I wasn’t looking to be freaked out. It was 3:30 a.m., I had been working for over 22 hours, and I had to drive 45 minutes to Starkville, Mississippi. All I wanted was sleep.
While driving down the foggy, pitch-black highway, I turned on a talk radio show where the host was discussing whether kids should play with BB guns. I have a strong opinion on the topic, so when the host invited callers to respond, I picked up my cell phone and called.
The line was busy.
But I wasn’t giving up – I had nothing else to do. I dialed the number again and again, getting the same busy signal. Then the radio host said, “Alright, our first caller is David from Arkansas. David, are you there?”
“Hehh-lo,” said the caller in a familiar Ozark twang.
My mouth dropped open. David, the first caller, was my father.
“Dad?” I said out loud.
I was dumbfounded, confused, staring at the radio, and trying to listen to my dad as he shared his opinion with the host. And I could hardly think.
There was no doubt it was my father’s voice on the line, but the chances of this freakish coincidence happening – at an hour at which I’m never awake, in a rural area in which I don’t live, on a radio show I’ve never listened to – seemed impossible.
After Dad finished making his comment, I dialed his phone number.
“Hehh-lo,” he said.
“Dad! What are you doing up?” I nearly shouted into the phone.
“But – you were just on the radio, Dad.”
“You know, you were talking about kids using BB guns.”
“Oh yeah, on the Kevin McCullough Show. Yeah, I called that show two nights ago.”
“Wait – what?” I said. And then I realized the reason I was getting a busy signal: the show wasn’t live. It had somehow been broadcast live two nights before when my dad called in from Arkansas. And two days later, at 3:30 a.m., at the very moment I was trying to call in, they replayed my dad’s call on a radio station in Mississippi.
The next day, I wondered if the radio show was just some audio hallucination brought on by 22 hours without sleep. Later on, when I called my dad and we talked about it, things got even more weird.
“Josh,” he said. “I want to tell you something. When you called me at 3:30 a.m., I was physically sick, and I was feeling emotionally low as well. And after we talked, the sickness and low feelings completely went away. I could feel the power of God, Josh. It was strong.”
I didn’t even know how to respond to that. The bizarre intervention left me feeling like I had played a part in a Twilight Zone episode with no clear point.
So for two weeks, I repeatedly asked God to help me see why He would do such a weird miracle. What was He showing me? What was He showing my dad? But no matter how much I questioned, the only thing that would consistently come to mind was a miracle from the Bible – that time Jesus mixed spit and dirt, rubbed it into a blind man’s eyes, and told him to go wash in a specific pool. The guy did it, and he was healed.
And I thought my miracle was weird.
Finally, I went back and reread the passage about the mud-and-spit-mix miracle. It was there I found the purpose of my own weird miracle: “This happened so that the works of God might be displayed in [my dad]” (John 9:3, alteration mine).
So it wasn’t so much about my dad or me – it was about God, about His glory. I hate to admit it, but that’s probably why it took me so long to get it.