Finding Joy at McDonald’s

I was the last person to leave the school on Friday because I had to switch classrooms, rearrange the furniture in it and write up a report for my colleague whom I have been subbing for. It was 6 PM, I hadn’t had lunch because I was working and my feet were hurting from standing all day. In short, I was hungry, tired and upset that I had to change classrooms when I was told a week ago that I wouldn’t have to (plus I had taken time to decorate it and to make it my own). I left the school in a foul mood and I just wanted to go straight home.

On my way to the train station, I walked past a McDonald’s and decided to eat first before heading home. As I was standing in line, I felt like screaming and crying because I was drained, tired and unhappy. I prayed this: “God please give me physical strength and emotional strength,” and then I forced a smile as the McDonald’s cashier asked to take my order. While I was waiting for my food, a homeless-looking man stumbled in holding a wrinkled five-dollar bill. He asked the cashier how much a Big Mac Meal would cost and she answered, “7 dollars”. He asked again and she repeated. Then he asked how much a Filet-O-Fish would cost and she said “Just under 4 dollars.”

I couldn’t let myself stand by and do nothing. I had done that before and I still kick myself for it. So before he handed the cashier his money, I offered to buy him a Big Mac Meal. He looked at me in surprise and hesitated, but I insisted. I pushed the 5 dollar bill back towards him and ordered a Big Mac Meal. He kept saying “thank-you” over and over and I smiled and said, “My pleasure,” because it really was. And in that moment, I had forgotten about how tired, hungry and upset I was. I was genuinely smiling and I left the McDonald’s completely energized and joyful.

When I had prayed that prayer, I had thought that God would just simply make me stop feeling tired and upset but His thoughts and ways are not like mine. He gave me something better. He gave me joy from helping someone – and that alone, I discovered, was enough and exactly what I needed. His timing was impeccable. He knew I would leave the school feeling the way I did and He knew I would be hungry. I don’t believe that it is coincidence that I went to the McDonald’s one minute before that man. He gave me joy and he provided food for someone in need. This is my God and He works in wonderful ways. I thank Him for being my God and for being active and present in my life. Everything about Him is so beautiful.



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