Finding Abundance Amidst Desolation

They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream.
It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green;
in the year of drought, it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit.
Jeremiah 17:8

Last night I turned off the Wednesday Night Live Evening Prayer livestream, made some supper, and sat back at my computer to catch up on the news before my weekly essay on what’s happening at Trinity. Within the first few bites of egg and grits, the death toll in Lewiston, Maine, went from 10 to 12…to 16…to 18. My thoughts on upcoming events evaporated.

The pledge card on my desk caught my eye. “Rooted in Abundance?!” I laughed. “There isn’t an abundance of anything except suffering right now.” But to my surprise I began to find consolation in elements of the pledge campaign material. It includes many thoughtful questions about where we seek strength, growth, and fulfillment, and all of them lead back to the ancient wisdom of our faith. First, the source of all that is within us is God, our Father, our Mother, and the Creator of all. Second, that this truth is revealed through the people around us.

If like me you are not seeing much abundance in the world, it’s because the world is not where abundance lies. Abundance is never just stuff or fun things to do. It’s always the opportunity to share and connect with other children of God.

How have certain places informed your sense of meaning and purpose? Are they places of solitude? Are they places that link you with other people here and now or in the past?

How has your family expressed abundance at milestone events? Is that something you missed? Either way, has it affected your ability to celebrate with abundance?

How has encountering new people in the context of ministry added to your own gifts? How have others helped you gain new skills and understanding? How does it feel to let yourself be changed by new ideas and possibilities?

When you consider all these revelations of God’s goodness, how does it make you feel? Do you feel gratitude? Does it inspire you? Does it give you hope?

It’s certainly giving me hope. I mourn and I grieve with the many people suffering all over the world, but my empathy does not crush me because I know it is a gift from God. It joins me with other souls and reminds me how I am bound to something—to Someone—who is eternal and will sustain me through today’s desolation and into the Kingdom of God.