Sunday, October 18, 2009


Craig Black observed in his "Comment" to the previous post, that God is neither powerless nor indifferent to the suffering in the world. Do not ask me to explain why or how (though I believe it to be possible), but Craig's "Comment" harkens me back to one of my Journal entries written before I came to Africa:


Perhaps my greatest sin is the sin of indifference,... indifference to the deprivation and suffering of the poor in our sin-plagued world, even deluding myself with the false belief that in my indifference I am aligned with Christ, who said “the poor will always be with you”. (What a perversion of Scripture!) We know from other passages of Scripture that Christ was not indifferent to the poor, but rather cared so very much for them, and was filled with compassion for them.

So why does God allow poverty? (Does He? Or do we, the gluttonous rich?) Perhaps God allows poverty to allow a very special opportunity to reveal what is in our hearts and souls: If something good (love, compassion, mercy, charity), then God is glorified (and we experience true joy). If something shameful (a miserly, selfish, hardened heart that neither fears nor trusts God), then we might be convicted by the sight of the poor who surround us, and perhaps repent and be moved to action. In this marvelous dynamic, God is surely pleased by the ministry to the poor and suffering, and also by the softening and transformation of hardened hearts which have been spurred to acts of mercy. A double blessing. A double measure of God’s grace.

A Rwandan friend recently had to remind me as we were working on a business model for Chicken Farm project: "They are hungry. They are all hungry and anxiously wondering about their next meal. They are not even thinking about food for tomorrow, for their thoughts are fully occupied with the hope of food before they sleep tonight. But you, Tom, are asking them to think about and be grateful for a retirement plan you want to work into the business model. That ignores reality."

Wesley Allen & Friends