Milkshakes, Hugs, and God

By on November 11, 2011

By Susan Lawrence –

I regularly travel, and since I live 90 miles from the airport, I usually stop close to the airport on my way home so I can get a fountain drink. Sometimes I’ll splurge and treat myself to a chocolate milkshake at a diner on my way home. On one of those milkshake days, I missed the exit to the regular diner I usually stop at – Bummer! – but then I remembered there was another one a little further down the highway. I had never been there, but I was fairly sure I’d seen the sign.

Yes, it was there – but it definitely wasn’t in a great part of the city. It looked old and dirty. I decided to take the drive-thru option (as if my milkshake would be a little less germ-infested if I didn’t order it inside!). Another bummer. The drive-thru was packed. The inside didn’t look at crowded, so I quickly parked and made my way inside, which was every bit as filthy as I imagined. But I wanted my milkshake!

As I was waiting, a man at the end of the counter caught my attention. He wasn’t doing anything to get my attention; in fact, he probably didn’t even notice me – but I noticed him. He was even dirtier than the restaurant. It was been-there-a-long-time dirt. He looked weathered, tired, and old. But I felt a prompting…to walk over and hug him.

I’m not a germaphobic, but I’m also not fond of hugging strangers – particularly dirty older men. I started to get a bit anxious – and irritated my chocolate milkshake wasn’t ready. After all, several minutes had passed. I know the milkshakes are hand-dipped, but how long can it take to dip a few scoops of ice cream? The prompting got stronger and more persistent, and I knew it was God. I wasn’t obedient. In fact, I argued with him for a few minutes. I started to test and rationalize and finally said (not aloud), “Okay, I’m watching the clock. If my milkshake isn’t ready in three minutes, I’ll give him a hug.”

Three minutes passed. No milkshake. I thought of the next test I could conjure up…but at that moment, I caught the man’s eyes. I knew.

I walked over to him and quietly fumbled with my words, something like, “Sir, I know this sounds strange, but I’m supposed to give you a hug.”

In that moment his eyes lit up and sparkled. He grinned enormously, which smoothed his filthy wrinkles, and he stretched his arms wide. I didn’t hesitate. We embraced for what seemed like a half minute and then smiled at each other. I told him to have a great evening and to remember God loves him. He smiled and nodded. I turned around and saw my milkshake sitting on the counter.

As I left, I didn’t feel dirty at all. In fact, I felt quite refreshed. And I was grateful to be in the wrong place at the right time.

Then Jesus said, “Which one of these three men do you think was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by the robbers?” The expert on the law answered, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Then go and do what he did.” Luke 10:36-27 (NCV)


Susan Lawrence has a passion for pouring into women through writing, speaking, and training, inspiring women to seek God’s purpose, and grow in purposeful and healthy ways. She’s a Women’s Ministry Consultant who has developed resources and coordinated trainings and networking for international ministries and denominations. Get to know her better and check out her Bible studies –
Pure Purpose and Pure Emotion – and more at http://purepurposebook.wordpress.com/

About Susan Lawrence

Susan Lawrence has a passion for pouring into women through writing, speaking, and training, inspiring women to seek God’s purpose, and grow in purposeful and healthy ways. She’s a Women’s Ministry Consultant who has developed resources and coordinated trainings and networking for international ministries and denominations. Get to know her better and check out her Bible studies – Pure Purpose and Pure Emotion – and more at http://purepurposebook.wordpress.com/.

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Milkshakes, Hugs, and God