Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 NASB
Picture if you will, Williamsburg, Virginia in the late 1990’s. I was there for my second summer as a seasonal musician (French horn) at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. I loved that job. I was so excited to be paid to play. I thought the area was beautiful. I really liked all my co-workers. You could literally go get cotton candy during your paid breaks. Sweet gig!
Since the employment was seasonal, many of the entertainment employees would live in the same few apartment complexes that offered short term leases to us. For the second summer in a row, I had flown out and my bicycle was my only mode of transportation. My options were to walk, to bike or to mercilessly mooch rides from co-workers and friends.
This was all well and good until I needed to go to the grocery store. My bike wasn’t a great option and I hadn’t arranged a ride. Even a college kid at least needed cereal, milk and cokes. I was walking back to my apartment from Farm Fresh with my plastic bags of groceries digging into my arm. I’d switch the bags back and forth from side to side as if that helped. It was hot and my hair was plastered to my face. Not my best look. I was ready to be back in my apartment with my cold A/C.
A white Camry slows down next to me and the window rolls down. The driver was a good looking trumpet player that had recently subbed into my show but I didn’t know well. He asks me in a deep South accent, “Hey, those groceries look heavy. Need a ride?” I, with the plastic bags digging into my hands, the red face and sweat plastered hair force a smile. “No, I’m fine. Thanks, though. I do this all the time.”
I get closer to the apartment complex. He stops to offer help again. He does not look hot and agitated like me. His car looks comfortable and cool. Did I mention he was good looking and well mannered? It is getting a little harder to sell the idea that I am fine but I refuse his help twice and struggle up to my apartment on the third floor with my groceries.
I want to yell at my 21 year old self to get in that car! Especially since the driver is now my husband and he still ribs me about my grocery trip. However, I’m no less stubborn when it comes to receving God’s love and help.
God has given me His word full of beautiful promises and I seek comfort in food. I can talk to the God of the universe at any time about my stresses yet I hope that zoning out in front of the TV will help. The plastic bags of my burdens dig into my soul and still I refuse to “cast my cares upon Him.” The Great I Am invites me to spend time in His presence and I try to squeeze in one more chore instead.
I spent time in the word one evening this week with the stress busting scriptures. It was really a joy to dig into the Bible like that. I’m very grateful for that assignment. It was so much more rejuvenating than the usual stress relievers that everyone recommends like a cup of tea or pedicure (not that there is anything wrong with that!). It brought to mind a hymn from childhood.
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.
P.S. There is a recipe that I didn’t know about until I met my husband. If you are Southern, it won’t be a revelation but it was new to me. Speaking of college friendly recipes, cheesetoast! Put a slice of your favorite cheese or grated cheese on a piece of bread. Grind some pepper on top if you want. Broil until bubbly. Watch it because it goes from delicious to burnt in about two seconds. Great for breakfast or any time.