Lent is about abundance, God’s abundance. When we abstain from certain things, be they caffeine or sweets or a compulsion to fix or control things, we make ourselves open to God’s provision.
That’s the counter-intuitive, take-home point of James Alison’s reflections on Isaiah 55:1-9 and Luke 13:1-9, in the most recent issue of The Christian Century.
I’ve been struck lately by how much our world deals in currencies of scarcity. Maybe it is almost second nature to see ourselves and one another and the problems we face in terms of what we do not have. We so rarely look at these same things with eager expectation for how God can take our few loaves and fishes and turn them into a scrumptious meal for thousands. We almost never view our handicaps, limitations or places of greatest need as the very site where God bids us to come and feast on God’s provision (Isaiah 55) or watch as God bears fruit out of season (Luke 13).
But God is God precisely because God can turn nothing into something: creatio ex nihilo is the fancy name for it. Seeing ourselves in relation to this God means letting our minds be renewed by an appreciation for God’s economy as it transforms ours.
Nowhere have my own assumptions about scarcity and their need to be overturned by this generous God of abundance become more apparent than in walking alongside my daughter these days in the various developmental hurdles she faces. We recently applied to a special, private school that will help Sam to the tune of $21,000 a year. Yes, you read that last part correctly. Ka-chink, Ka-chink. Somehow, though, I am learning to trust that God really will make a way where there is none- because God loves Sam more than even I, as her mother, ever could.
What is your place of greatest need? Where do your resources seem scarcest? What would it look like for you to celebrate them as the very places where God will show up as a God of abundance? Share your answers below and I’ll republish them!