Our Poverty, God’s Dwelling Place by Henri Nouwen


How can we embrace poverty as a way to God when everyone around us wants to become rich? Poverty has many forms. We have to ask ourselves: “What is my poverty?” Is it lack of money, lack of emotional stability, lack of a loving partner, lack of security, lack of safety, lack of self-confidence? Each human being has a place of poverty. That’s the place where God wants to dwell! “How blessed are the poor,” Jesus says (Matthew 5:3). This means that our blessing is hidden in our poverty.

We are so inclined to cover up our poverty and ignore it that we often miss the opportunity to discover God, who dwells in it. Let’s dare to see our poverty as the land where our treasure is hidden.

-Henri Nouwen, from his daily devotional (click here to subscribe)

I am realizing more and more that it is not so much that I have done something wrong or that God has left me, but rather as I discover myself… my strengths, my desires, my dreams… I inevitably run into my poverty.  I run into the places of lack, loneliness, sin, broken promises, and lost dreams.  It is so tempting in the collision to wonder what have I done (or not done) to deserve this, but truly I am learning that God is actually in the midsts of my poverty.

We love to see God in our abundance, celebrations, and when all is going well, but when confronted with our poverty we seek quick solutions and masks.  We do whatever it takes to numb, avoid, explain away, rationalize, over spiritualize our brokeness; and what is most disturbing is that we do it in the name of Jesus.  We try so hard to proclaim a victorious gospel that we forget that that victory was bought by blood and we too have been called to carry a cross.

This sounds almost masochistic, but the greatest gift that God has given me during this season is the revelation of my poverty, because it is in the midsts of my poverty that I am discovering Him.  One who loves, calls, takes, blesses, breaks, gives, empowers, strengthens, empathizes, and ultimately redeems.  It is in this experience that I may not feel His presence or His joy… but I know it.  It is like a quiet peace that dwells deep inside of my heart.  God is with me.  He is for me, not against me.  I am truly his favorite one… His beloved.  And because of that… everything will be alright.

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