When I returned from America on Sunday, I brought with me a selection of my favourite Krispy Kreme donuts.
It’s one of those things, that quite frankly, just has to be done.
I personally believe that Krispy Kreme donuts could perhaps be one of life’s essential indulgences.
Think about it.
Donuts need no occasion to justify eating them. Cakes really need someone’s birthday, popcorn needs a movie, chocolate needs a girl-type-of-tragedy… But donuts, you are good to go in any circumstance. Because of the reasons above, despite the reasons above, or through the reasons above. Donuts win.
Donuts are the perfect side order to any drink option. Tea? And a donut. Coffee? And a donut. Milk? And a donut. It just works like no other sweet condiment ever could.
Donuts make you popular. You go into the office, everyone is a-little-bit-grumpy-and-overwhelmed-by-Monday-morning-work, you crack out the donuts… And it’s like some kind of literal explosion of life and joy takes place. People are laughing and joking and hugging and… Ok, you get the picture.
Donuts can be eaten at any time of the morning, noon or night. They serve our tummies well and bring delight to our mouths.
Donuts come in as many varieties as there are people. Pretty much. Glazed? Yep. Jam-filled? Yep. Sugar-coated? Yep. Sprinkles? Of course. Iced? Occasionally. Cinnamon? On special occasions. I could go on. I really could.
Donuts are surprisingly good for you. For instance, one perfectly-glazed donut equals about 200 calories. A MacDonald’s apple pie? About 250. A Cadbury’s creme egg? 445 calories. 100 grams of Wotsits? 530 calories. Now, I’m not one to count calories normally… But, it surely it feels totally more satisfying to eat two delicious donuts compared to one measly creme egg.
And finally, donuts have a distinctive hole in the centre. Why? So they can cook more evenly, of course.
People rave about donuts, love donuts, blog about donuts, queue for donuts, pay for donuts and celebrate donuts. There’s a national donut day. The U.S.A makes more than 10 billion donuts a year. And the largest ever donut made weighed 1.7 tons.
So, today I was thinking (like I so often do in this strange brain of mine), that donuts have a few parallels to faith.
Hear me out.
Now anyone who grew up in a vaguely Christian circle will have happily sang the now-famous-donut-man-lyrics, ‘Life without Jesus, is like a donut, ’cause there’s a hole in the middle of your heart…’
But I’m thinking a bit more deeply than that.
Like, the way that God’s love is the only love that wins in any situation. When we’re joyful? We press into Him. When we’re sad? We seek His heart. When we’re confused? We ask for His direction. Friends may fail. People may mess up. But God’s love never fails. It never gives up. And it always wins.
How about the way Jesus is my essential with anything I’m facing? In the storms of life, or the seasons of healing, His Word remains true and steadfast and sure. Everything can change, but He never will.
What about how Jesus drew people to Him when He walked the earth? Or how He still draws people to Him now? With Jesus, the funeral turns into a celebration, and the famine turns into a feast, and the water turns into wine. He takes what appears to be broken and used, and restores it in His beautiful light to something more exquisite than there ever was before.
Like, the way time with Him brings delight to my soul and my heart in a way that time with no one else could. His song brings joy forth, and lifts me to a revelation of truth and grace and peace. Rising in the morning for Him, awakening the dawn with Him, singing through the night because of Him.
How about the creativity of Holy Spirit? Who speaks to us all as we need with what we need. Who grafts each beautifully unique testimony of faith into His body, which is the Church, and weaves the tapestry of our stories as one whole.
What about how Holy Spirit is so good for us? He doesn’t condemn, or leave us hopeless, He convicts to restore and give us a future. We are never sold short. The narrow path is the path of life, and in His Presence there is fullness of joy.
Or, and this is really where my meditations have landed today, what about how He sometimes uses the hole in us to bring us to Himself? To keep us humble. To show us that His strength is greater than our weakness. To prove Himself faithful. To demonstrate who He is. To bring balance. So that I live life evenly on His terms and not my own.
I get what Donut Man was singing all those years ago, but I sometimes think that the parts of us which feel most broken, or of which we are most ashamed, are the parts of us that God uses to teach us something about Himself. Because when I see the hole in me, it pushes me to run to Jesus with everything I am and throw myself on His mercy alone. Because I recognise that only in His Presence am I free and only in His will am I whole. I see that He loves my mess. He knows every detail of my frame and He still loves my mess. And that I don’t become holy by my human effort, or my zeal, or my long list of what is right or wrong, I become holy when I start to truly hang out with the One who is.
In Luke 7, we are told this incredible story. It’s shocking really. Shocking to the core. It’s where Jesus is anointed by a sinful woman.
She is not a reputable character. She is the subject of town gossip, and household rumours and brazen-late-night-stories. Everyone knows her for all the wrong reasons. And the thing is, it’s all true. Every word.
And she comes to Jesus, who’s at the house of a nobleman in the town, and (who knows how she even got in through the door) she kneels down in front of a room full of people who thought she was so worthless, and, avoiding their gasps and critical gazes, she falls on her knees and she pours this perfume on the feet of Jesus. Perfume of such high worth that it would have probably cost her everything. Everything.
So she is crying, and weeping, and filling the house with the fragrance of this perfume and the sound of her tears… And Simon, who owns the house is outraged. He is sitting there watching this scene in such offence. Because he is a righteous man, and he has invited Jesus to his house, and surely if Jesus had any sense or prophetic insight, he would know that this women was a harlot, devoted to sin and destined for hell, and he can’t figure out why Jesus doesn’t just send her and her perfume back to the streets where they belong. Because why would God want someone like that? And if Jesus were really God, why would he even let this sinner touch him?
But Jesus, who as God, not only knew the depth of this woman’s sin, but the detail of Simon’s thoughts, speaks in her defence. ‘A certain lender of money had two debtors: one owed him five hundred denarii and the other fifty. When they had no means of paying, he freely forgave them both. Now which will love him more?’ You can almost hear the silence that screams as time stands still, and the reality of what Jesus is saying sinks in.
All have a debt they cannot pay. All. But they who really see their need for forgiveness, who run to Jesus with the hole in their life and throw themselves at His feet, pouring out everything in complete abandon. They love much, because they are forgiven much.
I love much because I am forgiven much.
Oh Jesus, thank you for loving me, even in my mess.
And Jesus esteems this women. In the amplified version it puts His words like this, ‘Go (enter) into peace (in freedom from all the distresses experienced as the result of sin).’
That floors me.
In freedom from all the distresses experienced as a result of sin.
He doesn’t just forgive her sin. He redeems her future.
What kind of love is that? What kind of mercy? What kind of grace?
So, from donuts, to the hole in each of us, to the perfume poured out, to the reality of redemption… Keep that in mind next time you eat your Krispy Kremes. 😉
Seriously. Let us love Him with everything poured out and run to Him with everything we are. Putting off the sin that hinders and the guilt that condemns, and loving Him much because of the real-life reality of our complete and finished forgiveness.