Food. Good food. Very good food. I could smell the aroma wafting down the carpeted stairway. The smell grew stronger as I followed my nose down the hallway like a hound dog on the trail of tacos.
My roommate and I had received an invitation to a Taco Night hosted for the special-diet individuals at our college. Ancestral genes had placed us among the chosen who eat their meals minus a few key ingredients such as gluten and dairy—the former being what holds the world together and the latter being a prime constituent of happiness in our modern world.
As allergen-affected individuals, we are normally banished to a non-contaminated zone of the cafeteria where we show our special identification cards as badges of honor, marks of Cain, or necessary passports to digestive wellbeing—depending on personal perspective. The food was nutritious, warm, even good on the scale of allergy-free cafeteria food. But sometimes in our weaker moments, we daydream of better fare. Christmas dinners and Saturday morning breakfasts at home constituted our visions of a former life before dorm rooms and packaged snacks and, yes, cafeteria food.
“Are we going the right way?” my roommate asked in a whisper as we continued toward the Promised Land of Taco Night.
I sniffed and nodded. I couldn’t be sure, but following the smell of seared steak seemed like the direction of manna to me. We rounded a corner. Tables stretched to our right, bearing bain-maries of steaming food. A heap of corn tortillas fanned across a silver platter. Mounds of pulled chicken and strips of seared steak fell apart under silver tongs. Bowls of cheese, sliced peppers, salsa, guacamole, and sour cream waited at the far end of a long buffet. Gourmet slaw with brussels sprouts and a small bowl of fresh-cut limes for an additional zing of flavor completed the array.
Bottled sweet tea nestled among tubs of ice chunks on a separate table. A glimpse of chocolate torte with a garnish of mint leaves and raspberries promised even better things to come.
Wide- eyed, my roommate looked at me. “This is for us?” she mouthed.
I wasn’t sure, but I got a plate anyway.
We found a table. Other members of our anti-allergen cohort sat at other tables around us. The room was hushed, each person eating as though the food was the stuff of memories.
“Do you want to bless the food?” my roommate asked, her eyes never leaving her plate.
“Sure.” I closed my eyes then peeked at my loaded plate to see if it was still there. I clamped them shut again.
“Dear Lord, I—”
I broke off as real tears pricked my eyelids unannounced. “I—I don’t know what to say…” I thought a second before adding, “Thank you.”
We opened our eyes, and my roommate whisked away escaping tears with a laugh and a quick flick of her hand that barely saved her mascara from utter ruin.
“What do you think food will be like in heaven?” she asked.
“Amazing,” I said, chowing down on the feast before me. “Just think. We’ll get to be at the marriage supper of the Lamb.”
We ate in silence, thinking our own thoughts. What would it be like? I wondered. Revelation 7:17 says that Christians won’t be hungry in heaven because the Lamb will feed them; they won’t be thirsty because He will lead them to living fountains of water.
But I wondered what the food would taste like, what it would look like, how it would smell. I wondered what living fountains of water would be like. Most of all, I wondered what it would feel like to be satisfied forever.
My roommate and I both went back for seconds at Taco Night. And we had dessert. There was more than enough. There was food to spare. Content at last, we waved our good-byes to our food-allergen cohort and thanked the chef who had served up such a bounty.
“It was so good I almost cried,” I told him. Ok, so I had cried, but I didn’t tell him that.
“He thinks we’re joking,” my roommate whispered as we slipped around the corner and back down the hall. We both laughed, basking in the satisfaction of a wish fulfilled.