A Sanctifying COVID-19 Experience
By Kelsey Baker, Guest Blogger
If you could summarize your COVID-19 pandemic experience in just a few words, what would they be? Maybe boring? Restful? Possibly scary or stressful?
Although at times each of those adjectives could describe my experience, overall, I would define my time as immensely sanctifying!
Fear and Anxiety
I am prone to fear and anxiety—I always have been. And the recent combination of a worldwide pandemic, isolation and loneliness, and an unknown future has caused much trouble in my heart.
Sadly, during times of fear, all thoughts of anyone other than myself tend to exit the stage—an attribute in desperate need of Christ’s continued work.
A Shocking Encounter
A few weeks ago, when I was in the thick of fear and self-centeredness, I went to Walmart to get groceries. As I was walking up to the store, an elderly man approached me and asked if he could have a minute of my time.
He was wearing a mask and allowing appropriate distance between us, so I hesitantly agreed. He let me know that the Lord had put it on his heart to help others less fortunate than himself during this time and asked if I would be willing to help him.
His proposition was simple—buy a few extra groceries and cook a meal for a family in need.
I agreed (although, to be honest, I felt a little put out!). He smiled, thanked me, pulled out his wallet and handed me a 50 dollar bill!
I was absolutely shocked at his generosity and tried to give the money back, but he insisted, repeating that the Lord had recently blessed him beyond his personal need. (I’m guessing this was his government issued stimulus check.)
He said he was convicted to use the money to help others. Tearfully, I accepted the kind man’s money and promised him that I would find a family to serve.
Sanctifying Change of Heart
I spent the whole Walmart trip holding back tears. Here I am, a so-called servant of God – young, healthy, blessed financially. (My husband and I, by God’s grace, have both been allowed to keep our jobs.)
Yet all I can think about during this crazy time is myself. And this man, more prone to illness and likely living on a fixed income, decided to think of the less fortunate.
I didn’t buy groceries with the money right away but instead began earnestly praying that the Lord would bring me a family to help.
The Perfect Family
I found a ministry at Southwestern Seminary, where I work, that functions by anonymously matching applications of families in need with families desiring to help.
I applied and within a few days was paired with an international family where both the husband and wife had lost their jobs. All they asked for on their application was bread, juice, and a couple of other small grocery items.
But the woman who paired us together let me know that they needed much more than that.
The Lord’s Bounty
Prayerfully, I went to the store and bought this hurting family groceries—juice, bread, and many other items like dry goods, fresh and frozen fruits and veggies, and chicken.
I baked them some banana bread and wrote them a letter. Inside, I explained the story of the elderly man at Walmart and His kind heart. I wrote how the Lord had them in mind when the man became convicted to give from his abundance.
The Lord had them in mind when He had me, an employee of the seminary, accept the money and the man’s vision to help. Inside the card I tucked the man’s $50 gift.
Praise Where It Belongs
Although I don’t know the family and they don’t know me, the woman who paired us together reported that when they received their groceries and banana bread and when they read the card about the man at Walmart and his willingness to give, they fell on their knees and cried and praised the Lord together for His sovereign care for them.
The Lord is SO good. His plans and purposes never cease to amaze me!
- First, the Lord did a work in that man, allowing him to loosen his grip on his finances and convicting him to give to others in need.
- Next, the Lord used the man’s kindness and example to convict me of my own fears and selfishness.
- He then used the money and the groceries to bless a family in need, bringing them to their knees in praise to the Lord for His great care.
No matter how many times I play this scene over in my head, I am amazed all the more at God’s greatness. God is so very good.
God’s Word states, “. . . truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me” (Matt. 25:40)
Therefore, I may boldly say, “regardless of the circumstances my heavenly Father will provide the stamina and resources to practice compassionate hospitality.”
Will you allow the Lord to use your time during this pandemic to sanctify you as well?
Kelsey Baker is a two-time graduate of Family and Consumer Science programs, wife of Jacob, and mother of Caleb (due in November 2020). She is passionate about the Lord, His purposes for the home, and cooking nutritious and tasty meals.