Not Always Crushed
Every day during Advent 2020, we are sharing a short encouragement based around a promise in the Bible that God makes to His people. By faith, we can take hold of them to reflect on and present back to God in prayer; lifting our eyes to the hope of this season and drawing us close to the One who draws near to us.
Psalm 9:18 — But the needy will not be ignored forever; the hopes of the poor will not always be crushed.
Despite living in one of the richest nations in the world, poverty is all around us. Homelessness is on the rise, Foodbank use is increasing, addiction continues to ruin lives, and loan sharks and unscrupulous lenders seek to exploit the most vulnerable for their own ends. What hope does advent offer to those caught in poverty?
This promise emphasises two aspects; knowledge and hope, and it has both a present and a future dimension.
In the present, we as the church are called to enter into the lives of the poor, not separating off in a glass bubble, but welcoming everyone to the table and inviting everyone in. Financial poverty is rarely the whole story; it is often found alongside a poverty of relationships, emotional and psychological support, spiritual direction, and physical health. To know others and to be known by them is an increasingly rare thing in a world of skin-deep, superficial relationships. We are also to hold out hope; practical support in all those areas of poverty, the opening of our community, our homes, and our lives, and the best hope of all — the riches that Christ Jesus gives us in Himself.
Yet all of this is only possible because of God’s promise first. We give ourselves to knowing others because God has known us first. We love because He first loved us, and God’s heart has always been for the poor. He knows what each person is going through, and He cares for them. At Christmas, He embodies this entirely, entering into our poverty, born as a baby to a teenage Mum, laid in a manger because there was nowhere else for Him to lay His head.
This is knowledge to sustain hope, and there is hope too in the knowledge that one day poverty shall end for good. During advent, we look forward to both Jesus’ coming and to his return — that one day, he will return to renew and restore everything, bringing justice for the poor and righting every wrong. Today, let’s fix our eyes on that future hope, and play our part in demonstrating it in the present to those so often forgotten by everyone except God.