Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. -Matthew 5:3

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t is overwhelming to me, how deeply peaceful life becomes when you are putting all hope in the One who created it. Pain simply loses its tenacity when Christ is at your center; Its burn is still felt deep from within, but Christ runs deeper, holding the pain at bay.

“…God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear…he will also provide a way out so the you can endure it.” -1 Corinthians 10:13

We believers here in the Western hemisphere are rich; Our minds are entertained, our bodies are clothed in the winter and our bellies are full. As such, our “poverty” comes from within.

I think the the work of the Church in this developed and rich Western Hemisphere is more difficult than in Calcutta, South Yemen, or other areas where the needs of the people are reduced to the clothes needed to ward off the cold, or a dish of rice to curb their hunger – anything that will show them that someone loves them. In the West the problems the poor have go much deeper; the problems are in the depths of their hearts.” -Mother Teresa

I feel these heart problems in the depth of my being every single day; don’t you? It’s the subtle ache we have when we first wake up. The family problem that burdens us from the moment we open our eyes, not releasing us from its grip till they close again. The relentless worry and obsession over fixing our lives, planning our days and preventing problems to the best of our ability. The thought that tomorrow will be better if we do, do, do today. The dizzy dullness of a busy, filled life. We have the jobs, the kids, the homes we’ve always dreamt of. We’ve landed. But now what?

An unsuspecting and physically fit individual could fall dead from a heart attack at any moment, not ever realizing their illness. We are heart-heavy, ill individuals living in the most dangerous territory of the world – a place without the need for God. It isn’t until tragedy strikes that we remember that He’s there in our midst. It is in our darkest moments of need that we encounter God most – whether its through anger towards him, sadness, grief or emptiness. And that is why missionaries located throughout the rest of the world encounter God in bigger ways than we do, here. Heidi Baker captures this concept perfectly:

“Why is it that the wealthiest of people and cultures experience fewer miracles and less of the supernatural? What does it mean to be poor in spirit? There is something about the poor that delights the heart of God. They are contrite. They know they are in need. But what is it about them that draws the kingdom of God to Earth? The answer to this lies in their dependency, hunger, need and desperation.” –Compelled by Love, 10.

Our problems here, although harder to pinpoint and hidden from outer appearances, are real…They are whispers from God, reminding us to tune in.

“Worry is the warning light that God has been shoved to the sideline.” -Purpose Driven Life, 312.

Willfully acknowledging worry, thanking God for what we will learn from it and filling the void with Jesus should be our only to-do list items for the day. The book of James says it all:

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” -James 1:5

Perseverance in encountering God is the purpose of our lives. Encountering God will mean love, joy, peace, security, freedom and deep satisfaction…all of the things that both the rich and the poor are after; This unites us as we were all made by the same Great Maker and He alone can fulfill the deepest longing of our hearts.

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