A Lesson From the Peanut Butter Jar

by Karla Hein

I would be lying to deny that the health and economic crisis of the last few months hasn’t been weighing on my mind. My husband and I contemplated the uncertain future as we got ready for bed last night and pulled the covers up. My brow furrowed as I lay quiet, unable to shake the pressure I felt. But then I remembered a jar of peanut butter. The jar that taught me a lesson about the heavenly Father’s care.

When I was a teenager, a lunchtime sandwich of peanut butter and honey emptied our big jar of crunchy peanut butter. “We’ll have to wait until next month’s grocery money,” Mom said, checking her purse. My dad was a missionary pastor, and we always had everything we needed for our family of six-through careful budgeting and wonderful supporters. An empty jar of crunchy peanut butter is a trivial item, especially when we still had smooth peanut butter in the cupboard. It was such a minor incident, meant to be forgotten.

Shortly after, the director of our mission came for a visit. Prior to coming up to our town, he had stopped at a church in Edmonton. Their pastor had been burdened with supporting small town missionaries who might not have as many resources available to them. His church had a full pantry they stocked for distribution in their community. The pastor asked that the mission director fill up two grocery bags for each pastor on the visitation circuit.

Imagine my astonishment as I unpacked the bags delivered to us and pulled out a jar of brand-name crunchy peanut butter. An unknown individual had chosen to donate a jar that was packed in a bag that was placed in the back of the mission director’s car and then delivered to one of several homes on his route. The birds are fed, the flowers are clothed, and the teenager receives a jar of peanut butter. Was it a mere coincidence or the Father’s compassion?

The Scriptures state that God rains on the just and the unjust. He is kind and compassionate. He knows every hair on my head and, I might add, every item in my pantry. It’s hard to keep perspective of God who warned Moses to keep the people back from his holy mountain and also welcomes children to come unto him. Jesus, coming to live among us, is the full representation of the Father who is exalted far above the earth he created.

Karla Hein

That is what gives me confidence as challenges arise, worries overshadow, and discouragements set in. God is exalted, and God is here. One day I will be with him and no eye has seen, nor ear has heard what is in store for those who love him. This earthen vessel can’t handle the mystery of Christ, but one day I will see him and will be like him. Perhaps the peanut butter jumped into the bag of its own accord, but, to me, it symbolizes the undeserved kindness of the Father.

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