God’s Love for the Poor
Anding will be 57 years old this October. Although most of her teeth are missing due to lack of dental care since childhood, this has not stopped her from encouraging her neighbors to attend my Bible study. She knows deep inside her that she is a Christian, and wishes that the rest of the people around her would come to the Lord too.
She has learned not to make a big fuss about those who do not want to hear about Jesus; her attempts to bring them to the Lord only elicited from them either a smirk or silence. She lives in a dilapidated shelter with her daughter nicknamed Jick-Jick, who has a one-year old malnourished child. Jick-Jick is a young woman whose hopes for a better life have been sadly lost and forgotten by lack of education. Anding has another son whom she fondly calls Mak-Mak. His real name is Jaymark. When you look at him the first time you would think that he had had nothing to eat for a week. Though he has a jolly disposition, his eyes betray some hidden pain, and his body shows symptoms of inner disease. He looks wan and weak. He is an industrious young man. Only 20 years old. He would rise up early to work in a junk shop, sorting our plastic materials. He is paid by the kilos he has segregated. This has not really helped them much, for the whole system in which they move is a trap that seems to have no way of escape. Poverty of mind, soul, spirit, body, and the social life, is an entropy of the human heart. It is slow killing. This poverty has a way of forcing people into a quagmire of drudgery and hopelessness.
Last week Jaymark was rushed to a hospital after vomiting blood. I met Anding some four months ago. We immediately developed a sense of kindredness by virtue of same ethnic roots. She would always volunteer to accompany me in my visitations in the community. Congested small houses, muddy paths on rainy days, dirty-looking children running around, methane and smoke-filled air, families sorting out garbage and junk materials, young men playing basketball in the yard using improvised board, constitute the community—an odd place to find God and what He might be doing. Anding has been living in this condition for the last ten years, and she is used to it. There is no other home except this one. One day Anding did not show up. This continued for a week. I heard that she got sick with diarrhea. She could hardly get out of her bed. I visited her and prayed for her recovery. I left her with a bag of santol. She peeled them off slowly and ate a lot with relish. Unknowingly, the fruit helped a lot in her recovery. She and Jick-Jick would later say that I was heaven-sent… that her life was saved because of me…because of my kindness…because of the fruit…because of the grace of God. I wished they had everything that I could have. I just wanted to share some fruit coming from a tree in our lot. They praised God for his grace. It was really the Lord who was taking care of them, and I, on my part, like an ordinary instrument needing some polishing and cleaning itself, was picked up by the divine hand, to serve His purpose. I didn’t know God was doing precisely that. This is not the end of this wonderful God-story.
Her husband works as a construction worker in another place. He comes home once a month to be with Anding and the children. His income is not really enough to sustain their daily needs, so she ends up by hiring herself to an owner of a small food outlet to do kitchen chores. Her income from this job, which is not everyday, is meager, to say the least. I wanted to help her. I gave her some money to start a small business—something that she can sell fast during the day, and have income before night falls. She planned to buy the necessary things the following day and start her business. However, early the next morning, Mak-Mak vomited blood. The money which was intended for business was used for his immediate medical attention. It was not much but it helped him live another day. It was found out that he has an enlargement of the heart and tuberculosis. In the midst of all this uncertainty Jick-Jick and Anding realized that I came at the right time again in their lives. When they needed help, I was there. But the greater realization they have is the fact that it was really God who was taking care of Jaymark.
An Englishman, a very gentle one, who was with me saw her plight. He would give some money to buy medicines for the treatment of Jaymark’s illness. I am hoping that it is not too late for him, that he will receive the grace and love of God fully, that no matter how poor he is, God’s rich mercy has always been with him. If people wouldn’t come to the Lord through riches, perhaps, poverty, will do the work. It is in this sense that indeed, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”