Famine and Plenty

“You know what I just realized?” I asked my friend. We were nearing the end of a wonderful day of good friends, good food, and great conversation. I was contemplating how content I was, how content I had been for a while. 

“What did you just realize?”

“This is the point in the semester where I usually start hating myself,” I said. “And I…I don’t hate myself.”

Those were my exact words the moment I realized I was happy. Not just because I’d had a good day. And not because I was finding joy despite my circumstances. But because I was (and am), overall, in a Season of Plenty.

Sometimes, especially as a teenager, it seems there is always some huge struggle hanging over my head. Stress about school. Conflict with parents. Concern for the future. And in a way, there is. Truthfully, I can find a part of myself in each of those things. But overall, I’m in a good place. After years of hating school, I am mostly enjoying it. After years of battling low self-worth, I can honestly say I know that I am loved. After years of struggling with closeness to God, I am deepening my relationship with Him every day. 

So what do I do with this? I know there will be huge storms in my future, due at any minute. So much of the advice we receive, from our friends and pastors and inspirational instagram posts, is given in the form of a life preserver, something to hang on to as we are tossed around.

So what do I do in this blessed moment of respite, with the knowledge that it is fleeting?

I am reminded of what Joseph told Pharaoh in Genesis 41, when he interpreted his dreams.

“There will come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt, but after them there will arise seven years of famine, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt…And let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. That food shall be a reserve for the land against the seven years of famine that are to occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish through the famine.”

What do we do to “store up” when we are in a Season of Plenty?

Recognize It.  Don’t be so caught up in the past or worried about the future that you miss the incredible blessings God is giving to you right now. Be aware of the little joys that pop up. Give thanks to God for His goodness. Tell your friends about the wondrous things God is working in your life.

Relish It.  Enjoy the harvest while you can! “Store up” on God’s goodness so that you have your own experiences to hang on to when you find yourself in the wilderness again. This is time to be spent in prayer, in bible study, in worship. Build your house upon the rock now, so that when the winds beat and blow it will not fall. This is your moment. Build strong relationships with God and with good Christian friends. It’s your turn to be the one they can lean on in their own weakness while you are blessed with a time of strength. “You will have trouble in this world,” said Jesus. You will. This is your preparation.

Remember It.  “All the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt. The famine will consume the land, and the plenty will be unknown in the land by reason of the famine that will follow, for it will be very severe.” Isn’t that the great story of humanity? Don’t you ever read the bible and want to tear your hair out as God’s people continually forget his promises, his miracles, his faithfulness? There are days when our hearts are so full of joy and hope that we feel we could never forget God’s goodness. But on the darkest days, hope is not a shadow of a memory. Don’t just assume you’ll remember this moment forever. Put it down somewhere. In a photo album, or a gratitude journal, or a facebook post. One day it will help you to look back and remember. God is faithful. His promises are true. Here is your proof of that.

Your season of plenty is not a fluke; it is a gift. It’s not a free pass; it is an opportunity. You’ve been through famines before. You know there are more coming.

Store up!

Macy Cardwell is a 16-year-old poet, performer, songwriter, church accompanist, and Jesus lover. She has represented Columbus, GA on the 2018 and 2019 Fountain City Slam Team at Brave New Voices International Poetry Festival. She is excitedly learning more about God every day, and hopes she can share that excitement with others.