Elections and lunches? What do they have in common?
Yesterday was a sobering day in our country. Many of us woke up to news that shocked and dismayed us. Emotions swayed from disbelief to fear to sadness. My daughter asked me if we could move. She wasn’t kidding.
I did what I always do. I woke the kids up, made breakfast, packed their lunches, drove my son to the pool while it was still dark, and drove my daughter to school. Then, because it was Wednesday, I went to Bible study*.
It was the best possible place to be. The text we were studying was John 6:1-21. We studied the miraculous feeding of the 5000 and Jesus’ walking on water during a storm. We saw Jesus’ compassion for those who follow him, his provision for those in need, and his ability to calm the wind and waves if we can trust him through our fear. Perhaps more importantly, we talked about the storms in our own lives.
Friends, nothing will give you perspective faster than a group of women talking about the journeys of their lives. As I sat listening to stories of loss, grief, illness, betrayal, fractured relationships, and the challenges that come with family life, I could not help but feel blessed. I have had my share of struggles, and I am sure I will face more before my journey is done, but compared to the burdens some of my friends carry, I am blessed.
The other thing I heard yesterday as we shared was God’s amazing faithfulness in bringing these women through these challenging and sometimes horrific circumstances. Their faith in their Lord shines through, even as some of them still walk in the valley of the shadow of death. They put their trust and faith in the hands of the powerful creator. And those hands still hold the world, including this country. Nothing surprises him and nothing happens without his permission.
The story of the feeding of the 5000 is a familiar one. I teach it every year to my Sunday School class of preschoolers. This time, however, God chose to reveal a new insight. This time, I was struck by a character outside the narrative. There is someone in this story who we never see, hear, or even have a reference to. But I believe she exists nonetheless. The little boy who provided the five small barley loaves and the two small fish had a mother who packed his lunch for him.
Somewhere there was a woman who looked at her meager supplies and set aside what she could to give her boy. Someone’s hands crafted those small loaves, maybe prayed over them as she shaped and baked them. Who knows, maybe she included the first-century equivalent of a post-it note as she wrapped up the loaves and the fish. Somewhere there was a woman who loved her son and packed him a lunch.
Are you that woman? I know I am. Every day I pack two lunches from our sometimes meager resources. Some days I pray as I make the sandwiches. Occasionally I include a note. More often than not, I get complaints about what I pack, as I try to sneak in some nutrition. But every day, I pack lunches. It’s what a mom does.
Jesus used that boy’s small lunch, lovingly packed by his mother, to feed 5000+ people. There were twelve baskets of left-overs after everyone had eaten their fill. Out of one boy’s small lunch, God provided abundantly for his people. It’s what God does.
Which brings me back to the election. I think what we do is to keep on doing what we’ve been doing. We pack lunches, we care for our families, we try to make a difference in the lives of those around us. We look for small kindnesses and we do them. We bring our small lunch to Jesus, trusting that he can use what we bring to provide abundantly for his people.
We trust God to carry us through the storms of this life. When the seas get rough, and they will, whether it’s your own individual puddle or the ocean of an entire nation, we bring our lunch and we look to our Lord to provide.
Yesterday God provided me with perspective. It was what I needed to get me through the storm. Today, he will provide me with something else. I keep on trusting him. It’s what I do. Will you join me?
*I attend Bible Study Fellowship, an in-depth focused Bible study which appeals to my academic mind. If you would like more info, or want to join me, please ask!