My Pancakes and God
By: Rev. Brandon Dirks
Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza. So he got up and went. Acts 8:26
I’ve been going to Steak n Shake every Friday for pancakes for the last six months. (That’s why I don’t fit into my clothes too well lately.)
I’ve been experimenting with intentionally putting myself out in the world as a follower of Christ and seeing what God does with me. And God took me up on the experiment!
My approach was to go, eat pancakes, and wait. Nothing pushy. Nothing overt. I had no goals in mind, no tracks to give away, no message to deliver. I simply waited. And ate my pancakes.
Each week I got to know the staff. I met a few of the regulars. They’ve met my family. I’ve heard stories of their families. It has become so friendly, that the server (Sara-not her real name) and the cook (Jose-not his real name) see me walking in, and by the time I sit down…they already have my coffee and pancakes on the table. I really am fond of my friends at Steak n Shake.
A few weeks ago, Sara was absent. The following week, I mentioned to her that I missed her and hoped everything was okay. She then shared her story of a terrible illness her mother was facing, and she spent nearly everything she had to go to Georgia to see her, only to find out that her mom wants nothing to do with her. I was heartbroken for her. And I prayed for her. Right there.
Here’s where God shows off!
A few days later, a friend of mine invites me to a discipleship conference during the next weekend at his church and I am genuinely really excited about it. But I would have to miss pancakes. Hmmmm…tough dilemma.
That Friday, I told Sara that I was going to miss the following week because I was going to this conference. She was very kind and told me that she would miss me and then asked me where the conference was to be held. I told her Atlanta, Georgia.
Then it hit me!
I turned back to her, and said, “Since I’m going to be in Georgia anyway, would you like me to go and visit your mom for you? You know, this is what I do at the church. And, I’d be happy to do this for you too.”
She politely said, “No thank you.” But, I gave her my card in case she changed her mind.
And she did!
She called me two days before I left; she had a box of fruit, water, snacks, and note for me to take. She warned me that her mom probably wouldn’t answer the door or talk to me, especially if she knew I came because Sara asked me. I told her not to worry, and that we will let God open the doors God wants opened.
While driving, I called Sara’s mother, left a message introducing myself that I was coming from Christ Church, and that I had some supplies to drop off from her daughter. Upon arriving at her mother’s tiny, a bit neglected home, I wondered, “What am I doing?” I had no idea what could happen. But I reminded myself to simply trust God.
I knocked. Nothing. Knocked again. Nothing. So I left the box beside the door, with my card. Driving away, I called Sara’s mother again, but this time she answered! I pulled over and we talked for nearly 30 minutes. She was so appreciative of what I brought. She shared with me her concerns about her upcoming surgeries, and more importantly her strained relationship with her daughter. She allowed me to pray with her (and for her and her daughter) over the phone.
I don’t know what will come of this, but that is not really the point. I was so grateful that God was able to use me for His purposes. I don’t need to know God’s plan, I just need to be obedient to his plan. And God will do the rest.
I can’t wait to tell Sara about my visit. I wonder what God will do next.