We knew something must be wrong, there was no toilet paper to be found in the store.  There was also no water to be found.  The connection between the two eluded me.  In previous years when a snow storm was forecast, the staples were bought: bread, milk and eggs.  For a hurricane, candles and water.  But for a virus:  water and toilet paper?  I looked up this odd combination and Steven Taylor, author of “The Psychology of Pandemics, said “People, being social creatures, we look to each other for cues for what is safe and what is dangerous.  All those photos of empty shelves may lead people to believe that they must rush out and grab toilet paper while they still can.”  It doesn’t have to necessarily be logical because it is emotion and probably fear-based.

In Luke 22-24 and in the corresponding accounts in the other Gospels, there is a huge stockpile of emotions and fear-based behaviors.  The chief priests and scribes are described as afraid, mocking, scornful, and murderous.  Those closest to Jesus, the disciples, are portrayed as behaving oblivious to what Jesus told them was going to happen.  The men argued about who was going to betray Jesus, they fought with each other over who was going to gain the most fame, and they were so emotionally spent by everything that had occurred that they fell asleep, even while Jesus is literally sweating bullets while praying near them.  Most of the disciples turned and ran, terrified when Jesus is arrested. 

Belligerent Peter, the most outspoken of the disciples, vehemently denied Jesus’ prophecy that Peter would deny Him.  Peter, also probably the angriest of the disciples, took a sword and loped off the ear of one of Jesus’ captors.  Within hours, Peter found himself cursing and denying he ever even knew Jesus.  Needless to say, we read that Peter ran out weeping bitterly when he heard the rooster crow and realized the enormity of his sin.  What a mountain of confusion and despair!  It fit in with the twisted and torn emotions found in these chapters.  The resulting behaviors are so human.  So crippled.  So fallen.

In contrast, we see Jesus “earnestly desiring” to share His last meal with His disciples.  This is a meal He surprisingly gave thanks for, even though He knew that among the guests at the table one was a betrayer, another would soon heatedly deny even knowing Jesus, and that His beloved disciples would again partake, as the dishes were being cleaned up, in their usual infighting. 

Later that night, in the darkness in the Garden, we read that Jesus not only groaned in prayer over the horrific events and separation from the Father that He Himself was approaching, but He also labored in prayer for the faith of Simon Peter that it would be turned around.  He prayed that the disciples would not give in to the temptation they would encounter within the next few hours.  Jesus spent his ministry always caring deeply for these flawed followers and He was not going to stop, no matter the horrors that were coming.

I find it fascinating, the identity of the initial two people who at the cross, realized the true identity of Jesus.  They weren’t disciples, they weren’t Jews, they weren’t even respectable people.  One was a thief who was also being executed next to Jesus and the other was a Roman centurion obeying orders to assist in the execution of Jesus.  This is a very odd combination of who God chose to be the “first string” believers, right before the resurrection, who believed the Truth of Who Jesus was.  The thief decided to put his mind and emotion in trusting Jesus as His Savior.  The centurion disregarded everything he had been taught as a Roman soldier regarding worshiping his Emperor and made the decision to proclaim that Jesus was the Son of God.  Emotion and logic would certainly argue that a Jewish criminal being neutralized on a cross could not in fact be God.  Even though the emotions of the crowd in front of the cross ranged from screams of hatred, curses, and snarls of mockery, these two broken men knelt with all their mind and emotions to recognizing the truth.  They decided to trust in the truth of God.

So in these past few weeks of toilet paper shortages, panic filled headlines, and countless people doing everything to protect themselves from what they fear, how have you been handling the truth of God’s promises?  What emotions have you been experiencing?  Have you been afraid? Angry?  Anxious?  You are not alone if you have felt any of those things.  But the great thing about knowing the Savior is that we can hand all of these feelings over to the One Who has died and also risen from the grave.  None of the deepest darkest secrets in our hearts and minds surprise Him.  He just asks us to trust Him and to proclaim Him as Sovereign God over both the known and the unknown.  That’s what the two unlikeliest converts decided to do and Jesus never turned them away.

What have you lost during these last few weeks events?  What have you gained?  If you have found yourself shattered, have you wrapped up your brokenness in a box and laid it at the foot of the cross, trusting the Savior to handle all the details?  The Savior brought the convict to Paradise, the Centurion into the Kingdom, and Peter, the impulsive coward, became Peter, the Rock upon which Christ built His church.

1 John 3:2-3“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”  Philippians 1:6: “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

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2 Replies to “STOCKING UP ON FEAR”

  1. Jacqui, this is so beautifully penned! Your words are eloquent! Thank you for sharing your gift and opening your golden heart to those in need !

Delight in helping women to discover wholeness in their "New Normal".