Watching Things Grow (Part 3)

Hola from Nicaragua! This is the third and final part of a series of posts called “Watching Things Grow”.

Over the past two weeks we have talked about what makes things grow and the actual process of growing. We said that only God makes things grow and that a big component of growth is having a vision that creates the energy to take the necessary steps in the growth process. This week’s post is about how this growth model impacts what we are doing in Nicaragua.

As I began to brainstorm about what the biggest perpetuators of poverty might be, many things came to mind. From natural disasters, to injustice issues, to a lack of resources, there were many potential drivers that came to mind. Of all of them, however, a lack of hope and vision for the future seemed to me to be the biggest roadblock to a better future. I think this can be true in all of our lives to some degree. Whether it is the belief that we will never find a job, or that a relationship will never get better, or just generally that we will never be able to grow into the person we hoped to be, stunted hope can rob us of our potential. The reality is a loss of hope and vision is one of the greatest weapons of the enemy. If you read Psalm 43 you will find David crying out to God about the enemy’s effect on his spirit and his perspective on life (Psalm 43:3-7 NIV 1984). This can be a something short-term in our lives or it can affect an entire nation for decades. The good news is this doesn’t have to be a permanent condition. In fact, God is an expert at taking what seems to be hopeless and turning it into something incredible. In Jeremiah 29:11 it says, “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’.” There is no hole deeper than the reach of God and, therefore, no hole He can’t pull us out of. If we can truly understand this and get a clear vision of the hope God has for us, I believe it can change our lives, now and for eternity.

It is with this belief we hope to impact Nicaragua. We believe if people can see the full picture of the hope God has for them it could change everything. You see, we believe that understanding there is someone we can hope in who will never fail us, God, can help us believe that life doesn’t always have to be this way. With a very accurate picture of this hope, we believe we can overcome the fear of failure and the lack of vision for a better future. As we train people in agricultural skills or other vocational skills, we will project a vision that is in line with God’s vision for their lives. As we complete entrepreneurship training, we will tell people about God’s redemption and restoration plan for their lives and this world and how that relates to them creating their own business and flourishing. Then when we assist people through the process of starting their own small business, we will encourage them and remind them of the hope we can have in Christ, despite the challenges of this world.

I believe this is a game changer. If people have a complete picture of the hope found in Christ and the hope God has for them, I believe they can begin to clearly see a vision of the person God sees them as in Christ. Not only will this change the way they treat people, love their family and see the world around them, but I believe it will give them the resilience they need to fight through the challenges associated with starting a new business, especially in a Developing Nation. Even when times get tough, they won’t lose hope because they have a God who never loses hope in them. With a clear vision of the future, I believe the people of Nicaragua can begin changing their economic condition and ultimately the economic condition of this country. Not only that, but it can be a new future with Christ at the center and His command to “love each other” permeating everything that is done. I recognize that you could assume I believe strongly in the “Prosperity Gospel”, which would be an incorrect assumption. Certainly following Christ doesn’t guarantee you a prosperous future and Jesus never said it would. There will be set backs and not everyone will succeed. We still live in a sinful world and the effects of it are all around us. With that said, I do believe a true understanding of the hope we have in Christ can change our perspective of the future and give us a bigger picture of what God has for our lives.

I know this all may sound a little crazy and a lot of “dangerous”, wishful thinking, but what if we all chose to dream a little? What if we all were crazy enough to believe that extreme poverty doesn’t have to exist and that the church is perfectly positioned to eradicate it? What if part of God’s redemption and restoration plan is the rising up of impoverished countries like Nicaragua for the glory of God? What if a clear vision of the hope God has for peoples’ lives created the energy necessary for millions of people to take the steps required to adequately provide for their family’s needs? What if we, the people who were, because of no doing of our own, born able to provide for our daily needs and then some, began to believe things could be different and strategically put “our money where our mouth is” to help make this a reality? Maybe, just maybe we could change the world. If believing this makes you a crazy dreamer then consider me firmly in the camp of the insane. What about you?

See you next week.

-James Belt

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