I heard on the radio that "poverty is a result of hopelessness." Hmmm...I'm really not so sure how I feel about that. In my limited experience in extreme poverty while I was in Ethiopia, rarely did it seem that so many of those people were hopeless. I recall the desperation in the eyes of the beggars with children strapped to their backs; I remember the eyes pleading for adult attention from the orphans; the faces of street kids shining shoes are still etched in my mind. I also remember their faith. The deep-seeded, blind TRUST in God and that somehow, He would provide for their needs. In fact, the phrase most appropriate to say to beggars that you don't give money to translates roughly into "God will provide for your needs." Their faith convicts me. Convicts me for all the little worries that cause me sleepless nights (in my warm bed in my nice house in my comfortable, clean pajamas) and the details I get caught up on. The whole idea that God WILL meet my every need (in HIS way! not mine!) is pretty easy to say, a little harder to wrap my mind around and seemingly difficult to live out. Someone says I WILL MEET EVERY NEED. DO NOT WORRY. It's like a get out of jail free card. My jail of anxiety and worry that causes me to spend more time calculating and creating to-do lists than reading His word, praying and really fully committing myself wholeheartedly to live how He wants, that I could easily walk away from. It's all about His grace. I am having a hard time finding the words to really describe how this hits me.
Anyway, I suppose I'm beginning to ramble...the point, really, is that the people I met were NOT hopeless. One of the greatest things that has ever happened to me is to have an Ethiopian say I am an answer to their prayer. What? God is using me? I am just a normal person, and God has blessed me enough to use my life to further His kingdom. I'm in awe. Some of the Ethiopians I met are homeless, cannot provide for their families, are unable to send their children to school, CAN'T AFFORD TO BUY FOOD. Not "can't afford to eat out." Literally, sleep in a dumpster and eat scraps from a landfill. Yet they have 100% believe that God is the creator of the universe and that He will provide their needs, somehow. And maybe that somehow is through me. Or you. I'm so excited for the return trip to see how God will use those wonderful people to teach me about hope.
This is what I was fortunate enough to experience when I arrived at one of the orphanages each day. You tell me...do these kids look hopeless to you?