The Corona virus – a danger to your health, and a risk to your wealth, but as Christians, should we fear it? Should we be worried about it? I am not sure whether fear or worry is the right word, but my answer is generally yes and yes and here’s why: it will reveal your heart.
Whether you like it or not, the Coronavirus will not reveal your strengths, but will almost certainly expose your weaknesses. It will test you and challenge you and if you are willing to listen, show you where you have put your hope. Here are three common reactions to what is going on at the moment, in the context of toilet paper of all things, but hopefully you will see how it can apply to almost any area of our lives.
Fear or panic
Corona virus is coming. We only have a week of toilet paper left. I’m scared we might run out. What should we do? How will we survive without it? Everybody else seems to have enough. I just saw a picture of an empty shelf at the supermarket. I had better drop everything and rush to the supermarket.
Greed or Hoarding
Thank God I got here early. There are still four packets of toilet paper left. I had better buy all four, just in case. Perhaps if there really is a shortage I could start selling them one roll at a time. I might make a tidy profit.
Judgement or Sneering
Look at all those stupid people who think that toilet paper is running out. I trust in God and I know he will always provide. I pray three times a day, give us today our daily toilet paper. Thank you, God, that I am not like other people— hoarders, sinners, and degenerates.
A theology of toilet paper
A couple of months ago I could not have imagined I would have been discussing the theology of toilet paper, but you are reading this on a website called ‘Christian Funny Pictures”. And as you can see, even toilet paper (or the lack of it) can reveal our heart. If I were to take a guess, it is the last category that most Christians fit into. We laugh and scoff and mock and sneer at the real, if not irrational, concerns of those around us, (although perhaps some of us also suffer from the first two but live in such fear of the third that we can never talk about it).
Which leads me to this fantastic analogy I read a few years ago. It had such a big impact on me that I have never forgotten it:
You are holding a cup of coffee and someone comes along and bumps into you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere Why did you spill the coffee? “Well, because someone shook me, of course!” While that would be the initial response for most of us, it’s the wrong answer.
You spilled the coffee because coffee was in the cup. If tea had been in it, you would have spilled tea. Whatever was inside the cup is what will come out.
Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you (which will happen whether through Coronavirus, or toilet paper shortages) whatever is inside of your heart will come out. It’s easy to fake it until you get rattled. So we have to ask ourselves, “What’s in my cup?” When life gets tough, what spills over? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness? Or fear, panic, greed, and judgment.
And let’s be clear, we will definitely get shaken.
So remember to examine your heart and perhaps reflect on Proverbs 4:23:
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
I always remember a comment my seven year old said when I was discussing this verse with her, and she asked, “Dad, are we guarding our heart to keep the bad things from coming in or to keep the bad things from going out?”
No matter what is spilling out of your heart at the moment, or how much toilet paper you have hoarded to wipe it up with, it might be worth taking a moment and asking yourself, ‘What’s in my cup today?’.