Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
I lost my job.
It was the week before Christmas in 2006, my wife was at doctor’s appointment, and my friends/partners from RedState called to tell me we were out of money. The Democrats had taken back the Congress and nobody really thought they needed to buy ads on a conservative site anymore. I was out of a job.
My wife came to the front door from her doctor’s appointment. I needed to tell her. But before I could, she had to tell me she was going to the hospital. A blood clot was lodged in her jugular vein — not exactly something that happens. So off she went.
The blood clot had been discovered while doctors were scanning her lungs where they found spots. The doctors put two and two together and decided a lung biopsy was needed. There we were, the week before Christmas, in a Middle Georgia hospital. A storm raged outside and we waited.
The doctors called me back down a long hallway past a security door. They put my in-laws and me in a small room with two chairs, a plastic plant, a table, a Bible, and a phone. They told us my wife had six months to live. She had cancer. It had spread from somewhere. They did not know where. But at its end stage it had taken up residence in her lungs and there was nothing anyone could do.
A terrible wreck sent the doctors scrambling to help in the ER. I volunteered to tell my wife. I held her hand in the recovery room as she came out from under the anesthesia. I told her. I told her she was dying and I was jobless. And, by the way, it was almost six in the evening and I needed to get our kid from daycare before they charged us extra.
She didn’t believe me that she was going to die. But she was coming out of anesthesia.
I got our one year old from daycare, took her home, and got her out of the car. It was still raining. I sank into the mud and cried, leaning against the back passenger side tire of my car for support. My energy was gone. My composure had fled. There I was in the mud covered in snot, tears, and rain with a one year old patting my face as if to tell me everything was going to be alright.
But it wasn’t.
I regained my strength. We got inside. I got us cleaned up and fed her then put her to bed. I went to my office, closed the door, and I cried. Then I prayed. Then I cried some more and prayed through the tears. At some point something very real came over me. I remember it being almost a presence — a force I had never felt. People talk about the peace that transcends all understanding and here it was. I was calm.
Family came to watch Evelyn and I headed off to the hospital to reiterate to Christy that she would die. She still did not believe me, but we talked about things we never talk about except when confronting mortality. We talked about my job, our church home, how to raise our child — we talked in ways we rarely talk outside of times of crisis.
The doctor came in late. He told us they looked again in pathology and they really were not sure what was in her lungs. But they had now concluded it was not cancer and she would not die. They were sending it off to the Mayo Clinic to be analyzed. Christy looked at me, smiled, and said, “I told ya.” The next day, a group in Washington offered to buy RedState and keep me on. A few years later, CNN hired me. Within a year, I was filling in on radio in Macon, GA because the local talk host got arrested in a crack house. I had no radio experience. Herman Cain was running for President at the time and the big news talk station in Atlanta needed someone. The President of the company heard me on the radio, thought it was my show, and offered me a job. I’ve been on WSB ever since.
Were that the end of the story, we could chalk it up to lots of things.
Ten years later, I was headed into an ICU unit unable to breathe. My lungs had filled up with blood clots. My oxygen level was falling down below 85%. The doctor in the ICU was asking if they’d taken that body (mine) to the morgue yet after seeing my scans. Nope. I hadn’t died yet. They were expecting me to. As all of this was going on, the Mayo Clinic was calling my wife. They thought the spots in her lungs from ten years prior could turn to cancer and wanted her to follow up.
Yes, in fact, my wife now has a genetic form of lung cancer. She takes a small pill every day that keeps the numerous, but tiny, tumors from growing. Had she not been misdiagnosed in 2006, we would not have known now until it was too late to treat her.
God has a plan, y’all. Sometimes — most times — it is not your plan. But he has one. There are times the world looks like it is coming to an end. There are times your life is upside down. There are times you just want to curl up and die or hide under a rock. But God has a plan. Everything is going to be alright.
Tomorrow is Good Friday. It is good because the good news is that if you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you get eternal life with him. It is good because he died on a cross willingly as a substitute for you. He conquered death for you. On the cross, Jesus was the greatest sinner that ever lived. The sky went dark and God turned his back on him there was so much sin there on that cross. All the sins of the world were there piled up on one man. Jesus took it. He bore our shame. And now you just need to trust in him. He does the rest.
I know you are thinking there is more to it. I know you are thinking I have not walked in your shoes. I have not. But I have been through hell and back in my life. I have lost much. I thought I was losing my wife. I have born burdens and seen my family threatened and my livelihood put in jeopardy and there have been so many times I have thought God just got tired of dealing with me or forgot about me because so much was happening and the burdens were piling up as life itself seemed to be spiraling out of my control.
I have been there. And I write all of this to you now so you know you are not alone in life’s troubles. I may not have your burden, but I have them. I may not have tasted of your misery, but I have tasted of my own.
And I know one thing is true even though sometimes I have to remind myself when the winds of the world blow and the fury of doubt creeps in — God’s got this. He is in control even when you think your life is spiraling out of control. Everything is going to be alright.
The tomb is empty. Heaven’s throne is occupied. God really does have this.