It all started with a pancake. My single friend (we’ll call her Hannah) and I were meeting for the monthly Sunday brunch we share, and a very handsome mid-forties southern gentleman at the table next to us (we’ll call him Jake) offered us one of his three fluffy lemon pancakes.
We politely replied, “Wow, we aren’t going to eat your pancake,” but we were looking at it with longing. And Jake had caught us. He offered one up and would not take no for an answer. We sheepishly split the fantastic pancake. Jake looked at me and said, “It is easy to share, but it is harder to receive isn’t it?” I said yes as I took my first fluffy bite.
As we continued eating, my friend and I talked about some difficult things in relationships—things that were hard on our hearts. Things of longing, rejection, and missed hopes. I suspect that Jake (a foot from us) heard some of this while eating brunch with his five friends.
Near the end of our meal, our waitress came and told us that Jake (still next to us) had purchased our brunch. We were flustered, surprised, and grateful. We gushed our thanks to Jake and his peeps and chatted more with them as our meals wound down.
As Jake left, he handed Hannah the extra receipt. On it was a handwritten note which read:
Our eyes filled with tears right there in front of Jake and his peeps.
Free brunch would have made us teary-eyed, but now we wept. Why? Because Hannah and I had both been tangibly visited by the vast, specific love and tenderness of Jesus—and right before Valentine’s Day. It was a DIRECT message and a sweet word of promise. You don’t know how much you need some gifts until they arrive.
Here’s the verse that Jake shared (plus, a few surrounding verses):
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act, making your righteousness shine like the dawn, your justice like the noonday. (Psalm 37:4-6)
This is such a good word and reminder to commit all of our ways to Him—even when there are difficult, hard things we’re wrestling with.
When you struggle with singleness, loneliness, or not being chosen, people often say, ”The Lord provides for you. Jesus loves you!” As single women, we respond, “Yes, that’s so wonderful and so true!” But we may also roll our eyes or sigh and think that married or dating women in relationships with men just don’t get it. We may feel that they don’t understand that we want someone’s hand to hold, that we want someone to hold us—literally—and we maybe even want someone to pick up a check or take our car to the shop! And while we know we are loved by Jesus, that is different than a tangible man loving us.
This is what my “Pancake Jake” encounter taught me: JESUS IS TANGIBLE. He can bless your life with His presence in any way He sees fit, anywhere, any time. I wasn’t looking for Him at brunch. I wasn’t asking for a free meal and a word.
I wish I was a good enough writer to express how profoundly I felt Jesus’ love in that moment. Hannah and I could hardly stand up or speak afterwards under the weight of God’s tenderness towards us. It was as if God Himself had said, “You are seen and loved, and let me buy you brunch.” He can make a donkey talk and water come out of a rock, and He can make a fine southern, godly gentleman take you to brunch! (That may be a new Christian country hit song theme.)
I’m not going to roll my eyes any more. I got to experience the profound sense that Jesus knows my heart, longings, and brunch appetites, and even though I’m a selfish, self-centered little gal who lets Him down daily, He pursues me with His lavish love, grace, and kindness. No offense to the good men out there who hold their women’s hands, but this love is exceedingly superior. I’ll take it every day over what I currently lack. I cannot fathom such love, but I am ever grateful for it.
Ladies, He does have me, and He has you. Happy Valentine’s Day!
P.S. I know what you are thinking. No, we did not exchange numbers with wonderful Jake. We took it for the gift it was and may have stalked him a tiny bit on Facebook only to find nothing. So “Pancake Jake” he will remain.
Paige Greene is the Director of Adult Live Events for LifeWay where she manages a team of event planners who implement Bible study, enrichment, and simulcast events for women, men, college students, and senior adults each year. She came to LifeWay in 2006, but prior to her work at LifeWay, Paige managed domestic community relations for the Operation Christmas Child project with Samaritan’s Purse. She is also working on a Master’s in Professional Counseling. In her spare time, she is a fun aunt to four teenage and young adult nieces and loves traveling, singing, and spending time with her family.