I know how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content.” Philippians 4:12a
I woke up to find my neighbor’s yard covered with gold. I am an early riser. Well, actually, I am a crazy, early riser. Normally, my bladder and I decide it is about time to get up at around 4:30…am. If you want to see what a quiet world looks like…try it at 4:30 in the morning. These days the sun isn’t even up yet. He won’t make his appearance for another couple of hours. I usually get up, make some coffee in my magic Keurig machine, watch the weather, and have some God time. Predictable…just the way I like it.
Part of that routine is to take a peek out one of the windows to see if the sun is peeking above the horizon. Naturally that means looking to the East. Saturday morning I did exactly that. As I looked out the window, I noticed that my neighbor’s yard was covered with gold. I couldn’t believe it. What made this even more unusual was the fact that my neighbor at the end of our alley had struck it rich too. This was incredible. And, if that wasn’t enough, when I was walking a few days earlier, one of my friend’s hit the jackpot. Gold was everywhere. Now you might think that I was jealous…but I wasn’t—not this time. You see, their yards had been “papered” as in with toilet paper. It wasn’t pretty.
Now you are wondering, “I’m just a bit confused.” You said their yards were covered with gold. That doesn’t sound like gold to me.” Well, you’ve got a point there. But let’s step back just a few months ago. COVID was all the rage. People were doing all kinds of strange things. When you went to the grocery store there were certain things, things that you would expect, out of stock. Hand sanitizer was a pipe dream. Bleach wipes were the things of legend. Certain food items were long gone from the shelves. It was a shoppers nightmare. But there was one thing that topped them all. Toilet paper.
For whatever reason, and it still remains a mystery, people began to hoard toilet paper. It was like gold. People were selling it on e-bay for unbelievable prices. There were even people on the side of the road hawking their rolls of gold for ten, even fifteen times the ordinary price. The nightly news would show people coming out of stores with rolls of the stuff. It. Was. Crazy. Then as people realized that this probably wasn’t Armageddon, two things happened. The rolled gold was back in stock and the price plummeted. People that had bought tons of this stuff as an investment of sorts were stuck holding the bag. Haha…the joke…or rolls…was on them.
Now here is what is amazing. I wake up only to discover my neighbor’s yard is covered in the very same thing that six months ago was gold. And listen, it wasn’t the cheap stuff. Since they weren’t home, Judy and I went over and picked up the mess…I know neighbor of the year right? But when we did, I realized this was “Charmin Plus” or something. If toilet paper was gold this would be 24 karat and yet there it was, lying out in the yard. Well, I guess all that glitters isn’t gold after all.
If there is one thing to take home from all of this it is the fact that if you look around you will discover pockets of hope—pockets of normalcy. Maybe, just maybe, all this will calm down and life will be somewhat like it was back in January. A few bumps, a few hiccups but basically a world where things are in stock and you don’t have to mask up to go out. But until then, what should we do?
That’s a great question and here are a couple of answers. First, don’t lose hope. If I watch too much of the evening bad news, I find myself being convinced that life as we know it is over. I just don’t believe that is the case. One day, one way or the other, Mr. COVID is going to pack up and leave town. One day it will be old news. Until then, just keep trusting…in God. One of the writers of Psalms in the Bible…someone just like you and me…wrote, “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.” What that means is if we are willing to delight in Him, suddenly the things we desire look a whole lot like His. And when that happens—hope explodes!
The second thing is learn, or maybe relearn, the magic of contentment. While our old way of doing life has taken a vacation somewhere, a chunk of it will be back. Just like toilet paper made a comeback—so will normalcy. Now, until that time, just sit back and be content. I like what Paul, a guy in the Bible, said, “I know how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content.” What makes that incredibly valuable is that he wrote that sitting in a stinking Roman prison. Amazing.
Well, all that glitters is indeed not gold, but all around us are golden nuggets from our Dearest Daddy. He whispers to us that He’s still around and still in control. Each sunrise and sunset, each new baby that bursts on the scene, each tree covered in color and glory shouts to us that we can rest in Him. Each new day is indeed a gift from Him and that is golden. Remember this…each day committed to trusting Him is a step in the right direction. Go ahead…trust Him…He’s got this.