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Lent Devotional: Wednesday, March 13

Abundance in the Wilderness
Over the past several years I've had the privilege to visit the Middle East, much of it the same wilderness where the children of Israel likely wandered. I can't even imagine what that would have been like. You are in the middle of nowhere. You can look for miles in every direction and see nothing but desert. It is desolate - hot, barren, dry.

Then a local resident told me to look closer – to narrow my gaze. Sure enough, by narrowing my gaze and focusing on one small area at a time, I saw patches of green - plants, flowers, and trees. I saw birds, and as I focused my eyes, my other senses focused, as well. I heard the buzz of bees and even started smelling fresh scents. As I went from one place to another, I discovered these small patches of life all over the place. There - in the middle of desolation - is abundance!

I think the same is true in our personal wildernesses. When we suffer loss, or are alone and need others, or are longing for answers and finding none, it is easy to stare into our souls and see nothing but a vast, desolate desert. In those moments, God calls us to step back and narrow our gaze. God calls us to look for that small patch of life or beauty or love in the middle of that desert. It's there - we just have to focus to find it. And when we find one, we will start to see another, and another. Pretty soon, where once we saw only desolation, we now find abundance.

Sometimes, even though God calls us, we can't do it by ourselves. Just like I needed someone to show me the abundance in the desert, sometimes we need someone to help us see the abundance within and before us. We just need to be open to it.

Every day God provides for us abundantly. Every day God calls us to see and experience that abundance. Our challenge is to look for it and find it - especially when all we can see is a desert.


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