Easy answers don’t come.

Bullfrogs croak. Crickets chirp.

…and I’ve had a melt down kind of day – my needs exploding into a gory mess in my house – bits of me and bits of mess everywhere – mess that I can’t ever seem to clean up.

…and there is my ridiculous life story, the highs and lows and the days where my lacking was so dang painful that it tore me in places I didn’t know I had.

…and I think of what came after the tearing.  I think of what came after the need, sometimes agonizing years, sometimes seconds later, – the cry, the asking, the bowing low.

…and I wonder I just wonder if between me and God –

he WANTS me to need,

to need a father to come home to, a father to confide in.

While I don’t know a real honest lick about the horrors of real poverty, and I can’t gloss over it for a second, so don’t hear me wrong here.  I really can’t speak for global poverty, but…

I do know that in my own needy places – the gaps I like to minimize and gloss over, the broken places, the places where there just isn’t enough makeup in the whole world to hide – that my undoing is the precursor to receiving.

These are the places that won’t let me get away with the lackluster, won’t let me live under fluorescent lights – they force me to run outdoors and seek His presence.

I’ve fought this with angry fists and many tears over the years.

And so, my answer to

Who needs poverty?

Me.  I…  I need…  I need poverty.

I need the blessing that comes on both sides of it.

I need to give.

and even more – I need to receive.

I need poverty because it brings me in the circle of the poor man who softly uttered those words,  with no roof over his head, no storage unit full of belongings, the one who willingly let them rob him of His very life, in order that I might live, and live fully.

When I knock, He who owns the high heavens and calls me “daughter.”  When I ask, God who gave his only son, “takes great delight” in me and in so doing gives me MORE, “more than I can ask or imagine.”

Those ugly places of need, the ones I loathe, those are the ones forever tapping me on the shoulder, prompting me to knock, to ask, driving me toward the feast! 

“Come, all you who are thirsty,
    come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
    and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
    and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;
    listen, that you may live.  – Isaiah 55

2 thoughts on “Who Needs Poverty?

  1. Your words strike through fluff and pierce my heart. I feel the need too – the need to KNOW, and it drives me to seek His knowledge. I also have other “poverty” – needs for holiness, strength, patience, guidance, power, courage. All these lacks push me into His arms like beloved bullies. And no, it’s not starvation or practical poverty, but the need results in the same thing – closer to Him. And isn’t that the purpose of it all?

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