Where is God Amidst Poverty

It was January of 2007, and I was in the first month of a one-year stint in Nicaragua. Adjusting to life in a poor, rural town was difficult to say the least. For this reason, Snickers and Pringles were must-have purchases at gas stations. And any time we could get away to the city to watch a movie, we were there. It was all I could do to maintain the luxuries I had grown accustomed to in America. 

On one of those movie nights, as we pulled out of Leon around 11 p.m., I was in the back of our little Toyota Tacoma pickup truck. As we drove away from the center of town, we passed a lady sitting in a little nook up against the wall of one the old colonial structures that make up the scenery in urban Nicaragua. She'd settled in for the evening with her four-to-five-year-old son asleep in her lap.  

That concrete wall would be home for the night. In that moment, God gave me a brief vision of who that lady was. I realized that if my mother had been put in the same circumstance, that could be her, and the boy, me. Thank God I was alone as I broke down in the back of that pickup truck. I lay down in the truck bed and wept in the warm Nicaraguan air as we made the 40-minute drive home.

The stars in the night took on new meaning, as did life. I felt small, I felt privileged and just a little bit evil.  Small because they say those thousands of stars are all way bigger than Earth itself.  Privileged because my bank account would allow me to live an average Nicaraguan lifestyle for 30 years without earning another dollar. And evil because despite my nonprofit work, I was incapable of putting a dent in poverty at that moment.

The situation was anything but fair, but no matter how I mentally dissected my faith, my understanding of the Gospel told me that God was with those two humans that night. I had to believe He was with them just as He was with me. 

In Luke 9:58, a man wanted to follow Jesus, and Jesus replied, "Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."

Where is God amidst poverty? He's right there, in the very middle of it. 


- Alan Wilser, CEO of SuNica

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