Crowded grocery stores. Empty shelves. Massive breakouts in packing plants. A break in the food supply chain. All of these words and phrases swirl around me and weigh down on me for days before each and every grocery trip. No matter how positive and upbeat I have been feeling, the second I start putting together that shopping list, the anxiety comes.
As everyone knows, we are in the midst of the first global pandemic in over a century. My family has been blessed — we are financially secure thanks to my husband’s stable job. We have all been healthy and we have the privilege to be able to quarantine and stay home. So why the anxiety? The grocery store. As a stay at home mom who only works after the kids are in bed, one of my roles is the meal planning, grocery shopping, and dinner making. Honestly, I love this part of my job. I love planning and cooking delicious meals that both satisfy my family’s taste buds and their nutritional needs. I love going grocery shopping and finding the right ingredients, the most intriguing snacks, and the items that our household needs to function effectively.
But since mid-March, when the Coronavirus reared its ugly head, the joy of grocery shopping has been taken from me. Anxiety that breeds irritability, stress, and sometimes even physical ailments has replaced it. My gut reaction is to over plan — have a Plan A, B, and C. Or buy three times the amount needed. But that’s not the right answer. As I became aware that these feelings continued to return each time I began the grocery shopping process, I realized I needed a better answer — I needed the only answer that can be trusted completely. I needed the Truth of God.
As I began to pray and ask my Heavenly Father for help, peace, guidance — He brought to mind a story all the way back in Exodus, the second book of the Old Testament.
In Exodus 16, the Israelites have already been freed from slavery in Egypt and have started out into the desert. There wasn’t food. There wasn’t water. The people were ticked. They started grumbling against their leaders, Moses and Aaron, and told them that they had been better off as slaves in Egypt. While this seems a bit dramatic, I know that I fall into the same whiny, distrustful, anxious spirit. In fact, that’s where my mind wants to go every time I think about the grocery store right now.
However, God provided for the Israelites. He sent quail and manna from heaven. But there was a catch — the people were only to gather enough to feed themselves and their families for the day at hand. They were not to gather extra, they were not to save up. Except for the day before the Sabbath, they were only to gather enough for the day. Some people tried to save it anyway — it rotted. I can imagine that there was some pretty strong anxiety running through some of those people. What if it didn’t come again tomorrow? What if they woke up and there was no food? How would they survive?
That never turned out to be a problem. Day after day, God provided. Because that’s what He does. He may not always provide in exactly the way we wanted — maybe the Israelites were sick of manna and quail by year 15 of 40, everyone likes a little variety — but he will always provide for His people.
As I remembered this story from the Old Testament, other scriptures came flooding into my thoughts as well. In Matthew 6, Jesus teaches that we are to ask God for our daily bread. Daily. Not weekly, not monthly. In that same chapter, Jesus directs his followers’ gaze to the birds and the lilies. Neither of these created beings worries about what they will eat or wear. Jesus says “Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself,” (Matthew 6:34). In Philippians 4:6-7, the Apostle Paul encourages the people of Philippi to “not be anxious about anything, but” he tells them, “In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
This is the type of peace I find in Christ– a peace that transcends all understanding. The peace that comes from knowing that God will take care of me, that I don’t have to worry about tomorrow, that I can trust Him. I can trust Him to provide enough for today.
We at Purposeful Living INC know that for some of us, manna from Heaven would be an answer to prayer right now. You may not know where your next meal is going to come from or how you will emotionally get through this isolation. Let us be Christ’s hands and feet as we come alongside you. If you, or someone you know, needs help in a physical, emotional, or spiritual way — please do not hesitate to reach out. You can fill out a Care Request form here, or Contact Us here.
You are loved, you are cherished, and God will provide — even if it’s just enough for today.