Philippians 4:12-13 says, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Christ who gives me strength.”
One of Avett’s favorite stories right now is the old story of Scuffy the tugboat. If you’re unfamiliar with it, I’ll try to briefly explain without giving it all away. Scuffy is a toy tugboat who is completely unhappy with his life in the toy store. He think’s he’s way too important to sit on a shelf with other toys. So the toy store owner takes him home for his little boy. The little boy sails Scuffy in his bathtub, but Scuffy’s still unhappy. He’s way too important for that! So they sail him in a little brook, but the water is fast, and he gets away! He sails into bigger and bigger waters until he is almost lost in the ocean, when suddenly… who plucks him out of the water but the toy store owner and his little boy. Suddenly, Scuffy is very happy sailing in a bathtub. All that adventure is far too much.
Whoops… I think I just may have given it away.
I really don’t know why Avett likes it so much. Probably because it’s about a boat. But there’s a lesson in there for us too right now. Some of us have been waiting our whole lives for social distancing. We love it. It’s a chance to catch up on reading, family time, hobbies, and projects.
But some of us are having a tough time. Maybe you’ve seen some wild ideas on Facebook and you’re anxious, or afraid. Maybe you’ve been laid off, and you don’t know where next month’s rent and groceries are coming from. Maybe you’re a social butterfly and you find yourself living your life within a charge cord’s length of an electrical outlet, dreaming of the day you can meet up with your friends again! Maybe you’re out of toilet paper.
Paul tells us in Philippians that whatever your situation, he’s been there too. He’s lived comfortably, and he’s lived under house arrest. In fact, Philippians, widely considered to be Paul’s most cheerful letter, was written in prison! He definitely knew about something that matters to us now. In a way, we’re in sort of prisons. We’re unable to do most of the things we’re used to, and it’s tough. But Paul’s secret is simple: No matter what your circumstance, you can make it through it all. Not because you’re strong enough. But because Jesus is strong enough.
In this time of isolation, quarantine, and social distancing, let Jesus be your close companion. Use this time to get to know Him. Pray like you’ve never prayed before, and rest in His power and love.
In this time of fear, uncertainty, and unrest, let Jesus be your anchor. As the old song goes, “Look to the cross.” Maybe now is the time to start that daily thoughtful hour of contemplating Jesus’ sacrifice and what it means to you. Imagine if you start that now, the significance that Easter will take on for you in a few weeks.
In this time of helplessness, empty shelves, and empty pockets, let Jesus be your source. Trust Him to take care of you. And don’t forget about your church - Jesus’ hands here on earth. If you’re empty, trust in Him… and reach out.
And please watch out for ravens.
Stay safe, stay clean, and stay healthy.
We love you and pray for you all,