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Bug Jokes, Max Lucado, and a Phone Call

What I’m about to tell you is true. I did not make this up. It really did happen to me. And it is why I never doubt that Jesus is real—the one true God.

When I was little I asked Jesus into my heart. I truly loved Him. But I thought all anyone did was pray when they were worried, sad, or wanted something. Well, I wanted to give him a break from all the sad prayers. I wanted to make him smile. So I read him jokes from 101 Bug Jokes at night.

Then I grew up. I became a teenager and eventually a college student. My life got busy. I didn’t go to church anymore. I barely gave God a thought. Sure, I’d pray here and there if I was troubled. But I no longer told him jokes.

After years of ignoring God, I found myself feeling down, depressed. It was 1999 and I’d just gotten married to a wonderful man. We bought a home. We even had a black lab mix puppy. We were happy, but something was missing.

One day, when my husband was away I heard a gentle whisper deep within my soul. I didn’t hear the voice audibly. It was more like a phrase kept repeating in my mind. And that phrase was (and here is where it gets strange): “Get a Max Lucado book.”

Now dear reader, at that time I barely knew who Max Lucado was. I knew he was some Christian guy, but that was about it. Like I said, I hadn’t been to church in a while. Yet on this day, that one phrase was on repeat in my head. Honestly, I thought I was losing it.

My prayer at the time went something like this:

God, is that you? Do you want me to get a book by Max Lucado? That’s oddly specific. Why not just say, ‘Come back to me?’ Now that I’d get. But this. It’s kind of weird. Never mind. I’m just losing it. Sorry for bothering you, God.”

And God’s response:

“Get a Max Lucado book.”

Repeat this cycle of prayer and response for pretty much all morning. Until finally, I’d had it. I grabbed my purse and jumped in my little blue Chevy and drove to the library. I went directly to the non-fiction section and stopped dead in my tracks when I saw an entire shelf of Max Lucado books. There were way too many to choose from!

And my first thought was, I’m losing it. There is no way God is telling me to get a Max Lucado book. If I keep this up I’ll have to check myself into a mental hospital.

So I left the library, got back in my little blue Chevy, and drove back home. Thoughts tumbled through my head on the drive home. If it was really God then it turned out he wasn’t specific enough. Which Max Lucado book? No, this is crazy. I’m going to go home and relax. No more book stuff.

Just when I walked through my front door, I heard my phone ringing. This was back before everyone and their dog had cell phones.

I ran to the kitchen to answer it and the first thing I heard on the other line was, “Get Just Like Jesus by Max Lucado.” No, “Hello.” No, “Hi.” No greeting whatsoever.  Just,”Get Just Like Jesus by Max Lucado.”

It was my cousin on the other end of the phone belting that strange greeting from over three hours away. We hadn’t talked in a while so she had no idea about what had been going on earlier. As a matter of fact, she didn’t even know I was feeling down.

“What?” I asked.

“All I know is that I was right in the middle of making macaroni and cheese when I felt like God wanted me to tell you to get Just Like Jesus by Max Lucado. He was so insistent that I called right away.”

Then in the background, her husband yelled, “Lora, your macaroni and cheese is about to boil over!”

So dear reader, guess what I did. I went out and bought the book. I figured if God thought it was that important I better have a copy to keep, instead of getting it from the library.

But here’s the thing, while Just Like Jesus was a good book. It’s not what changed my life. What truly changed my life was the fact that God loved me so much that he spoke to me, personally. And when I was too stubborn to listen, he had my cousin give me a call. After that, I could no longer ignore him.

And ever since then, all I’ve wanted to do is make him smile…again. But now I do it through writing. I’d already read him all the bug jokes I could find.