This moment looks different for everyone. The moment that the pandemic goes from a situation I hear about on the news to an intruder that tears its way abruptly into my day. The moment COVID-19 gets personal.
The duck, duck, goose moment. Ducked this hit, ducked that hit, coping, coping, GOOSE!
For stronger souls, its might be something bigger that finally gets to them, but for me, it was the eggs.
I’ve been rationing eggs. I was prepared for it if there were no eggs. I got to the store and found a shelf full of eggs!
Round-trip to Walmart is an hour of driving for me. Today I had made the trip for flour, only to find that all the stores were out of flour. The milk and pizza aisles had signs legislating the max quantity per customer. But at least there were eggs again! I put two cartons in my basket and happily went on my way, relieved that I wouldn’t run out by Sunday and have to drive to town again.
I had already started the self check-out process at the register when a Walmart employee walked up to my cart and said matter-of-factly, “You have too many eggs. Each customer can only have one carton.” My heart sank as she reached into my cart and took away my 5 extra days of no grocery shopping.
The lady checking out across from me piped up, “Oooh! Could I have those?”
I should have just been happy that someone who needed eggs was able to get the carton I wasn’t allowed to have. But, on the inside, I was just seething that I wasn’t allowed to have it.
I hadn’t seen a sign. The shelves looked fine. I wasn’t taking a ridiculous amount. But I was shamed by the Robin Hood Walmart lady who took my eggs, and I was furious for the rest of the day.
A Gap in my Understanding
So I went to the other grocery store in town and bought a second carton of eggs in defiance (ugly moment, I know). I drove home stewing. I complained to Cody. I complained to everyone. Then I complained to the Lord and he brought to mind two things:
It is fine for situations to be less than smooth, especially right now.
It is okay for me to come up against these situations not perfectly prepared. It’s all right to be distressed by an employee taking my groceries from me (even if I should be happy they went to someone that needed them). I’m allowed to struggle as the opportunities to be around other people disappear and to wrestle with how to be thankful when I feel trapped.
It’s new. It’s hard. It’s an adjustment. And it’s the unsurprising evidence that I’m human and I need the Lord just as desperately as ever.
2. There’s a gap in my understanding.
Colossians 2:9-10 says, “For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ…”
I’m familiar with the verse. I have it memorized. But I don’t know how to use it. I need being ‘complete in Christ’ to make a difference at the real-life level of feeling sad and lonely because I can’t see my friends, feeling robbed and accused when the Walmart lady takes my eggs, feeling dread when I look ahead to a month with just my family and see how much I prefer the option of socializing over the calling to love the people I live with day in and day out.
Why isn’t this working?
Because I am complete in Christ, I am not supposed to treat the company of other people hungrily. I’m supposed to be able to face a month-long world pandemic quarantine and not be insecure and needy.
I’m supposed to be calm, collected and confident that the Savior in whom I am complete will faithfully meet my needs, even my needs for eggs and interaction. So why isn’t it working?
I think that feeling angry or anxious or lonely or just tired of it all doesn’t mean it’s not working.
Being complete in Christ means I am able to experience all of that and still allow His peace to rule. Being complete in Christ means I can take the disillusionment and frustration and angst and make it yield to the truth:
How do I face the next month of this?
“Christ is all that matters. And He lives in all of us…you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults…Above all, clothe yourselves with love…”
This is what Christ’s life looks like, and in the midst of broken systems and plans that are coming apart at the seams, it still works. It’s not falling apart. It’s not out of stock. It’s not cancelled.
It walks us through the how of each next moment.
And Christ’s answer to how do I face the next month of this? is this:
In love. In my strength. Ruled by my peace.
Just wrap yourself up tight in this beautiful truth: You are complete in me. I complete every single area where you fall short. I am more than enough for you.
And that means you can face this.
Just come to me in every moment
And I will supply all that you lack to walk through the next moment in love.
“But He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me. So I am well pleased with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, and with difficulties, for the sake of Christ…