“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for Him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” Matthew 5:3. (emphasis mine)
I started reading the Beatitudes today and the first one jumped out at me, probably because I’ve been struggling with finances the last few months. Each month I look at what we need, what needs paid, what we have, and ask what can we do without or what can be pushed off until the next month.
Ever been there? Pretty soon, after a couple months of living like this, you start to feel stretched out and stressed. I pinch every penny until it screams (and I start screaming along with it). We are living as frugally as we can, but I start to secretly wish for more. I wish for twenty bucks to take the kids swimming or out for ice cream. I wish I didn’t have to scrutinize every price tag and ask if the need is so great that we simply can’t live without it. I look longingly at what other people have and ask God why I can’t have that too.
You know the one thing I haven’t been doing? Talking to God about it. Instead, I’ve been treading financial waters, trying to stay afloat, keep our family going, and getting angry at everyone around me.
I have probably read the Beatitudes a thousand times, and know God blesses the poor, but today it hit me. There is nothing in that verse that says God will raise us above our need. Instead, it is our need that points us back to Him. We come to the end of ourselves (sometimes doing everything in our own power first, like I am apt to do), just to find He’s been there all along, waiting.
God has never let my family starve. He has always made sure we had a roof over our head (even when it looked like we would lose everything). He has provided for our needs. So why am I worrying? Perhaps it is because I have become discontent. Dan and I work hard, and in America there is this assumption that if you work hard, you will reap. But that is not reality. Reality is Dan is in ministry, not for the paycheck, but for the people. And I don’t write for a paycheck but for the joy of storytelling.
Being poor is not a virtue most people pursue. But it is one God honors. It is easier to realize our need for God when we are poor. We have nothing else. No distractions.
So instead of looking at what I don’t have, today I will turn my gaze on God instead and be thankful for what I do have.