(Originally posted March 2020)
What do Coronavirus chaos, the COVID-19 pandemic and shortages of toilet paper have in common? They are all opportunities to recognize God’s incredible provision in the midst of an earthly pandemic. Why people hoard toilet paper in a pandemic that affects lungs and not gastrointestinal tracts, I do not understand. I do know the God who provides what I need, and I trust Him to figure out my wants versus my needs.
As I have previously written, my prayers for my young adult daughter have been chastened and adjusted by the sovereign God I serve. As my daughter’s heavenly Father, God can be trusted to guide her better than anyone, even her mother. My job is to obey God, and I am privileged to watch His miracles in her life. She recently received a great job offer, sold her furniture, and downsized possessions in her previous city in preparation for a long-distance move.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13
After my daughter came home to live with us, she further downsized, expecting yet another big move. We enjoyed unpacking, grouping items together, and downsizing. She labeled, sorted, and taped boxes, while I repacked boxes, stealthily adding encouraging notes. I wrapped fragile items and tucked household goods into boxes. Several boxes had large spaces to fill, but I tried not to mix up the categories. Having used up her few linens and blankets, I considered how to fill the boxes with lightweight packing material.
Plastic bags? I did not have enough for the big spaces. Newspaper? I didn’t want newsprint on her dishes. What about toilet paper and paper towels?! I sheepishly explained my packing and padding methods. “I used toilet paper and paper towels to pad your breakables and fill the boxes. It seems strange, but saves you money because you have to buy that stuff anyway.” In case she ended up living in a furnished room, she would need to send boxes home with us. So all of her essentials were labeled—and packed tightly with paper products. I had no idea that was part of God’s guidance.
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
Our family drove 1300+ miles from Minnesota before the coronavirus changed everything. My daughter kept her initial appointment in the human resources department, but they warned that her job orientation might occur online. At that time, although Italy implemented quarantines, the U.S. quarantined only cruise ships off the coast.
My daughter’s apartment-hunting went well, but then COVID-19 infection rates began rising. Suddenly, people did not want to show their potential rentals. After several long days, my daughter found a one-bedroom apartment. We waited in the leasing office for the apartment cleaning and then unloaded her boxes late in the day. The clean carpets had not dried, so we spent one last night together before she moved into her new place and we drove home. There was no opportunity to buy furniture or supplies; no one was responding to Craigslist ads. She had a mattress, disassembled shelf, lamp, and her boxes in the empty apartment.
When my daughter started her job six days later, that southern metropolis—along with the rest of the country—had been impacted by COVID-19. Social distancing, working from home in non-essential jobs, and restaurant closures were now coronavirus-mandated precautions. The day after she leased her apartment, the 300+ unit complex closed to potential renters. She purchased electronics necessary for working from home; that store closed the next day. God’s timing placed my daughter just one day ahead of all the closures. Although toilet paper could not be found on the empty grocery shelves, she had what she needed to work from home.
Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. Isaiah 65:24
We could not have known or predicted any of this when my daughter first accepted her job. Like many other people, our lives changed irrevocably by the surprise of COVID-19. We remain grateful to a sovereign God who answered prayer, provided my daughter with a job, and met her needs in a timely manner through the coronavirus chaos. We believe that God miraculously provided for my daughter—including those four rolls of toilet paper packed into her boxes.