Suddenly it hit me – an urge for a doughnut, specifically a cheese twirl. Now really, I thought, I need a doughnut like a zebra needs stripes, an elephant a nose, or a giraffe a neck. Still, the urge was there. It was very real, and it wouldn’t go away no matter how hard I tried. Of course, I must confess, I didn’t try very hard. What’s even more maddening, I knew the whereabouts of a couple of doughnut shops nearby. Both were within easy walking distance. But only one of the two had cheese twirls, and wouldn’t you know it, it was the one farthest away.
Oh well, I’d hung around home all day anyway. The long walk would do me good. Some fresh air, you know, and a cheese twirl!
At last, I came to the end of my work. I quickly exited my small mobile home and stepped out briskly to begin my journey, all for the love of a cheese twirl. I did not know, however, God’s purpose for me taking a walk on that particular Saturday evening.
After about half a mile or so, I arrived at the doughnut shop. I spied the cheese twirls. But when I learned one cost 75 cents, my heart sunk. I didn’t bring that much money with me. So I had to settle for a chocolate bar instead (sigh).
Nevertheless, I purchased the chocolate bar and took my place at a table on the far side of the room and munched away. Mm-m-m! The chocolate bar was good at that, even though it wasn’t a cheese twirl.
Shortly, my nose caught the odor of cigarette smoke wafting through the air. I turned in the direction of the smoke. A woman, sullen and downcast, was sitting at a table not far from me; her ashtray harvested cigarette butts. For a little while neither of us spoke to one another, probably because neither of us knew one another. Then, too, I being of a quiet temperament, find conversation a somewhat difficult task.
Finally she broke the silence between us. Dolefully she spoke, “Life sure is boring, isn’t it?”
It was then my turn. “Well now, it all depends on who you know,” I said. “If you know Jesus,” I continued after a brief pause, “Life can be exciting.”
“Oh,” she responded, surprised.
I then asked her if she knew Jesus. She answered yes, to my surprise. She said she had come to know Him when she was about 15. But it was apparent that life’s circumstances had turned her heart sour, and she no longer experienced the joy of knowing Jesus personally.
As we continued our conversation I learned of her mother’s unexpected death two years before. A Bible with her very own name on it that her mother had given her was one of her most prized possessions. Though she had cherished it, in disgust one day after her mother’s death, she had torn it up. Now, however, she told me she wished she had not done so. She wished she still had the Bible her mother had given her.
Shortly, I left the doughnut shop. The woman thanked me for talking to her. I never did learn her name. Neither is it likely I’ll ever see her again, at least in this life. But I left her with a thought – Jesus.
As I exited the shop and started my journey home, I noticed darkness had already blanketed the sky. Suddenly a fresh urge hit me – not for chocolate bars this time or even cheese twirls, but for “food that endures to eternal life” (John 6:27, NIV.)