I’ve never been inside the McDonald’s in my home town. But, drop me on the other side of the world, feed me noodles for days on end and McDonald’s starts to look pretty good. So, here I am with this big group of Americans marching into a fast food restaurant that couldn’t be more American, right? Well, yes…and no. I’m pleased to say the fries were the same! And while there were several strange items on the menu, all of the basic “go to” McDonald’s items tasted quite similar to what we would have had at home. Of course, the differences were evident as well. When we ordered we pointed to pictures of food, held up fingers for how many, requested “no ice”(which, by the way, I’ve never done in my life) and drew a crowd of curious, local spectators.
As we walked back to the hotel, the thought occurred to me that McDonald’s is seriously everywhere. I mean, we’ve gone the last few days without seeing another caucasian, much less an American. But, here, deep in an interior province of China, there’s a McDonald’s.
It’s funny to think that McDonald’s is welcome in a country where God is not. Where Happy Meals and fries draw crowds where a church service cannot. But, thankfully, our God is not constrained by rules, regulations, laws or men. He’s called us here, as he has many before us. His church here may, like McDonald’s, be very different from our churches, but the basics are the very same. And, while that church thrives in secret places, it still THRIVES!
He’s here. He goes before, stands behind. Where man may attempt to constrain Him, He will not be constrained. We gather in a single room behind closed doors to read a forbidden book and sing forbidden songs. Outside our window the night skyline is brightly lit, but we know the true light is within us.
I know I won’t frequent McDonald’s after I return home. I just can’t. But, I don’t think I’ll ever see those golden arches again without thinking of this country I’ve grown to love. Those arches will serve to remind me that deep in a place where you wouldn’t expect to find Jesus…He’s there. He’s seriously everywhere…kind of like McDonald’s.