Several times today I was thinking about how I needed to go to the grocery store. It wasn’t a nonstop preoccupation; however, as much as I hate to admit it, I am quite sure I was guilty of worrying about it a few times. Guilty – of anxiety. Guilty – of failing to trust in God’s provision.
[A note of explanation may be needed here before I continue. We live on a missionary training base in the middle of the countryside in rural England. It is two miles walk to the local grocery, one-way, and we do not currently have a car. It also was raining throughout the afternoon.]
Unfortunately, when I examine my heart it bothered me first because of the personal pride I take in being someone “who doesn’t worry.” Never mind the fact that Jesus told us that we need not worry about provisions such as food or clothing because our Daddy in heaven feeds the birds of the air and clothes the lilies of the field. In the same way He will provide for us.
Praise God He can redeem even my impure motivations and turn the evil Satan wants to use to accuse me into something good.
It wasn’t until just about 15 minutes ago, through God’s grace and gentle conviction, I realized two things and was able to make that turn from worry to trust, from pride to humility, from sin to faith. One, we had enough food for tomorrow. I should take the time to take a picture of our refrigerator, but I won’t. Tara’s using our computer anyway and I’m just taking a moment on a base computer. I will simply tell you that if you opened its door right now you’d find a carton of eggs, some milk, some jelly, a turkey patty, butter, cheese, catsup and squeezy salad cream (the English equivalent of Miracle Whip). I think there also might be two – yes, literally two – of those wafer thin slices of chicken luncheon meat. Additionally, we have peanut butter, bread, cereal, and some crackers. As a result, we can eat cereal for breakfast, peanut butter and jelly for lunch, and eggs and toast for dinner; that is, if we can’t get to the grocery before dinner time.
The second thing I realized is how much I rely on having extra. The just in case. The excess. I fill my life with stuff, even stuff that I will never, ever use. Tara and I have moved at least ten times. Every time we will find those cans of food in the pantry that we bought but never used. When we have been in a home for a long period of time we even find that food item that “expired” more than a year before. The same can be said of medicines and other articles in the home. How many times have I looked at those shirts down at the end of my closet that I never wear but that I keep just in case. We’ve also found that we will have knick knacks throughout our home simply to occupy space, space we have because in our culture having a big house is valued, and we must fill the space with more and more stuff.
As God spoke to me ever so gently about my heart, the reality struck me that rather than telling people I trust in God there are too often times when honesty would have me say I trust in the can of pintos at the back of my pantry.
So, I realized, just tonight, that I was letting myself worry about our present food situation simply because we had enough. We had enough for the next day, and we will be able to get more for days after that. There really was nothing to worry about, but I wanted more. I wanted to have extra. I was letting Mammon (a word that includes the connotation of “MORE” or “never enough”) get to me. And I was doing that even though Tara and I had discussed a few days ago how neat it would be if we could shop for just the right amounts of things, consuming all that we purchased as we go.
Most significantly, I was failing to trust Him. My Daddy. My God who has NEVER failed me. May that light bulb, the one of His light, never cease to shine above and all around me.