Last night’s family excursion to a nearby Super Duper Bigley Mart was interesting. The store wasn’t overly busy – certainly not packed. The mood was calm – not so much peaceful as subdued. There were no shoppers brawling over the last jar of creamy Jif.
However, at 8:30 on a Saturday night, there wasn’t much on the shelves to fight over. The bread selection was sparse. The flour was gone, except for the oddball varieties like quinoa flour that cost $7.00 per 8 ounce package. Hamburger, hot dogs (except for a few packs of Nathan’s), cheese… gone. Frozen vegetables? Fogetaboutit.
Canned veggies didn’t fair much better. Although the couple in front of us at the checkout managed to load up a cart full of canned pinto beans and collard greens. I’m thinking new furnace filters may be in order there as well.
We talked with the cashier as she rang up our groceries. “It was a lot busier earlier today”, she told us. “It was crazy. But people were pretty nice. Nobody got worked up or anything.” I began to feel a little better about humanity and all the hoarding we’ve heard about.
“Well, I guess there were a couple of fist fights out in the parking lot earlier.”
So much for feeling better.
Here in America, we were okay for the most part with just hoarding paper goods, respirator masks and water. But then we received the unbelievable news.
Tom Hanks tested positive for coronavirus.
If America’s favorite human being can get COVID-19 then, surely, we are all vulnerable. Our reaction? We did the only reasonable thing we could as a society.
We bought up all the frozen vegetables, boxed pasta and flour we could find.
We cleared the stores of peanut butter faster than store employees could say “but we have plenty of crunchy in the stock room”.
Like a plague of locust, we descended upon the canned good aisles of our markets, leaving the shelves bare of all but the off-brand canned pinto beans and collard greens.
Ok. Lest I go too far out in the weeds, let me stop and reel this in a bit. COVID-19 is serious. Limiting exposure to large crowds etc. is the wise, prudent thing to do. Stocking up to be prepared is also smart.
My 13 year-old son unwittingly put this whole thing in perspective for me as we stood in line to check out. “Dad, is this just like the Great Depression?” (Oh, where are my grandparents when I need them?)
“No, son”, I explained. “This is nothing like the Great Depression. There is plenty of food in this store. Nobody should worry about going hungry over this. This is more like the Great Inconvenience. You may have to wait a while to get exactly what you want to eat, but there is plenty to eat. In the Great Depression, people went hungry because they couldn’t afford to eat.”
Again, I am not making light of what is, in it’s face, a frightening unknown. The Corona Virus Pandemic will – indeed already is – change how we do things. The impact on lives will be great and permanent. There’s the health impact, economic impact… how we go about our daily lives and leisure time will be forever changed in some ways.
But there is one constant: God will not change. “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed” (Malachi 3:6, ESV). And, despite the maelstrom that swirls around us, God is still in control.
What we all need to do as followers of Christ is remain faithful. Trust fully in God. Rest in Him. Prepare? Absolutely. Be wise? Always. But be ready to help a neighbor in need. Be ready to follow the lead of the Lord. Pray. Pray.
Pray for those who contract this virus.
Pray for those whose jobs put them at risk of coming into contact with COVID-19 (medical workers, rescuers, police, airport employees, etc.)
Pray for those who face difficulties through this pandemic (quarantine, loss of income, etc.)
Pray for our leaders, for wisdom and guidance.
Pray for one another.
And, friends, it’s ok to keep a sense of humor about things. Being cheerful in faith will do those around you far more good than being dour, sour and fearful. Be glad in the Lord! Stand fearless in faith! Remember all the Lord has done for you! And show the world your unshakable faith – be salt and light!
In other words… keep doing all the things we as Christ followers should be doing anyway.
And, to the lady at the store last night pushing the cart weighed-down with bottles of Diet Coke: what are you thinking? There’s still plenty of Coke Zero on the shelves.
(c) 2020 by Chris Courtney. All rights reserved.
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