Recently I was reading an article about Compassion International (who I LOVE, by the way) and there was a quote that jumped right out at me:
“If we only look at poverty in the U.S., we’ll never quite understand how the poorest of the poor really live.”
Here’s the link if you want to read it for yourself. http://ow.ly/5NZeh
There is no doubt poverty exists in the U.S. but apparently there is quite a difference between the scales we use to determine who is poor and the scales the rest of the world uses. This idea is a large part of what has fueled my passion for the trip so far. I want to understand the difference and I expect to find it’s about more than just total monthly income or the lack there of. I believe it runs much deeper than that.
I once heard a man who knows first-hand what growing up in poverty means. He was born in Uganda and through the efforts of Compassion International and a personal sponsor he no longer trapped in the problem, he is a huge part of the solution.
He made a statement that has stuck with me for years now (I first wrote about it here):
“Poverty and being poor isn’t about lack of money or shoes or food. Being poor is a lack of hope.”
HOPE – one of the most precious commodities we have. More valuable than gold or silver. An essential element of a life filled to the brim. Some of my favorite verses from scripture speak to the theme of HOPE:
Job 5:16; Psalm 39:7; Psalm 147:11; Proverbs 23:18; Jeremiah 29:11; Matthew 12:21; Romans 15:13; Ephesians 1:18; Hebrews 11:1; 1 Peter 3:15
While there is no way to argue against the existence of physical needs in this world and our responsibility to meet those needs as the Body of Christ, we also have a responsibility to share the HOPE we have with those to whom this treasure is still unknown. A HOPE that should be evident in the way we live. A HOPE about which we cannot keep silent. A HOPE we are always ready to give reason for.
This trip is a test for me. I want to discover if my HOPE is truly built on “nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness” or if, just maybe, I’ve allowed the “American Dream” to slip into the place of my safety net. And now that I’ve actually typed those words, my heart is pounding and my fingers are numb clear up to my shoulders.
Apparently this journey is not only about seeing life outside my own little world. It’s about seeing God work here, there and perhaps most of all, discovering His work inside the walls of my own idolatrous heart. (Now there’s some Old Testament terminology for you.) But honestly, how is my trusting in the Land of Opportunity and its deceptive promises of security any different than the way the Israelites trusted in gods made by their own hands or the strength of their armies instead of trusting in the great I AM? Yes, it’s much easier to see the sinful actions of a nation thousands of years ago than to identify the same fault and call it what it is in my own life today.
God help me!
So what are your favorite verses about HOPE? Share them in the comment section.