I love people, but sometimes they stress me out—particularly when there are a whole lot of them in a tiny room, and they’re all speaking Romanian really loudly. I know this because I got to experience it about three or four times a day for about a week in Moldova.
I was the self-proclaimed “Sock Momma.” In other words, I handed kids a pair of socks after their feet were sized and led them to an open chair to get their new boots fitted. When it got a little crazy, as it often does when 300 children and their adults are all stuffed in one room, all the adults would be almost literally on top of us. They all just wanted to make sure their kids got shoes. So, so they tried to push them to the front of the line to ensure that.
I caught myself being very confused by their doing this and thinking: “This is ridiculous. There are plenty of boots. There’s a whole truck full right outside. Why would they insist on pushing each other if we told them there were plenty of boots to go around?” Then it hit me—there’s a huge difference between knowing there is enough and actually believing there is enough.
I do the same thing. I never think I have enough time to have enough fun, enough spices in my kitchen to make tasty foods (we have five bottles of soy sauce for three people, and we don’t ever cook Asian foods), and I packed way too many pairs of socks for my week in Moldova. But on the less silly, way deeper side, I tend to worry that I might deplete my “Grace Bank” with God, and there won’t be any forgiveness left for me. I get super legalistic and start thinking if I’m not being a good enough Christian, or making myself lovable or forgivable enough, one day God will get fed up with me and take off.
So, I’m performing my Sock Momma duties in a room echoing with people yelling shoe sizes, frantic and sometimes angry Romanian, and Jeff, our group leader’s booming southern twang commanding: “Get back! You’ll all get boots! Back up!”
Then I realized I had handed out all the little-bitty toddler socks on my table already. I then looked up and saw the next five or six kids were all little-bitty toddlers. So, I dove headlong into my Sock Momma’s Santa Bag-o-Socks I kept behind the table and prayed for God to put some tiny socks in there. I felt a little dumb doing that, because I knew there weren’t any, but I just thought I should give it a shot. I’ve heard that Bible story of Jesus multiplying the bread and fish for over 5,000 people, so I figured if he can do that, he can make a few pairs of tiny socks, no problem. So, I dug through the bag, and when I found the first pair I was super excited! It’s like God actually does this kind of stuff! And as I kept digging and praying, I found 10 little pair of toddler socks. I was able to get these little kiddos socks they wouldn’t have to spend the next 10 years growing into.
There were way more than plenty of boots for our four teams to fit thousands and thousands of children in just two weeks.
Every time it got loud and crowded, I was reminded of how very real but also rather unreasonable it is to worry that God won’t have enough for you. That belief hurts a lot, but it’s so not true to who God is. I don’t know what it’s like to live in poverty like so many people I met in Moldova do. I understand so much of their lives are made up of there not being enough of so many things—not enough money or food or warmth or clean water. That is never to be disregarded, because that is very real, and that is not OK.
But just like I knew there were plenty of boots, and I saw that God can easily make enough socks, there will be enough of God and his love, grace and forgiveness to go around. I don’t have to hoard forgiveness like soy sauce in fear there won’t be enough, and I don’t have to punch myself to the front of the line in order to make sure God doesn’t run out blessings before he gets to me. God is big enough and has enough. He has “the cattle of a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10), and I don’t think I’ve ever even seen a thousand hills in my lifetime, or even a single hill full of cattle. So a thousand just boggles my mind.
Christ died so that there would be enough grace and forgiveness for us. He died and rose again so there would always be enough. It’s time to stop living in fear that God is going to run out of “I love you”s.
Shelby Byrd, a student at the University of North Texas, served in Moldova with Go Now Missions.