I had a feeling it was going to be a very bad year. In January, my grandmother passed away. It’s always bad when you lose a grandparent. But it’s worse when the last of them dies. You’re saying goodbye to more than just a person. You’re saying goodbye to a generation. And you suddenly realize your relationship to future generations has changed.
February wasn’t much better. My plans to adopt a little girl from Vietnam were suddenly thwarted by circumstances beyond my control. I really couldn’t imagine things getting much worse so I just waited for something good to turn my fortunes around.
In March, I got one of those phone calls that, try as I might, I will never be able to forget. Until then, I could only imagine what a man must feel like after getting a call from a doctor telling him his wife had a brain tumor that would require immediate surgery, which may or may not prove to be successful. Or what a man must feel like when his wife calls and says she’s leaving and may or may not be coming back. In other words, I had never known such uncertainty.
Then, in April, there was the lawsuit. The press kept calling but, for once, I really didn’t want to talk. Everything in my life had become unraveled in just a few short weeks. I just wanted to be left alone.
In May, I got some closure on my future but it wasn’t to my liking. It wasn’t part of my plan. And it left me face down on the floor of my bedroom in the middle of the night screaming in agony. I would be screaming so loud and so long that my voice would not recover in time for a speech in Michigan five days later.
While I was lying on the floor, the phone was ringing. It was my best friend from Oregon calling to offer consolation. I didn’t answer the phone. I just hurled it into a wall and left the shattered pieces on the floor. It was pretty symbolic of my life at that moment. Had this all happened just twelve years before, the solution would have been simple. There was a 45 ACP sitting on the floor just five feet away. It was right in the middle of a bunch of broken plastic from the shattered headpiece. The old atheist would have used one of those 230-grain hollow points as a means of escape. The new Christian didn’t have the same options.
Mike was talking about the First Letter of John when I went to see him preach for the first time at Mayfaire. He told us all to read it like we would a cherished love letter written to us and for us by someone madly in love with us.