Friday, November 4, 2011

Abundance in Desolate Places

Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. Matthew 14:13-21

The summer is long gone and as we move into serious winter, the look of this part of the world has changed drastically. There is no traffic, no parked cars, few pedestrians and no crowds. Except on weekends when a few hardy souls show up to browse and drive by, it is quiet and desolate, devoid of the noise and fuss the summer brings. The quiet can be tough on many, especially the elderly, as there are no visiting friends and family, no one dropping by and even few phone calls. And yet there is abundance in this desolation, a quiet deep space of breathing and contemplation, a feeding and a healing that is hidden in plain sight.

Jesus seeks out a desolate place to calm his heart and soul after a devastating loss. The folks follow him aching for his touch and his healing. He has compassion and not only heals them but finds food for them. He takes a very little and makes it more than can be consumed. Jesus takes a small pittance of an offering and fills the crowd to overflowing. Just enough for everyone would have been fine, but God goes the extra mile and makes abundance in our darkest places, overflowing generosity in the deepest despair. We are invited today to see our most desolate places as God's desire to fill the void.

Today, I ask God to help me have an open heart so that I might be still and receive the abundance of love that is offered. May my life be dedicated to sharing what I have received with others, even if what I have to offer seems inadequate and small. May we all ask for what we need and give what we have knowing God will supply the abundance.

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