We Are God’s Poor

God hears the poor,
and those who are in bonds God spurns not.

Psalm 69:34

Sometimes, when we hear or read about the poor in the scriptures or via the media, we assume that the term references those with dire material needs. Though this is certainly often the case, God’s definition of “the poor” is all-inclusive. God attends to each one of us whether our needs are material or otherwise.

Sometimes, when we find ourselves doing well in the world’s eyes, we also find ourselves in need deep within us where it matters most. Just as the materially poor climb a slippery slope when it comes to establishing a secure life for themselves and their loved ones, the materially rich sometimes expend so much energy holding on to what they have that they lose their grip on the things that matter most to them.

We all take turns being counted among God’s poor. This much-loved group includes you and me and all of our brothers and sisters whenever this life robs us of the things we need to continue on. Whether we’re lacking money enough for a loaf of bread or love enough to care for our aging parent, God knows our suffering. Whether we are besought by the enemy before us or by the demons within us, God stands at our sides. All the while, God offers us enough love to get by.

Loving God, you recognize our poverty in all of its forms. Be persistent with your generous love, that we may share that love with one another.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

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A Bit of Faith Yields an Abundance Love

Jesus said to them,
“Why are you terrified,
O you of little faith?”

Matthew 8:24

I admit it. I become terrified, too.

When I was a little girl, I envied the disciples. I felt certain that if I’d had the opportunity to walk with Jesus every day, I would have made much better use of the time than Jesus’ contemporaries did. I would’ve had no doubt that Jesus could and would take care of everything I needed.

If you’ve read my writing before, you know that I’ve asserted often that this is precisely the case. God has generously revealed Divine Love to me and for me throughout my life. I know without a doubt that God loves and cares for me and for every one of us. I know that God knows us better than we know ourselves and that God knows our every need better than we do. Still, though I believe this with all of my heart, when the chips are down, I sometimes join the disciples in being terrified.

The good news is that, in spite of their shaky faith, the disciples never forgot where to turn. They cried out to Jesus whenever they were in trouble. I’m happy to say that, in spite of my sometimes shaky faith, I also never forget where to turn and neither should you. God’s ear is always only a prayer away.

Loving God, I know I’m repeating myself here, but thank you for listening and for loving us so completely!

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Fully Known!

Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of the Kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.

Matthew 4:23

The wind beyond my window indicates that the moment’s unseasonably warm temperature will give way to winter by this afternoon. The sky stubbornly holds onto its gray hues. There’s no chance that the sun will shine today. Oddly, I find some solace in the frosty gloom around me. Though I will not be walking outdoors today, I haven’t been left alone in my contemplation. The bit of Creation outside my window has made its way indoors to bring comfort. “You aren’t alone,” I seem to hear.

Sometimes, I long to have my feelings and thoughts read. I long for someone to say, “I know exactly what you’re thinking!” or “I know exactly how you feel!” without benefit of a bit of prompting from me. I know deep within that this is asking far too much of another human being. I’m rarely precise in my own perceptions of others. How, then, can I expect anyone to be precise about the many thoughts and feelings lying deep within me?

As I turn my eyes back to that gray sky, the clouds change position and a tiny opening begins to form. A speck of blue shows itself for just a second or two and it’s just enough. Though I don’t see the speaker or hear the words, I’m absolutely certain. Someone does know exactly what I’m thinking. Someone does know exactly how I feel.

Loving God, thank you for revealing your care in the most unexpected and beautiful ways. Help me to do the same for those who need to know your love today.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Truly Understood…

“You may go; your son will live.”
The man believed what Jesus said to him and left
.
John 4:50

It has taken me a lifetime to imitate the man about whom John wrote the words above. I’m sorry to admit that I succeed only some of the time. This man was a royal official, likely quite used to having his every need met without question. At the time, the man’s child lay dying. He had likely tapped every resource at his disposal to find a cure. Still, in spite of his position, he could do nothing to save his son. In desperation, the man turned to Jesus for help. Something he’d heard about Jesus convinced him to do so. When Jesus instructed him to go home because his son was recovering, the man believed Jesus and went home. He was not disappointed.

I cannot be sure of what this royal official learned about Jesus before he approached him for help. However, I’m quite certain that he knew only the tiniest fraction of what we have come to know in the two millenniums since. Still, in the face of two thousand plus years of proof of God’s love for us in more than a billion lifetimes, there are times when I doubt.

The better news is that, when I come to my senses, I do believe and I am at peace. Though the man who sought Jesus’ help expected results, I most often expect only a sympathetic ear. Knowing that God understands my troubles makes them manageable. Knowing that God understands my troubles gives me the strength to carry on.

Compassionate God, strengthen our faith in your constant companionship and care. Help us to simply believe and be on our way.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

God Gets It

Trust in him at all times, O my people!
Poor out your hearts before him;
God is our refuge!

From Psalm 62

During a recent visit with our granddaughters, I experienced a bit of deja vu. Our middle granddaughter was extremely excited because the sun had just emerged from behind a large patch of gray clouds. “Gramma, did you know that the sun is a very large star? We can see it because it’s so close to the earth. We can’t see the other stars now, but they’re still up there. The sun is too bright for us to see them…” As this almost-six-year-old continued to explain, I recalled her Uncle Tim at that age exhibiting the same exhilaration over new bits of knowledge he had acquired. Like my granddaughter, Tim soaked up all kinds of information like a sponge.

When such cerebral treasures are shared, especially by the children in my life, I give my full attention to the speaker. There is nothing more encouraging and comforting than really being understood.. As I write, it occurs to me that God does the same for each of us. Whether or not we are understood by those around us, God understands our meaning even better than we understand it ourselves. In my joys and in my sorrows, I find that there is nothing more encouraging and comforting than really being understood.

Dear God, thank you for always understanding my meaning. Help me to do the same as best I can for those you have given me to love.

©2014 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Birthday Blessings

“Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking
not as God does, but as human beings do.”
From Mark 8:27-33

As my birthday approaches, I recall my only children’s birthday party. Because money was tight in our house, I continue to be amazed that I actually asked for this party and that my mom agreed to host it. Though I have no recollection of our planning, I do know that my friends Trino, Adolph and Caroline joined me for ice cream, cake and games. I also recall that Trino and Adolph each handed me a shiny half-dollar on their way into our flat. I don’t remember any of my other guests or gifts. Still, at the time, this party was extremely important to me. I yearned for the recognition that only a “birthday boy” or “birthday girl” receives. In the end, I found myself disappointed because my shyness kept me from enjoying the limelight that I had longed for.

Years later when my husband surprised me with a 40th birthday party, everything was different. Though this was the last thing I wanted, it ended up being one of the nicest events of my life. This gathering of family and friends filled me up with more love than I thought I could hold.

Generous God, only you understand our deepest needs. Thank you for surprising us with these things in spite of what we think will make us happy.

©2014 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved