Everything is gray. The sky is gray, the roads are gray, even my car is gray. I don’t feel gray though, I feel good. I feel like the Bradford pear trees in full white bloom along the gray road. I feel like the morning chickadees chirping their cheery wake-up song no matter what the sky looks like.
Because I don’t let myself think about it. I don’t allow what’s happening in the world around me access. I don’t watch the news or listen to the radio, and I scroll past the doom-and-gloom Facebook posts. Who can believe those anyway?
And honestly, the changes in my life have improved it. The best part is my husband is home more. And my children are safe, and my job is secure. Life is a little slower… Life is good, despite COVID-19.
So I wasn’t expecting it…
The reality check.
It was a gray Tuesday, after a gray Monday, that followed a gray Sunday (it is March after all). And like I said, I wasn’t feeling gray. I arrived at the grocery store laughing along with Annie and Eddie, enjoying the TSF Quarantine podcast of the day. I greeted everyone in the parking lot with a smile and “hello.” And with a bounce in my step I entered the store, grabbed a mini-cart, and even wisely sanitized both the cart handle and my hands.
And then I turned the corner…
And then I got the jolt…
You see up until now the produce section of the grocery store had been full. The only bare shelf was where the toilet paper used to be. And I had plenty. But when I turned the corner I was confronted with an empty bin where the potatoes used to be. And beside that, instead of a mound of onions, only seven or eight loose ones. Beyond that I noticed no packages of lettuce and only two bags of spinach. My heart skipped a beat, then started a jog as I inhaled a gasp. Exhaling slowly, “It’s ok,” I told myself, “you’re going to be ok.”
As I walked the aisles my fear compounded. I’d never seen it like this before… scarcity on EVERY shelf.
I walked through the store weaving around the palettes of boxes of food and supplies, and staying out of the way of the grocery store workers as they restocked. Standing on a bottom shelf I reached to the back of the top shelf and grabbed two cans of beans. “There’s plenty of food,” I told myself. Rounding the tomato sauce and pasta aisle I grabbed only one box of pasta. I had to search for a comparable tomato sauce to the one I usually buy, and also took only one. ”There’s plenty of food.” I told myself. In the distance I could see a few Almond Milk cartons in the refrigerator. Grateful I took one, saying again to myself, “there’s plenty of food.”
While the shelves told me one story, the truth was, “there’s plenty of food.” The palettes I had to maneuver around were proof. The knowledge that the roads are open and truckers are hauling also reassured me.
But even if those things weren’t true. And scarcity was reality.
What IS true is that God is on His throne, in control, and He’s never…
and I mean NEVER…
And on that gray Tuesday, with my heart frightened by a distorted perception of scarcity, He reminded me.
Thirty years ago, young and barely married a year, Tim and I made a faith-filled decision to obey God. We moved from College Heights, Alberta to College Place, Washington, yes, for college. It was a big, scary move. We would both be attending a private Christian college full-time and our only employment options were low-paying, on-campus jobs since we were both Canadians on student visas . We had no scholarships, no grants, no student loans and no idea how we would make ends meet.
Our very first day, after unloading and some unpacking, we went to a locally-owned grocery store. We walked the aisles. Bread, milk, bananas, the off-brand Mac-n-cheese, and a few other items lay in our mostly-empty cart. I remember the anxiety in my stomach and worry in my head as I watched the amount rise with each ding of the register.
The total.. . just under twenty dollars.
Right now that amount is laughable, but at the time, to two jobless college students it was the beginning of depletion to an already meager supply.
Tim paid with a twenty dollar bill. Putting his wallet back in his pocket he glanced at the floor. There, in front of his right foot was a twenty dollar bill. Confused, he picked it up thinking he’d dropped it and knowing he gave a twenty to the cashier. She confirmed that he’d given it to her as she laid it in the register. And he still held a $20 in his hand. My stomach relaxed and my head quieted as realization hit us. God will provide. And He was telling us so.
Author E. G. White wrote, “we have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget how God has led us in the past.” (Life Stetches, p.196). Reminding me on that gray Tuesday, how He had looked after us in the past, reassured me that He would look after us in the future. I have nothing to fear.
During this time of anxiety and worry, social-distancing and stay-at-home mandates let’s reminisce a little and remember God’s leading and provision in our past. While we mourn the deaths and fear economic collapse let’s reassure ourselves and each other that this coronavirus is not news to God. He knew it was coming, He knows how it will end, and what’s on the other side. He’s got you. He’s got me. His holding our families, our health, and our finances in His righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10). He is Jehovah Jireh, God Our Provider.
And no matter what…
He sits on His throne
He is in control
and He will see you through…
through to eternity.
(Btw we graduated from Walla Walla College two years later. Tim with a Master of Science in Biology. Me with a Bachelor of Social Work. Not only did we leave college without debt or student loans, we had a $500 credit on our school account. God was faithful, just as He promised.)