I just realized something the other day. As I packed a lunch to take with me to the hospital, it dawned on me:
Jesus is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
I know, you don’t exactly remember reading that in the Bible, do you? Jesus calls himself a lot of things. He says he’s the light of the world, the way, the truth, and the life, and so on, but “I am a peanut butter and jelly sandwich” doesn’t exactly stand out in your memory, right? Well, believe it or not, it’s actually in the Bible… sort of. Here, I’ll explain.
You know how health problems have a way of getting out of hand? Well, my mom has been battling one medical condition or another my entire life. Before I was in high school, she’d already been confined to a wheelchair. For me, a life dominated by illness and long idle hours in hospital waiting rooms was just our kind of normal.
But suddenly, just a few years ago, things changed. As her health unraveled like a cheap knit sweater, we went from being frequent visitors to the hospital to being card carrying citizens.
Our lives became a crazy hectic mess. We were constantly deprived of sleep, and to, make matters worse, our budget began to feel the strain. I had zero energy all the time, yet we still had to eat. It was at this flash point of medical horror that I rekindled my love of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
I hadn’t really made PB&J since I was a kid, but this old standby of a sandwich became something of a savior as we battled life’s insanity. It had fiber, vitamins, carbs for energy, and some much needed protein, but it could also be thrown together in 30 seconds. Even better, I could take it with us on the go and avoid the wallet-whopping drive through window.
Peanut butter and jelly also held deep sentimental value for me.
It conjured up memories from before mom got truly sick. It recalled my preschool years with vividness, color, and texture… I remembered the taste of wooden spoons that Mom would let me lick and the heart-felt warmth of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. And through it all, of course, were Mom’s peanut butter jelly sandwiches. For me, this was soul food with a deep emotional connection. Every inch of Mom’s sandwiches were filled with tenderness. When I ate them, I felt safe, cared for, and especially loved.
It hurt thinking how things had changed. Our roles had suddenly reversed. It was now me caring for my mom, but thankfully, I knew I wasn’t in this alone.
Over the years, I’d come to an understanding of just how much God loved me. Even more amazing was the knowledge that God loved my mom even more than I did. He was with us both. Our heavenly Father wasn’t about to leave us orphaned. Even though our lives were crazy, I trusted him to see us through.
God was our refuge and strength, our help in times of trouble. He would restore our souls and renew our strength… kind of like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
And just like that, as I spread some extra chunky peanut butter on a slice of bread, I made the connection between the sandwich of my childhood and the God that I’d come to trust.
Jesus is something that we can take with us wherever we go. He’s there to nourish us in the deepest recesses of our souls. He can fill us up and renew our strength so we can get through another day. He is our sustainer, our provider, our comforter, redeemer, and friend. Jesus is our Bread of Life (John 6:35). He is our PB&J.
It makes me sad to think of all the years I spent treating Jesus like a formal gourmet meal. Sometimes, I’d relax a little and think of him more as a weekly get-together with fiends at my favorite diner. But now I realize Jesus wants to be my daily bread, my ever present help in times of trouble.
So today, as I pack my lunch and get ready to head to the hospital with Mom, I’m reminded to not just take my physical food. Now I’ll always remember to take with me a deep awareness of the lover of my soul. Jesus is coming with me. He is my PB&J, and I’ll take him with me everywhere I go.
Thank you for reading. If this article spoke to you, I would like to invite you to visit the rest of my blog, which I’ve decided to call “Give Us This Day Our PB&J.” While there, you can also sign up to follow my blog to receive emails of new posts as they become available.
I hope my stories of how God has touched my life will nourish you on your own journey and encourage you as you face life’s challenges with him at your side.
God bless you, and don’t forget to take your PB&J!
Did you know that this story inspired the name of this blog?
If you haven’t already, check out the Blog Ingredients page to learn more about Give Us This Day Our PB&J and its mission to nourish your soul.