Three years ago I counted every shilling. I remember standing in my kitchen trying to decide if I should scramble eggs or boil them to make them last longer and go further. In the evening, my husband would sit down and drink three cups of coffee and I would silently stew with anger thinking in my mind, “We need to ration this before we run out. We can’t afford to drink coffee that quickly.” I vividly remember one morning I poured day-old coffee with milk down the drain and wanted to cry knowing I had wasted both milk and coffee.
I wish I could say I navigated these days with unwavering faith and full trust in God, but that’s not how my story goes. Those early days in our marriage were full of tension as my new life in Uganda as newlyweds weren’t exactly how I imagined it. We just had a wedding, I didn’t have a job yet and every profit my husband made needed to go back into building his business. If it didn’t, we wouldn’t be where we are today.
Going through a season of limited money generated a scarcity mindset in myself which is the antithesis of everything God stands for. It’s a toxic mindset that began to infect my spiritual life and distorted how I viewed God. I’ve learned, through a long, hard process, that God is our ultimate provider. It takes a daily, minute-by-minute reprogramming of my mind reminding me that my God is one of abundance, a promise keeper and a ‘more than enough’ God.
I’m seeing people in the US, stocking up on toilet paper and other items and I ask myself, “Why are people stockpiling products and not thinking about the welfare of others?”
It’s clear. It’s fear.
Panic makes us forget God’s promises.
We fear that we are going to run out or not have enough when we need it, so we hoard things.
God is putting our trust to the test.
How is this season going to shape how we see God when we get to the other side? There are many stories in the Bible that convict me, and if I’m being honest, make me feel like I’m falling short in the faith department.
One of those stories is about a prophet who visits a widow and asks for some water, which she willingly obliged. But when he asks for a piece of bread things take a turn. This widow only had a small amount of bread that she planned to give to her son and herself and then die in the drought.
“As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.” Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first, make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’” She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.1 Kings 17:11-16 (NIV)
I’m not a mother yet, but I cannot fathom the kind of faith it would take to put a stranger’s well being above my own child’s. Her bold faith put the life of her family on the line, believing what Elijah promised would be fulfilled. This story, like many in the Bible, reminds me that God is faithful, trustworthy and a promise keeper. He fed over 5,000 with some fish and a few loaves of bread, he replenished wine that was running out at a wedding, and he gave the Israelites enough manna for each day. He is a God of abundance and a provider of what we need.
PRAY: Do you want to begin dismantling the lies of scarcity in your mind? Start by praying from your heart or pray along with me, “Lord, forgive me for operating in a scarcity mindset and not depending on you as my provider and protector. Regenerate my mind every day until I have an accurate view of your character. Your word says those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing. I embrace that truth today.”
ACT: Often, the way to combat scarcity is to be extravagantly generous. I have found this has chipped away at the fear in my own heart about not ‘having enough.’ Find a way this week to fight scarcity mindset by giving to someone else by leaving toilet paper on a neighbor’s porch or sacrificing in a way that doesn’t make complete sense – similar to the widow in the story. Remember, if God is calling you to do it, he will see you through it.
SHARE: How are you overcoming fears of scarcity or fear in general in the wake of COVID-19? I would love to hear your success stories in the comments below.
P.S. If you have too much toilet paper for your own good, make sure you read DIY: Flush Your Fears and put that TP to good use.