On Medicaid and Poverty

A friend of mine filed for bankruptcy the other day.  She is a lovely person with a lovely family.  Both of her children have special needs.  Ironically, she is a special needs teacher in an elementary school.  Through no fault of their own, her family has been put in a terrible financial situation.  Insurance doesn’t cover a large percentage of the tests and equipment her sons have to have.  In the past couple of years they have accrued tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills.  They were rejected by Medicaid on some minor technicalities.  They have tried to sell their house for the past few years, but the only buyer that was interested offered less than the value, and the bank rejected the offer.  Her husband lost his job a couple months ago.  Their only choice at this point is to file bankruptcy to give the house to the bank without being penalized.  These folks are hard working.  Honest.  Kind.  Good parents.

My point here, is that sometimes we look at people in financial distress and subconsciously think they must somehow deserve it.  They must have made bad decisions somewhere along they way.  They must spend all their money on brand name tennis shoes and cable TV.  Or we look at impoverished people in other countries and make the assessment that these people live in terrible conditions because they are too superstitious and uneducated to try to better themselves.  They have corrupt governments, and everyone knows that corrupt governments are going to exploit you.  It’s really a terrible thing, you know, but somewhere down the line it was someone’s fault and these are just the consequences.

Poverty, disease, and famine are consequences.  Consequences of living in a fallen world.  What happens to us isn’t always  intrinsically linked to our own personal sinful choices.  It could be the result of someone else’s sinful choices.  Or even no-one-in-particular’s sinful choices.  Ever since the fall, imperfection just is.

Ever noticed how Jesus liked to heal people of their physical illnesses?  Or meet their physical needs?  He didn’t have to.  He could just have gone around forgiving sins.  But he didn’t.  Satan is the ruler of this world, and in a way, when we fight against disease, poverty, and famine- we fight against him.  The Kingdom of God is at hand.  It’s not yet complete, but it has begun.  Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

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