When I sat down at my favorite tea house to interview Rodney Harper, a man who wrote a book called, God’s Got Jokes, I was ready to laugh. Jokes? Okay Rodney, tell me some jokes. Make me laugh. Toward the end of our time together, we did just that, laugh and laugh. But in the beginning, he had a story to tell, and I was ready to listen.
Rodney began by painting a picture of his life five years ago – foreclosure on his home, repossessed car, bills mounting higher by the day. Not a pretty picture. He also expressed the pressure he felt to provide financially for another person, his wife. He said, “My wife likes to eat every day. Usually three meals.” Huge grin on his face. (Oh yeah, there’s a jokester in there for sure!)
Seriously though, the visual Rodney presented was pretty grim. He wasn’t sure how he was going to bounce back. As he sat across from his wife, discussing how they were going to pay the bills, it suddenly hit him: just as God had put Jonah in the belly of the whale to deliver him exactly where Jonah did NOT want to go, Rodney was experiencing the same thing. He stopped and laughed, “God’s Got Jokes. I’m exactly where I don’t want to be. But here I am.”
Rodney found himself with a choice to make. “Do I continue to do what I’ve been doing, relying solely on myself? Or is it time to stop and get back to the basics of Life?” He chose the latter: to get back to the plain and simple Truth of What Is.
As the days progressed, Rodney would hear God’s voice luring him with the words, “Come on, Rodney, I’ve got a project for you.” To which Rodney would respond, “But I’ve already got a project, I’m trying to get a job!” See, Rodney was content enough to be back, reading his Bible, just as his grandmother had taught him to do as a child, but he was still not completely submitting himself to a higher plan.
Not aware of exactly when the shift had taken hold of him, the next thing he knew, he was immersed in the writing of a book. He admitted it was the first time he had purposely set out to do something for God, and the result was that the book just flowed. “The more I poured out, the more He poured in. I came to realize how gracious God is. Everything we need, down to every question, He has already laid out for us,” Rodney explained.
Throughout our time together, I heard Rodney speak of the many lessons he learned through writing the book and listening within. Here are a few lessons he shared:
- we’re taken through some really tough things so we’re able to hear
- we’re not meant to wait until something tragic happens to take action
- just because you have a steady income doesn’t mean you’re “off the clock” with God. It’s easy to have Faith when things are looking good.
But the one theme Rodney spoke of more than any others was Trust. He believes that if you Trust God, He can’t do anything but take care of you. Nice philosophy there. No wonder we got along so well.
Before we parted ways, Rodney shared, “I’m at a place now where I’m enjoying life a lot more…and that’s a peace you just can’t buy.”
Thank you for sharing your time, your positive energy, and your story with me, Rodney. You have blessed me with what I love most – the ability to connect with another person while sharing your Truth.
“What I give you through God’s Got Jokes is encouragement. What He gives you is Life.” ~Rodney D. Harper
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