(The following story is my embellished version of the story “Twinkies and Root Beer” from an unknown author. The story was first published by Warner Press’ “Christian Art.” I started with the original, reworked it by adding quite a bit to it, and put my own application at the end of it.)
One morning after breakfast a boy told his mother that he was going outside. Since that was a daily occurrence with the little fellow, the mother didn’t even look up from doing her housework. “Okay,” she said, “be careful.”
Unbeknownst to the mother, though, the little boy had decided to set out to find God that day. In preparation for the trip, he’d even loaded up his backpack with a box of Twinkies and a six-pack of root beer. He’d figured that he’d better pack plenty because he had no idea exactly where God lived and thought it might be a long trip.
The boy had only gone a couple of blocks when he saw an elderly gentleman sitting on a bench in the local park. Intrigued by the man, the boy walked over to him and sat down beside him without saying a word. Since the little fellow could no longer resist having at least one Twinkie and one root beer, he opened up his bag and pulled out the six-pack and the box. He took out one of each item for himself and was about to enjoy his meal when he noticed the old man watching him. He looked at the man and asked, “Do you want a Twinkie?” With a gleam in his eye, the old man smiled a big smile and said, “Yes, I would.”
After giving the man a Twinkie, the boy handed him a root beer and said, “Here, you’ll need a root beer, too.” The old man smiled that big smile again and enthusiastically took the bottle. Then both of them opened up their Twinkies, twisted the tops off their bottles, and proceeded to sit there on that park bench and partake of the feast. The two sat there for quite a while enjoying their meal, but they never said a word to each other. It was as if each had an unspoken bond with the other. No words were needed.
Finally, when they had finished the meal, the boy put everything back into his backpack and got up to leave. He was ready to return home now because he’d already figured out that the elderly gentlemen couldn’t be anybody else but God. Who else could have such a gleam in his eye? Who else could have such a warm smile? Who else would sit there like that with a little boy and enjoy a Twinkie and a root beer so much? So, he gave the old man a big hug, smiled at him the way only a little boy can, and raced off to get back home.
As the boy came walking up the street to his house, he saw his mother out in the yard. She was frantic with worry and was looking everywhere for him. When she saw him coming she raced to meet him, scooped him up in her arms, and exclaimed, “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? YOU HAD ME SCARED TO DEATH! I WAS ABOUT TO CALL THE POLICE TO HELP ME LOOK FOR YOU.” The boy said, “You shouldn’t have been worried, mom. I was with God.” “What?” she asked in disbelief. “I was with God,” he repeated. “And what makes you think you were with God?” she demanded. “It had to have been Him, mom. Nobody else has a smile like that.”
Meanwhile, along about the same time, a lonely old widower walked into the home of his adult son where the old man now resided. The son barely glanced up from watching the television but did manage to inquire, “Where have you been, dad?” The man answered, “I was down at the park having lunch with God.” That answer snapped the son to attention and he said through a chuckle, “Oh, really? And just exactly what does God look like?” Well,” said the old man, “He looks a lot younger than I thought He would, but you wouldn’t believe how much He enjoyed just spending time with an old codger like me. He even gave me a Twinkie and a root beer. And he’s got the warmest smile you’ve ever seen.”
The moral of this story is not that either the little boy or the old man was actually God. The moral is that God knows what each of us needs when we need it and is a master at sending along just the right person at just the right time to deliver it. Keep this in mind the next time you have a genuine need and ask God to meet it. Rather than merely noticing the met need itself, take the time to also notice the person through whom God gets it delivered to you. What you’ll find is that God can work through anybody, and I do mean ANYBODY, to get His work done.