John Halvorsen -
I love food, and one of my favorite treats is a frosted cake donut. Of this the Lord is well aware!
To give some historical background, in 1998 and ‘99 I was prayerwalking over 5,000 miles across America and I noticed that I wasn’t losing as much weight as I’d expected.
I was baffled over this until my wife informed me that my daily donut intake was to blame. I was sure that a guy walking over 100 miles every week for months on end could eat as many donuts as he wanted, and had a very hard time agreeing with her “root cause” analysis of the situation. My thought was that the anointing of the Israelites when they wandered 40 years through the desert rested upon me. Their shoes didn’t wear out, and neither did my stomach!
Not wanting to go to an extreme, I decided to cut down on my donut consumption just a bit to see if it would make a difference. It didn’t. That was proof enough for me that there was no relationship between my weight and what I ate, so I happily returned to my donut stops at every Casey’s gas station I passed. My weight problem must be related to my genetic makeup I reasoned; it just simply couldn’t be the donuts!
Fast forward to today. I had resigned my pastoral position in Duluth, Minnesota, to again prayer walk across America, this time from Los Angeles to New York City. I was only one hour into the first day of the walk, which started on the Santa Monica Pier in LA, when a tantalizing donut sign lured me in. As I’m sure you would all agree, a chocolate frosted cake donut is a delightful way to begin a walk across America!
During the first week of this walk however, we were accompanied by two intercessors from the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. They were doing a Daniel Fast as they walked with us, and were eating only vegetables. They were very resolute about their fast and politely turned down my offered donuts, choosing to munch on celery and cucumbers during our snack times. While I agree that salad items are healthy, they just don’t please the palate as much as good old processed flour and sugar that has been deep fried to a golden brown. So some light-hearted bantering began between us. They frequently informed me of the benefits of their snacks and did their best to win me over, while I happily enjoyed my donuts, unconvinced.
The Lord however, was about to get my attention and underline the fact that He sees and knows me. He knows when I rise up and when I lie down. He knows my frame and how it has been made in secret. He knows my walking destination and what I eat!
It happened in this way. We were walking through the city of Azusa and had just had a chance to pray for two police officers who were working with the homeless population in the area. As we headed down the sidewalk with our backpacks on, the policemen had pulled over beside us to make a friendly check on our status. We then told the story of the prayer walk across America, took photos and all bowed our heads in prayer, asking God to protect them and to bless their outreach to the people living on the streets. Soon after praying with the officers, we took a break at a Daily Donut shop where I had a wonderful chocolate frosted cake donut. And the friendly teasing from our Kansas City intercessors resumed as they snacked on their fresh veggies.
Shortly afterward, we received a text from our daughter in Minnesota who had just been to visit her grandpa, my wife’s father. Grandpa is 91 years old, had been a Christian pastor for over 50 years, currently lives in a nursing home and due to advanced dementia, doesn’t remember most family members and isn’t able to finish a sentence coherently.
“Grandpa just said the funniest thing,” our daughter texted. “He said, ‘What about that young man who used to work at the church? He should go to New York and eat vegetables! And what about those officers? We should all give them some money and do the best we can!’”
The young man who used to work at the church? Why, that was me of course. Although I’m 68, to my father-in-law, I’m a young man. Also, I’ve just resigned my pastoral position at our home church, so I used to work at the church. He next said that the young man should go to New York and eat vegetables. Go to New York? Grandpa didn’t know that I was currently prayerwalking the nation from LA to New York City. And he had absolutely no way of knowing about the teasing over my diet choices that had been going on recently. Then his statement about giving money to the officers also got my attention. How could anyone in Minnesota know that just minutes before we had a visit with police officers who worked with the street population, and that those are folks who are always in need of money?
It reminded me of the Scripture passage from Genesis 16:13, where Hagar is wandering in the wilderness. At a spring of water, she is found by the Angel of the Lord who knows her every thought, speaks life over her and directs her steps forward. Hagar has a revelation about the nature of the Lord through this encounter and says, “You are the God who sees me.” She then names the spring “A well to the Living One who sees me.”
I had just been found by the Angel of the Lord at a donut shop, and just had an encounter with that same “God who sees me!”
He knows us! He loves us! He cares about the details of our lives!
So, as Hagar had opportunity to name that spring of water after the encounter she had with the Lord, I hereby dub that very wonderful bakery in the town of Azusa, California: “The Donut Shop to the Living One Who Sees Me!”