For years, “The Rick & Bubba Show” co-host Rick Burgess has used his voice and ministry to help promote biblical manhood and leadership. On a recent episode of “1819 News: The Podcast,” Burgess told of a dark time in his own life when his leadership and faith in Christ were put to the test.
Early on in his marriage, Burgess said he was an immature Christian who let his wife be the spiritual leader of the family. That all changed after the birth of their first biological son. Due to complications, doctors warned Burgess that his son and wife might not survive the birthing process.
“I remember the doctor scrubbing in said, ‘You should pray.’ And so I began to pray to God, who I did know now — I had been redeemed, but I was a spiritual infant. And I began to cry out to God to save my wife and save my son,” Burgess said.
Shortly after, the doctors reported that mom and baby were alive and healthy. That’s when Burgess said God spoke to him, asking, “What if they had died?”
“‘Would I be any less great? Would I still be receiving the glory? Would you still have faith in me? Would you still trust me? Would you do what I called you to do? Could you handle what you need to do?’... That was a game-changer. What I did not know was why God was saying that to me.”
After that experience, Burgess began to take his faith and spiritual role as a father more seriously. Nine years later, he found out what God was preparing him for.
While on a speaking tour five hours from his home, Burgess got a frantic call from his wife.
“She said, ‘The baby got out of the house, has fallen in the pool and has drowned.’”
Still in shock, Burgess boarded a plane home. While en route, he questioned God about the tragic death of his son.
“I’m not the guy at three years into my relationship with Christ; I’m the guy who’s now 12 years in,” Burgess said. “And I remember just saying out loud, ‘What are you doing?’ to God. ‘What are you teaching me? Because I know you’re the giver and taker of life because I celebrated you nine years ago giving life’… I don’t want to miss this because this is a lesson I don’t want to go back to.”
Burgess said he sensed that he was being publicly tested for him and others to see if his devotion to Christ and everything that he had been preaching with his men’s ministry, The Man Church, were genuine.
“I walked into the hospital and supernaturally … I turned around, and I said, ‘Satan has grossly miscalculated this. He should have never done this to us. He should have never fallen into this. God has allowed him to do this because he knows that God is going to be glorified and Satan’s going to look like a fool. I will be even more devoted to Christ than I have ever been. All this has done has made me more devoted.’”
Burgess’s wife wrote a book over five years about that moment called “Bronner: A Journey to Understand.” In it, she wrote about how, despite the good intentions of her pastor and family members at the hospital who tried to comfort her while Burgess flew home, she said, “None of them could be my husband.”
“What if I had decided to stay in that spiritual infancy?” Burgess asked on the podcast. “You think if I walked into that moment and said, ‘Hey babe, I don’t know where God is all this. I don’t know what scripture says right now. You know this stuff, right?’... I really think that would have fallen a little flat… I think they wanted to hear what I had to say about, in this fallen world, ‘Where is God in all of this, Dad.’ and I’m thankful that I had the answers.”
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