After suffering from a life-threatening pulmonary embolism last month, megachurch Pastor John Gray returned to the pulpit at Relentless Church in Greenville, South Carolina, on Sunday.
"It's been close to two months since I've stood here. … And I'm not the same; which was the purpose of the season," Gray, 49, told the congregation at the start of his sermon on Aug. 14.
His wife, Aventer Gray, shared periodic updates on social media regarding her husband's condition while urging her followers to pray for a miracle. As reported by Greenville News, she was visibly emotional when Gray went up to the pulpit on Sunday.
Before preaching, Gray said a prayer, acknowledging that he now has a renewed perspective on God's sovereignty and protection.
"The devil cannot do anything in our lives without express permission from God," the megachurch pastor contended. God "will not allow demonic things to happen to [His] children unless it's meant to be for [their] good."
"People used to say a lot; 'the devil should have killed me when he had the chance.' I actually mean it. And he missed," Gray said. "I'm not just talking about me. I'm talking about you. He missed. You and I should have been cut off, but he missed."
According to The Christian Post, Gray also shared that doctors told him that he could have died if the blood clot shifted in any way.
"Lord Jesus, get the glory from this moment in a way that you never have before. And I thank you for bringing me back to this place. It was not guaranteed. It was at one point highly unlikely that I would be carrying or holding a mic again," Gray said in another prayer in front of his congregation on Sunday.
"What was scheduled in Hell, [was] for me to be in a [coffin], … but I'm on this platform right here because You willed it to be so. And for this and every other blessing, I say thank you," he added.
"And to the people of God that have prayed and interceded, pushed and fought and cried and literally banged on the doors of Heaven and was like: 'Lord, not him, not now and not from this,' Thank you."
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Marcus Ingram/Stringer
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.