Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6
A few years ago, after I arrived at work my boss greeted me with a soul-searching question. As I scurried to my desk to log in he asked “what is your greatest fear?” For several seconds I pondered, then he remarked “you don’t have one?” I replied, “you know, actually I have never thought about it.” Almost simultaneously, another coworker blurted out, “being without a job and homeless is my greatest fear!”
No doubt the thought of being without a place to call home or a way to earn money so that you can have a home would be a concern for most. However, in all honesty, and until I reached what I like to call “true spiritual and emotional maturity” I had never thought about or worried about being homeless or without a job.
The absence of that fear before reaching true maturity can only be attributed to my faith in God which manifested at an early age. It did not hurt that I would hear my mother, aunts and grandmother religiously and convincingly affirming that “the Lord will make a way out of no-way!”
My seemingly fearless way of living is not the product of arrogance or false pride. Furthermore, I am not over confident in myself or in the tenacity of others. Instead, believing that God will supply all of my needs is why I am not fearful of what is to come. In essence, “I trust in God, with all my heart and soul.”
Honestly, “it would be years before I could say with certainty that I had reached a level of spiritual maturity that evidenced that my faith was real.”
No matter how far back down memory lane I go this fact remains unchanged , “the Lord is the only One who’s never left me hanging.”
When I started observing my surroundings closer coupled with my eyes facts about homelessness; it is not always as it seems. Often times homelessness is a passage in one’s life. It can be a lesson learned, a teaching moment or a passage necessary for one to reach humility. Perhaps, in some cases, losing everything is the only way for some people to comprehend the value of God’s gifts, and the need for His children to show appreciation for all that He does.
As it may be, the state of homelessness may also serve to lift one out of a spiritually as well as toxic lifestyle. Imaginably, it is during times like these when God may decide to use his angels to strip those covered in sin of all that they have come to love so that He can be loved in the way that He commanded us to love Him.
Homelessness does not discriminate. The population of the homeless are made up of not only historically poor indigent people but also includes doctors, lawyers, teachers, preachers and the like. They are often unrecognizable, buried under tattered and dirty clothing, presently un-respected by those who once viewed them as peers. Yet, often times we see remarkable evidence of inner peace throughout people who make up the homeless demagogue, but that sense of peace appears highly uncommon among those more privileged.
Could it be that “having the most is not everything it appears to be, but the absence of excess is the key inner peace and unspeakable joy?”
“Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” 1 Peter 3:13 -14
The homeless who do enjoy this peace do not do so because they love being homeless. “The reason some displaced children of God can be content in the state that they are in is because they truly understand that this world is not their home.” Peace comes to them once they realize that everything, state and situation is temporary in life, and therefore it may be wise to practice making the best out of what appears to be the worst.
I remember watching a documentary about homelessness in America. During the program several homeless individuals were interviewed in their perspective living spaces. The purpose of doing the interviews this way was to give viewers a down-to-earth glimpse into the life of a person who lives without the comfort of the protection of traditional walls. Implicit homes in America may be far more common than those who have homes may think.
“According to HUD’s latest tally, nearly 565,000 people were living on the streets in cars, in homeless shelters or in subsidized transitional housing during a one-night national survey in January. Nearly one-fourth were aged 18 or under.” Johnson (2015) Reuters: more http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-homelessness-idUSKCN0T908720151120
Back to the television episode about the homeless. There was one homeless woman on the program who really caught my attention. I believe she was in Texas. She had not always been homeless, unemployed or tattered. Impressively, her life before homelessness played a crucial role in how she lived as a homeless person as well as her success in surviving on the homeless circuit.
The reporter who interviewed the woman was noticeably surprised by this woman’s calmness, seemingly joyous nature and love for God in the midst of her homeless state. Obviously the reporter was not a believer and therefore could not comprehend the essence of the joy that the woman had. “my greatest fear”
- Isaiah 54:4 “Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.
However, yours truly understood the nature of the homeless woman’s state of mind because I know the Lord. It was clear to me that God was in control, and that is how the homeless woman in Texas was able to rise above her mental and emotional capacity so that she could endure the temporary setback of homelessness that had changed her life dramatically.
Besides, “I was fascinated by her ability to make something out of nothing.” Her implicit home or space existed under a viaduct where she had carefully built a dwelling out of cardboard boxes. She had carefully constructed inner spaces that defined specific areas designated for sleeping, eating and dressing. Her space was organized, even though she had pretty much nothing, and although her world had been turned upside down.
My God, she agreed to talk to a reporter about God and faith out of the same mouth that had no access to running water, a kitchen stove, bath tub or walls.
Yet, in spite of all of the above the homeless woman in Texas was still thankful to God for all that He had done for her. You see, the woman realized that even though her situation looked bleak to the world, it could have been worse. She could have been unfavored, merely out in those mean and dangerous streets without God’s blessings and protection.
Another important factor in her state of homelessness was her exhibition of unspeakable joy.
“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)
There was something else. I began to think, “there must be something more to this woman’s ability to endure such a non-materialistic life in absence of a feeling of hopelessness. Finally, it hit me. All of the things that cause most people stress, grief and pain she lacked. The homeless woman was no longer a slave to debt, for starters.
Unlike us, she did not have to pay utility bills, a car note, mortgage, deal with bad relationships, a job she hated, or pressure to keep up with the Jonese’s. It seemed that at least for a period in her life, the kind of stresses most people experience was no more. Instead of replacing them with bitterness, anger and resentment she leaned on her faith, she practiced being content in the state that she was in.
This is why she did not lose herself. Certainly nobody sets out to be homeless, but in the event one is detoured in that direction…know that God is still in control. You don’t have to accept the world’s opinion of you because man’s opinion of you is not God’s. His plan is unknown to man and therefore is often misconstrued. The homeless woman in Texas understood that God works in mysterious ways.
After searching my soul and mind, and since my boss asked me “what my greatest fear was” I was able to find one.
“My greatest fear is to continue living my life believing I got it all right in God’s sight only to find in the end that I had it all wrong.”