Panic Over Toilet Paper – Karen Castleberry

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused some strange behavior. At first I couldn’t grasp the magnitude of what was coming and how our world changed seemingly overnight. On March 12, 2020, Georgia’s 83rd governor, Brian Kemp, made a request of all schools in Georgia to suspend all activities in an effort to stop the spreading of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. New words and phrases like social distancing came into existence, and schools like the one where I work ventured into distance learning. Teachers, students, and employees had to learn new technologies and techniques for practicing social distancing by working from home.

Stocking up on necessities like food and cleaning supplies to stay at home became the initial focus. For the first time in my generation we needed to take an inventory of our food supplies and other staples. We are a society used to disposable everything and being able to run to the store any time of the day or night to replenish our supplies. In the area of north Georgia where I live, when the weather man says a snow storm is coming it usually means icy roads, so everyone goes to the store and stocks up on milk and bread. It never occurred to me that when I went to the store during this pandemic, the shelves would be empty of toilet paper!

Christian magazine
Photo by Karen Castleberry

That’s right, toilet paper. We were down to our last roll. I started researching creative ways to replace it , like cowboy toilet paper, a fuzzy absorbent plant that the cowboys use in the West. I haven’t seen this plant grow in the wild in my geographical area. Nor did I have time to wait for it to grow. What in the world was causing people to fight over and hoard toilet paper? Several articles offered theories, and one stood out. If a store has run out of a particular favorite food, you can substitute another food for it. There is not a readily available substitute for toilet paper.

pandemic devotional
Photo by Karen Castleberry

But the bottom line is a lack of trust in God providing for us. In Matthew 6:25-26, Jesus says, “’This is why I tell you to never be worried about your life, for all that you need will be provided, such as food, water, clothing — everything your body needs. Isn’t there more to your life than a meal? Isn’t your body more than clothing? Look at all the birds — do you think they worry about their existence? They don’t plant or reap or store up food, yet your heavenly Father provides them each with food. Aren’t you much more valuable to your Father than they?’” (TPT).

This season brings an opportunity to turn your focus to all the ways God is providing for you and your family. Use this time of social distancing and sheltering in place, which is forcing us to stay at home, to draw closer to God. Notice all the ways God is coming alongside you. Turn off the busyness and distractions and turn on your awareness of God and your family. Get to know your family better by paying attention to them. Turn your focus from the fear the media is promoting to the peace that God is providing. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7 NIV).

Copyright © 2020 by Karen Castleberry


Karen Castleberry is a Missionary of Prayer. She lives with her husband, Gary, and 2 dogs, in a little cottage nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains of North Georgia. Their son, Jeremiah, lives and works nearby. Karen loves reading, writing, photography, knitting, and all things creative. Her greatest joy in life is spending time with Jesus, her family and friends.

Christian writer, Christian photographer

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