Poverty is heartbreaking but poverty of Spirit is a killer
The other day we were in Barrio Nuevo delivering food packets to the elderly. Visiting each family, sitting, talking, praying with them as God's love poured out. On this day the poverty was overwhelming, but it's not what you may be thinking. It wasn't poverty poverty or a lack of things. We are talking about poverty of spirit. Now that's a dark place to be. Just to give you some facts before we go into what was revealed to us by God...
According to The Borgen Project "Overall, 30% of Nicaraguans live in poverty and 8% live in extreme poverty. However, 50% of the population in rural areas live below the poverty line, and 11.5% live in extreme poverty." And that's where we serve at Waves of Love. We are in the rural areas where most of our friends live below the poverty line. In fact, the majority of men who work clearing land with a machete earn $2 dollars a day. The average home we visit is a compacted dirt floor, a home built out of odds and ends, an outhouse, a wood cook fire and no running water. That is the normal that we see. The facts are statistical and evident now lets talk about the truth.
Most people we meet are open and ready to receive a visit and a prayer. If you have ever been to Nicaragua then you know that the women take pride in their yard. They will sweep every stick and leaf out of the way leaving the bare dirt as clean as can be around their home. As soon as you walk to their fence line they are smiling and saying "pass, come in" while at the same time pulling apart a stack of plastic chairs so that you can sit and spend some time. The typical response to "how are you?" is "good, thanks to God." The women work hard to maintain the whitest of shirts for their children as they prepare for school. The men have back breaking jobs in the salt flats or on the large farms clearing land. They are masters at making a little go a long way and family is everything. This is one of many reasons why we love our community!
On our day out the second home we visited had garbage littering the yard, clothes were laying in the mud, not a chair or burning fire in sight. Chaos and disorder is the best description. The saddest part was the woman who came out to greet us. Her eyes were blank, there was no emotion or life behind them. She was the caretaker for her mother who was not home at the time. She walked slow, talked slow and was just numb in every action and emotion. We tried to reach her but she wasn't there to reach. As we walked away it hit us...poverty of spirit. We continued to talk about this idea as we made our way to the next home. It was there at the next home that we were greeted by an elderly couple. Both of them were sick and the husband was laying on a wooden board held off the ground by two tree stumps. Yet God rested on their home and in them. Here we found need and lack of material things, however, this couple was regal. The crown of God was on them. We were fellow-shipping and felt honored to be with them. It was such a shift from the previous house.
Spiritual poverty we discovered had nothing to do with a lack of material goods but everything to do with where we set our eyes. What we focus on determines our spiritual health. Do we seek God? Is our focus on Him (when our life is good and when it's hard)? There are many who have all the material goods they could ever use in this lifetime and yet they are living in spiritual poverty. A deep sadness and lack encompass their life.
Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,
Spiritual health involves a thankful heart. Eyes that are focused on God in the midst of pain and in the midst of joy.
Now this woman in Barrio Nuevo we met may have some unknown trauma that we are unaware of...we will continue to pray and visit with her monthly. We pray to see the light of God reflected in her eyes one day. Until then we will continue to offer her hope that there is someone who cares and loves her more than she can imagine. He is God her Father!
What are your eyes focused on? God's son Jesus was sent for everyone, to rescue them from spiritual poverty! If we accept Jesus as our salvation we begin our spiritual journey with God. We focus on Him and not our circumstances or lack.
Let the inspiration of Christ dwell in your midst with all its wealth of wisdom; teach and train one another with the music of psalms, with hymns, and songs of the spiritual life; praise God with thankful hearts.