Why is there no toilet paper on store shelves?
It's not really because people are hoarding this everyday commodity. And it's definitely not because there isn't enough to go around. The answer to this is quite deep and is actually closely related to a struggle that we as Christians know all too well.
The reason that you cannot find toilet paper in your local store is because people across our nation have been confronted with uncertainty. Individuals the world over have been granted the opportunity to learn a lesson that we as Christians have been grappling with for some time: How do you pace yourself in a race when you don't know when it will end?
It can be difficult, if not impossible to budget for a military excursion if you don't know how many soldiers it will take or how long it will last. Likewise, planning for a wedding reception when you don't know how many guests are coming can be a nightmare. We have been trained for this kind of mindset from before the very beginning moments of our conversion. As we studied Luke 14:26-33, we were admonished to count the costs and be willing to forsake it all in pursuit of Christ.
For our neighbors, the uncertainty surrounding when they could run out of supplies might mean that they stockpile toilet paper, food, and munitions. Much like the rich young ruler in Luke 18:18-22, many around us are seeking the answer to what exactly they can do to ensure that they endure to the end. But also like the rich young ruler, many people are not comfortable with the uncertainty that comes with true reliance upon God.
As much as we might prefer to plan things out to the nth degree, true Christianity takes faith. Because faith concerns things which are hoped for, yet unseen, (Hebrews 11:1) it speaks directly to our insecurities over uncertainties. Christianity requires faith and faith requires a certain level of comfort with the unknown.
In many cases, the depth/strength of our relationship with our Father in Heaven is borne out in how we respond to times of physical and spiritual uncertainty. Do we make plans to ensure that we have our bases covered? Are we looking for ways to stockpile toilet paper? Are we building bigger barns to ensure our economic longevity only to ignore our spiritual health?
A good gut-check for us can be found in Luke chapter twelve. How we traverse the uncertain times before us is of great interest to God. Are we making our own plans, based on what we want (Luke 12:13-21) or based on what He wants (Luke 12:22-56)?