TREES

My attempts to solve the world’s hunger crisis have proven unsuccessful.  I have about given myself a pulmonary embolism trying to figure out why there are 25,000 deaths due to starvation every single day. There are enough resources in the world to feed the world.  And yet…twenty-five thousand. Yesterday. Today.  Tomorrow.  And the next day.  Why? Why is this true???

Political unrest. Power struggles. Greed. Gluttony.

I see the vast wheat and cornfields in our country.  I see the well-fed population of this nation.  And I gulp every time I scrape uneaten food in my compost.

Today as I explored in the woods with the boys, stopping whenever to investigate whatever, I noticed the trees.  I noticed the dark rough bark of the oaks and the smooth white bark of the birches.  I noticed the enormous leaves of the tulip saplings, waving about as proudly as their sisters who are towering above them.  I noticed the many trees that had fallen in a long ago storm. I noticed the complex root systems intertwined along the mossy ground.  I noticed the booming life in and around the trees, all sustainable by the ecosystems contained therein.

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Today, I noticed the tree in spite of the forest.

And I remembered Reina.

Reina is our ‘daughter’, whom we sponsor through World Vision.  World Vision understands the complexities of eradicating world hunger.  They understand that if a person is starving, he should be fed.  But they also understand that creating sustainability is imperative if hunger is to be tamed.  Creating healthy communities which self-sustain is a greater job than simply dropping off food rations, which can create dependence.  Creating healthy communities takes time.  Lots of time.  There is no quick-fix solution.  There is no convenient answer.

It’s a forest kind of project.

It makes your head spin, your heart burn, and your stomach ache.

World Vision uses sponsorship to foster sustainability by ‘planning and working alongside community members to help build healthy communities for children’.  They’re in it for the long haul.  They don’t miss the forest for the trees.  And they don’t miss the trees for the forest.

We mustn’t forget that within each forest, each community, are individuals.  Real people with real worth and real hearts and real lives.  You get to twenty-five thousand by counting one at a time.  When I was pregnant with our third little boy, it seemed I could do very little from my small American town to alleviate world hunger.  Child sponsorship compelled me.  I began searching online.  When I locked eyes with Reina through the computer screen, I was a blubbering heap on the floor.  I immediately asked Michael if she could be ‘our’ daughter.  (Michael cannot bear to see me cry.  I never abuse this power.  But I so could.)

World Vision also understands the worth of a person is fully realized when the Good News is shared with her.

‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.’ -Jesus

This is not justification for personal prosperity.  Can we stop mishandling these words?? Having life to the fullest is not having a white picket fence and a 2-car garage.  It is having life in a Living Savior.  Life, when death surrounds you.  Fulfillment, when hunger plagues you.  That’s an abundant life.  And it’s available to anyone, regardless of socioeconomic status, or cultural condition.

The tree by which I was the most intrigued today was one bent so low to the ground, it was nearly fallen. It had undoubtedly been struck by a storm.  But there, coming out of the root system, were new little sprigs of bright green life.  It was life among imminent death.  It was hope amidst a broken, fallen world.

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I hope.  I hope that one day hunger will end.  And I hope that those who are fed will be eternally filled with saving grace of our loving Father.  And I pray that I am eternally compelled to do my part, never giving over my hope to apathy, indifference, or despair.

I hope I always see the trees, despite the great forest.

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