It’s amazing to see the joy that God can insert into the midst of chaos. I saw one such moment on my third and final day of serving with The Salvation Army in Vilonia, AR in the aftermath of Sunday’s massive F4 Tornado.
We had set up the canteen in a cul-de-sac in a subdivision that had taken a direct hit. Nearly all of the homes had been reduced to rubble. It was near the end of the day and most of the people picking through the debris had left because the road out had been shut down to run power lines. Only a few of the home sites had people left.
I had been running myself ragged the past few days keeping up with the canteen. Now, with the lull, I was watching a young man directly across the street from us as he tried to find his motorcycle under a pile that had been bulldozed on top of it the day before. As we had extra gloves and as he had none, I walked over to give him a pair. He refused at first, saying he was only staying a few minutes: long enough to get a picture of the VIN number off his bike for the insurance company. He took them eventually as a few minutes dragged on into forty-five, and then an hour, eventually freeing it with the help of a pickup and a tow rope.
Nearby, with their aunt, his three little girls waited in the car. After he had freed his bike and was looking for the VIN, his girls were wandering about. They were bored and restless and getting under their daddy’s feet. This beautiful little trio reminded me of my own kids, and my heart went out to them.
“Hey girls!” I called out,” would you like a donut?” Jumping up and down they hollered,”Donuts, Donuts, I want a donut!” I turned to their aunt and asked if she minded if they had a donut. She answered with a sly smile at their father,”I don’t care they’re not my kids.” Still jumping and turning toward their father,
”Daddy, can we have a donut?”
“If you can ask him properly.”
Turning back to me, almost in unison, and punctuating every syllable with a hop.
”May… we…please… have… a… donut?”
Teasing them a little, I said they could, if they could ask with both feet on the ground. Slapping their hands to their side, planting their feet firmly on the ground, and curbing their energy with all their will, they asked again.
”May we please have a donut?”
They rushed to the snack table. To see the joy on their faces as they received their simple snack, you would think they were receiving tickets to Disneyland, instead of day-old donuts. The father, finishing up came over. His face, which had been stern and frustrated as he worked, softened to a smile.
When I reached my bedroom last night, I found myself crying. I cried tears of grief over the people I had met over the past few days, their immense loss, and the long road ahead of them. But, I also cried tears of joy and thankfulness to a God, who in the midst of utter ruin, brought a moment of joy and peace to me and a worn out father. Which was brought by the joy and enthusiasm of three little girls. Which was brought by a donut.
When I see the Lady at the bakery who gave us the donuts, I want to thank her, and tell her how God worked through her donuts.
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