This year I made two sensational purchases.
On the 19th of January I ordered a new laptop. For a number of years I had just been using the old and super slow laptop that the public school system gave to every teacher back when there was the ‘Digital Education Revolution’ rollout.
I decided it was time to buy a new one. This new laptop had a range of different capabilities that the DER one did not. I could take photos, film and edit video and use an inbuilt camera, just to name a few things.
Less than two weeks later, I was conducting lessons by zoom for my Year 12 Chinese students who had recently returned to Australia but were in mandatory isolation.
That was a one-time, non-repeatable event in which I was ahead of the curve in absolutely anything even slightly related to technology. It was more to do with the demographic of my students than anything else.
I couldn’t tell you the exact date (but it would be late February or early March) when I went to the supermarket and saw a 36 pack of 3-ply toilet paper on sale. It was an excellent price.
Despite the fact that I’ve never bought a 36 pack of toilet paper before or since (I live by myself) and I still had a significant number of rolls available in other packs at home at the time, I bought it, thinking nothing of it.
Only a handful of days later (if that) the toilet paper maniacs began their panic buying.
I rode out that storm! Well and truly.
In recent days a report has come out from the University of New South Wales, saying that Australia’s panic buying in March-April this year was the worst panic buying seen around the entire globe! Whilst there was panic buying in a number of places, no one did it like the Aussies.
Note: I don’t know how they did the calculations on this one.
Yet, it’s clear that Aussies are a fearful lot. The other day on a walk around the Parramatta River I saw a sticker on a pole. It had a map of Australia and inside the map it said ‘Fear Everything’.
Sometimes Christians can be irritating when they act like there’s nothing to fear. For example, when they say God’s got everything under control and so I don’t need to worry about Covid. I did hear of a mega Church pastor saying something to that effect, earlier in the year.
Covid is real. It’s a pandemic. God gave us brains to use to make wise decisions.
Also, this world is not always a good and safe place. Let’s not kid ourselves.
And yet… I don’t think it’s just a fascinating coincidence that I bought my new laptop when I did, or purchased that wonderful 36 pack a few days before the shelves went empty.
I believe I was prompted by God. I don’t know the future, but he does.
I had plenty of years when I could have bought a new laptop and I didn’t.
I also have absolutely no reason why I bought that 36 pack of toilet paper. I’ve ignored other specials. Absolutely no reason, unless God is guiding decisions that I make, even at times when I don’t realise it.
Christians believe that God’s spirit lives in us, which probably sounds like a weird supernatural thing (and maybe it is). But if it does, then it makes perfect sense that his people can be prompted to do things without even realising the benefit of them, at the time.
In the carol, Away in a Manger we sing towards the end:
Be near me Lord Jesus, I ask you to stay, close by me forever, and love me I pray.
If we do truly ask that of Jesus, he will come close by us. In fact, His spirit will even be within us. It doesn’t always mean we’ll make amazing purchases when shopping though.
Don’t get me started on the stuff I can’t return to Woolworths because they’ve change their returns policy thanks to the toilet paper maniacs. I was going to bake for my Church’s Holiday Club this week. It got cancelled as a result of the outbreak. Now I’ve got lots I’d love to return to the baking aisle…
However, it does mean Jesus’ spirit will be with us and will give us love and guidance if we are open to accepting it.
Yours in singing Away in A Manger,