Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

God put a smile upon my face

I already told you how much I love God's sense of humor. I wasn't being sarcastic. If you don't think God is hilarious, you've missed something. God is love and joy. Have you ever experienced love and joy without smiling and laughing? We've all seen people try, though, haven't we?

The first time I realized that if God was omni-everything else, He was probably omni-funny too, was in college. When I was growing up, one of my favorite shows was Family Ties. I wanted to be Alex P. Keaton - if he was being mocked, it was completely lost on me. Alex was my hero.

In one of the later episodes, Alex's friend Greg dies in car crash and Alex takes a long look at this life. He talks to a therapist about a lot of deep questions and eventually the subject turns to God. The show knew he had to believe in God, based on all the other stereotypes he embodied, but they just couldn't swallow true Christianity. Alex concedes that he does believe in God, but it's not a biblical God. Alex's God is a more malleable version.

"I think God is gentle and forgiving and not one special form, you know? One day He's a dolphin, the next day He's trading shares on Wall Street."

I never forgot the line about the dolphin. It always struck me as funny, partly because Alex was essentially making up his own God, like we all want to do, picking and choosing the parts we like and don't like. But mostly because it's such a dramatic episode and then there's a line about God being a dolphin right at the climax.

Flash forward a few years to college. I'm alone in my dorm room praying. It was very rare that I would just sit and pray, but for some reason on this night I had the lights out, the lava lamp going (oh, like you never had one), and Mozart playing. That night was the first time I ever felt like Jesus was in the room. He wasn't just part of me, He was hanging out. It was an unbelievable feeling.

So, I'm praying and just struggling to express all that He is to me. "You're my everything. You are the stars above and the earth below. You're the sun and the moon. You're my every breath." I tend to pray in an odd mixture of 18th century poetry and R.E.M. songs.

And then Jesus said, "I'm like a dolphin, swimming in the ocean."

I laughed so hard until I finally started to cry. You don't think the God of the universe cares about you? He loves me so much, so intimately, that He left His place at the right-hand of the Father to sit on the corner of my bed in a dorm room in Indiana for just one purpose: to deliver the greatest punch line I've ever heard. You had me at dolphin.

This weekend, I'm doing something I've never done before. I'm staying in a hotel by myself. The book is due in 2 weeks and my incredibly supportive family pushed me out the door and told me to go finish it already :)

Lori helped pick a hotel in the area and when I reserved the room online, I made note of the free breakfast, the indoor pool, and the complimentary copy of USA Today. I checked-in on Friday and as I was gathering my things and heading toward the elevator, I saw the stack of newspapers on the counter, but noticed one that didn't look like all the others.

A single complimentary copy of the Friday Wall Street Journal.

You don't think the God of the universe cares about you?