“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” -Isaiah 40:8 ESV
God gave me an abundance of toilet paper.
Two months ago, when the boxes started arriving at the church where I work, I was irritated; I didn’t need toilet paper, I needed Kleenex. I don’t know how it happened, but every time I requested an order of Kleenex boxes, Fed Ex would roll up with giant brown boxes, each filled with 120 rolls of toilet paper instead.
It felt like toilet paper was coming out of my ears as I wrestled the heavy boxes down the stairs and into our already packed storage room. I ran out of places to put them, the cupboards already full of the neatly stacked rolls, occupying the spaces where my precious Kleenex had once resided.
Shoving the boxes into the back corner of the cupboard, I returned to my work, not knowing that the source of my irritation was actually God’s proactive provision for the upcoming crisis.
“Give us this day our daily bread.” – Matthew 6:11 ESV
Jesus instructs the crowd to pray this, “Give us this day our daily bread.” It is a prayer of entreaty to a generous Father. A plea to our God that He will not forget us, but instead provide for us our every need.
I do not need to be reminded to ask God to take care of my needs. It comes very naturally to me. In fact, it is often my needs that turn me to prayer in the first place, reminding me that oh yes, I have a God that I should be paying attention to.
However, in times like these, where fear is running rampant, and anxiety is spreading through the air even faster than the contagion around us, it is comforting to know what our response should be. We need to ask for help.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” – Matthew 6:25-33 ESV
When we seek God, humbly presenting our needs before Him, He promises to provide for us. Why? Because He loves us. He loved us so much that He gave us the most valuable thing, the best of what He had, His Son.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” – John 3:16-17
Who could have predicted that during this crisis, one of the biggest needs of our community would be toilet paper? With shelves empty and people hoarding the precious 1 and 2 ply rolls by the room full, people have been driven near to panic.
About a week into this panic, God reminded me about our own overflowing stores. I had been sitting at my desk, praying about how the church could help our community. God created the church for times such as this, didn’t He? Congregations of His people who He called and equipped to LOVE and GIVE to their neighbors in ALL times, but especially in times of suffering and fear.
I was stumped on how to practically do that. But God wasn’t. He had already known about the pandemic, known about the toilet paper supply shortage, and how people would be crying out from its lack. So, He had filled our church with it.
During my prayers, He reminded me of His provision, that the extra toilet paper had not been a mistake, but a gift. Now our church gets the honor in caring for our community by giving it away.
God will always take care of our needs. We know that because He promised us that He would in His Word. In this ever changing, ever teetering life of ours; where our entire world, environment, economy, governments, careers, health, and mental stability, seem ever on the brink of collapse, we have one constant. We have one thing on which we can always rely on, always depend on, one thing that never changes, Our God…..and He always keeps His promises.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” -Isaiah 40:8 ESV
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” -James 1:17 ESV