I remember it as if it happened yesterday. As a young man nearing fourteen, my mother, my sister and I had moved into a small house in town.
We had recently been ordered out of our large family home. My father had abandoned us and was tangibly taking as much as he could with him as he left.
On that evening, as we sat down to a dinner of vegetable soup, there came a knock at the door. My mother got up from the table and went to the door as my sister and I continued eating. When my mother returned to the table, she sat down and began to weep. In a mix of confusion and curiosity, I inquired of my mother what was bothering her. She went on to share that on that day she had stopped at the grocery and purchased needed supplies to make soup for dinner, and after doing so, she had only five dollars, FIVE DOLLARS left until payday - a week later. She said just began to pray as she left the grocery, and reminded God that she wanted to be faithful, but felt a moment of despair upon her. - Again, my father had left us totally without, and she, my mother was now working as a bank teller to provide for our new life. (I would later learn that my mother kept food on the table and a roof over our head for two years on a salary of $125 a week.)
My mother went on to explain that the knock at the door was a friend from our old neighborhood who had recalled a time when she was in need, and my mother, who back then had resources, had loaned this friend money to get through her hard time. Now, the friend had come on this very night to repay my mother. . .and we survived until my mother's next paycheck because God IS provision, even when we can't always see, know or understand it. (I Kings 17 - the flour and the oil didn't run out, and there was more bread on the table.)
You've heard me say it on numerous occasions, we live life in seasons. . . WOW! This season in which COVID-19 has invaded the world descended upon us rapidly, and quite deadly. As I began to see a nation in panic, even watching “believers” act and react no differently than the unredeemed, then day by day observing the chaos of the world increasing, this story from my childhood experiences came to mind.
YES! Corona is a real virus, but so many have behaved as if they live in a third-world country, scrapping and clawing over food and supplies as if there was a drop-shipment into their region only once a month and there would not be enough to go around until the next shipment landed. THIS IS AMERICA, PEOPLE! Not only are we the most resilient people on the planet, but we are the most advanced nation, in so many ways. We are blessed with far more resources than most around the planet. We all need to stop and breathe, pray and believe – then move with respect, responsibility, and purpose in all that we do.
I could not imagine what my mother felt like, abandoned by her husband of twenty-five years, left with two children at home and one in college, and for the first time being called upon to be the sole breadwinner. So many parts of her world came crashing in at once, but had you known my mother, you would have never known it, neither by her spirit nor by her actions. In a season which totally disrupted not only her life but the lives of her children, my mother dug deeply into the vast well of her faith in God, something which was evident to all, and drank deeply from His provision and sustenance. – CAN YOU IMAGINE!? What was it like to awaken to the reality that you were now weighted with the responsibility of your children, on your own, and everything, including your home, was taken from you? Add to that, you’re faced with the reality that because your “career” had been to serve as a loving wife and mother, your resume would get you nothing more than a job paying $125 a week. . . That’ll stir your brain cells a while, now won’t it. . .
Oh no, friend! I’m not saying that we sit and pray and take no action, demanding of God that he bring provision to our doorstep, as He chose to for my mother on that night. What I am saying, is that if we look at the circumstances from this one life experience, which, thank God improved, you and I are probably not nearly as close to the need for panic as many are acting. IN EVERY WAY we need to heed the recommendations of the CDC and other government entities. With all that we are, we need to practice good stewardship and be wise people who move with purpose. However, we none can rope this intangible which has come to be known as the Coronavirus. It is not an enemy of darkness like troops invading our land, or warriors marching in our streets. This invisible darkness cannot be corralled, imprisoned, and then shipped out of the country on a tanker.
Nonetheless, it has come. Just as these circumstances were thrust upon my mother, my siblings and me, this season has been thrust upon us. However, the one choice we have is to be the people of faith we claim to be and LIVE by faith. Yes, doing practical and sensible things that the physical realm of our existence calls us to do are absolutely necessary; but just as with my mother, realizing she had done all that she could, with only FIVE DOLLARS standing between her and despair, she believed, she prayed, and she TRUSTED God. Friends, the God-stories are almost endless in my life. He has been standing in the gap, granting me life and opportunity in most unique and miraculous ways since I was ten-hours old, in spite of what He knows about me. That makes me no one, but it does give me cause to testify, and may I say, at this juncture in history you and I need to BE and BOLDLY SPEAK of the wondrous works of Jesus – our salvation and God’s provision in various circumstances. This world needs to SEE the testimony of your God-life lived out!!!
I can’t wait until I can shake hands with some of you and have lunch with many of you again. I miss meeting with my church family each week, even though I stay in touch with all of our members by phone or text. Nonetheless, we are in a season which, in the flesh, tempts to call us to feel as if we are down to, as my grandmother used to say ‘the last pone of bread.’ The truth of this biblical encounter of faith found in I Kings, referenced at the start of this article, is evidence that we can stand and survive! We didn’t ask for Corona and we can’t control it, but we can do all that we can do to show folks how to live beyond it AND live forever.
Godspeed in this Challenging Season,
Brother Royce I Cor. 9:16