Like a draped curtain with ripples in the fabric, lush hills roll smoothly over the landscape. Tropical fruit trees bloom and dot the countryside with bright orange flowers. No matter which way I turned, I was surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation. Though this Nicaraguan landscape is beautiful, it is also filled with poverty.
At the base of the gorgeous mountains are dirt roads lined with garbage, waste, and homeless people. Beneath the bright blue sky is a country torn by poverty and needs. I looked, and next to a bright orange tropical tree sat a shack made of rotten wood with a tarp roof. In the doorway stood a four-year-old girl with matted hair and bare feet.
Just like poverty and beauty exist side by side in the landscape, so it exists among the people. They may not have cars, clean water, or shoes, but they have something much greater—they are rich with love. When they have nothing else, they know what it means to love others. When you look at the people, you can see past the dirty clothes to a different kind of beauty; a beauty of the spirit. It is a beauty that comes from love.
When I went to Nicaragua this summer for an internship, I wanted to help the people live better lives. At first, I thought that meant that I would give them material things so in some way, they could live as I do. But after I got to know the people and experience their richness of Spirit because of the love of Christ, I had a change of heart. These people are not poor; they are rich. I don’t want to give them what I have, but I want to be given what they have. My heart longs for the richness of Spirit that they have in their poverty.
Wealth and riches no longer matter when it comes to the body of Christ. The best gift we have to offer is the love of Christ. When you have that love dwelling in your heart, you hold the greatest treasure of all. May the love of Christ make your heart rich today, and may you share that wealth with others.
Still, the grip of poverty is a major problem in many parts of the world. It is a problem that God has given us the resources to fix. To find out how you can help meet physical and spiritual needs with the love of Christ, visit http://www.worldvision.org.
Ashli Roussel, a nineteen-year-old sophomore at Harding University, is passionate about sharing the truth and love of the Lord through writing. She loves camping, running, playing the piano, and participating in missions. Most of all, she is passionate about knowing, following, and serving her Lord and Savior. Without Him, her stories would mean nothing.
Ashli has battled and overcome an eating disorder, which God used to teach her great truths about who He is and how He is involved in our struggles. Now she desires to comfort others with the comfort that she has received from God. Keep an eye out for Ashli’s regular articles on iBegat.com! (read more…)
“O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.” (Psalm 30:2 NIV)
“Yet I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer; O my God, do not delay.” (Psalm 40:17 NIV)
Sarah ran into the kitchen of her parents’ cabin, shrieking. We were staying there for the weekend and seconds before had escaped a cockroach.
She stood, mouth agape and finger limply pointing to the floor. Of course, we were expecting a beetle army to pour from the kitchen at this point.
“Dishwasher!” Sarah managed.
I rose from my chair, going where she indicated. The shiny dishwasher we turned on earlier was spitting foam and water like a volcano and overflowing on the floor. A horrendous stench arose from the flood waters as I joined Sarah’s moans. We rallied, collecting paper towels to sop up the muck now combining with the crumbs already on the floor.
The dirty dishes in the dishwasher had been sitting several weeks and now smelled awful. We ran the machine on a different cycle and then once more on a rinse setting. But the water gushed out with every attempt.
Finally, we decided to inform Sarah’s parents so they could fix the issue.
I realized later (after we hand washed the dishwasher’s contents) that I’m much like that dishwasher. Often I look shiny and cleaned-up on the outside, but on the inside I still hold tons of icky junk that causes me to function improperly.
My natural inclination, of course, is to try to fix the problem myself, from the inside. But if my insides aren’t working, the problem can’t be solved. I need outside help to really heal me.
God is the only one outside us that can truly clean up our dirty dishes. Bring your hurt to him. He’ll heal you and you’ll overflow again—only this time with joy and life, not gross dishwater.
Melissa Weaver is a 21-year-old English major at North Greenville University where she is editor of the school’s literary magazine The Mountain Laurel. She minors in French (that’s the rumor, anyway) and enjoys bookstore clearance sales, adding as many classic novels as possible to her bookshelves. A native of Charleston, SC, she loves music (especially British), writing poetry, trying on funny hats, drawing with sidewalk chalk, and hitting the beach during the summers home.