in the midst of poverty Abortion. War. Recession. Poverty. Terrorism. Injustice. Abuse. Hate. In a world full of so much evil, it’s easy to forget that God is still sitting on the throne. That He hasn’t abdicated His power. That He hasn’t forgotten or abandoned us.

Could it be that perhaps God sees a more complete picture of this life than we do from our limited perspective? Maybe He sees the whole where we just see part …

Karl, a Norwegian fisherman, had taken his two teenage sons out for a day of fishing. The morning had been beautiful when they started out, but the afternoon turned nasty – in a hurry – catching them too far at sea to beat the incoming storm to shore. The wind-whipped ocean began to work into a frenzy, until he and his sons were battling for their lives. As darkness fell on their frantic efforts, even the steady beacon of the seaside lighthouse was suddenly extinguished by a terrific bolt of lightening. Hope seemed lost.

But things were actually worse than Karl knew. Lightning had also struck his home and the structure quickly erupted into a fireball. So when Karl and his sons finally staggered ashore, exhausted, he was met by his wife with the bad news.

Strangely, Karl seemed unfazed, much to his wife’s frustration. As he stroked her tear-lined face with his tough, leathery hands, he said, “Don’t you understand, sweetheart? When the lighthouse went out, the glow on the horizon became my compass. The fire that destroyed our house guided us home.”

Poverty is evil, no question about that. But God is still working in the midst of it. He is creating beauty out of ashes. We might not be able to see everything that He can, but we can trust Him because …

“We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NIV)


Compassion Vice President of International Program, Mark Yeadon, shared this story last week during our quarterly ministry update. It is taken from a devotional from Family Life.

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  1. Feb 13, 2009
    at 10:33 am

    Thanks so much — great illustration — I’ve been studying this verse all week –

  2. Feb 13, 2009
    at 10:51 am

    Great post as always. Just want to mention that poverty is definitely not part of God’s kingdom. He does not want anyone to be in poverty. Satan is the true ruler and creator of poverty and he just so happens to use it against God.

  3. Feb 13, 2009
    at 11:26 am

    Great message Becky. I’ve found myself in turmoil about many of the issues in the beginning of your message. It’s great to be reminded that I can’t see the big picture. If I respond with anger, I give up the right to be heard. We’re called to respond with God’s love. If we don’t trust our Heavenly Father, how can we expect others to do so?

  4. Feb 13, 2009
    at 11:59 am

    Lukewarm,

    Thanks for your comment.

    I’m sorry if I implied that poverty was a part of God’s kingdom. That certainly wasn’t my intention. Because I agree with you 100% – it’s not!

    The point I was trying to make was that even something as awful as poverty – something that is SO outside of God’s original design for this world – can still be used by God for good.

    That doesn’t mean I think it’s okay or that we should stop doing everything we can to get rid of it. But I do believe what that verse says – in ALL things (poverty included) God works for the good of those who love him.

  5. Feb 13, 2009
    at 2:34 pm

    Thats so true. I re read my comment and I think my short sentences caused a misunderstanding. Anyways, keep up the great work. Always enjoy reading this blog and I find it very encouraging and inspirational.

  6. Feb 13, 2009
    at 6:41 pm

    Ooh. That post gave me cold chills. His burning house guided him home. Wow…

  7. Laura
    Feb 14, 2009
    at 8:28 am

    That’s an amazing story! Is it true?

  8. Heather
    Feb 17, 2009
    at 12:53 pm

    Great post and story Becky. Watching the news about famine,disease,war,abuse,genocide,child marriages,terrorism,crimes against the helpless is sooooooooo depressing.”God is still sitting on the throne. That He hasn’t abdicated His power. That He hasn’t forgotten or abandoned us.
    Could it be that perhaps God sees a more complete picture of this life than we do from our limited perspective? Maybe He sees the whole where we just see part” has also been my thoughts for years and really the only thing that seems to bring any comfort.

  9. Mike Stephens
    Mar 25, 2009
    at 10:55 am

    Becky thanks for the GREAT insight!!! It’s encouraging. I guess it is kind of like a marathon runner if he wins the race he can talk about the pain and how horrible and terrible the pain was but if he wins, the pain seems to disappear it is not an issue.

  10. Mike Stephens
    Mar 27, 2009
    at 5:44 pm

    Becky it is so true, if I just looked at the sky all day I would think everything is blue!!! That is why it is so important to read my bible!!! So I can see TRUTH in the midst of the turmoil all around me!!!

  11. Mar 23, 2011
    at 10:45 pm

    Perspective. It’s a powerful thing.

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