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The 700 Club

Wielding the Most Powerful Weapon in the Universe

Randy Rudder - 700 Club Producer

“She explained to me that within an hour, I would expire if I didn't allow myself to be ventilated and I said, ‘No, I'm not,’ because I looked at the statistics, and at the time six out of seven COVID patients going on the ventilator, we're not ever coming off,” David Johnson says. 

In March 2020, David, a sportswriter who covers Ole Miss football for CBS Sports, attended a conference in Nashville. While he was there, he began to notice something odd.

“I had my family with me,” he says. “We ate at a very good restaurant by reputation in Nashville, and I remember leaving there, and my wife and I talking about, ‘That was the worst meal we ever had. It had no taste to it.'"

David returned to Oxford, Mississippi and began to feel ill.  

“The breathing starts to become an issue. The coughing, the wheezing becomes an issue,” he recalls. “So I decided that I need to go get tested for this Coronavirus. And I was tested outdoors in an alley behind the clinic, under a tailgating tent and in the middle of a thunderstorm.”

David’s test was positive. he was admitted to the Baptist Memorial Hospital in Oxford. The next week, his condition began deteriorating quickly. 

"I called my oldest daughter, Sydney, who is a senior at Ole Miss,” David says. “And I told Sydney, ‘I can't breathe. Something's going on.’ I told Sydney over and over, ‘I think I'm dying.'"

Later, a nurse told him he would have to be intubated. “I pulled my family up on a tablet, so I was able to talk to them via Zoom. And they convinced me to go ahead and be ventilated.”

His wife Ashley and daughter also tested positive. However, their symptoms were not severe.

“We were in quarantine for 21 days. So I just prayed, prayed that – I knew I had to be there for my children. So it was very hard."   

That night, David lost consciousness. 

“So day eight comes along and they tell me David has 20% chance of making it off the vent,” Ashley recalls. “Thank God for that 20. We were just going to hang on to that 20% and just keep praying.” 

Around day 10, David’s liver and kidneys began falling. at one point, one of the doctors told Ashley to think about planning his funeral. 

“They told me to go ahead and just pull the plug--take him off the vent. And I told them no, I believed in miracles,” she says. “And my husband was a fighter, and I was not going to get between God and my husband.”

Ashley began contacting friends and family around Oxford asking them to pray. She also set up a Facebook page on Palm Sunday of that week, David’s pastor told the congregation to pray for him. 

His pastor, Fish Robinson, prayed that morning, “I want us to pray believing with no doubt, for healing for a guy named David Johnson, a local guy, that means so much to us.”

The next day, doctors were surprised to see David’s vitals begin to improve. 

“On Palm Sunday, they told me that he had improved for 48 straight hours,” Ashley adds. “And from then on, it was just, we were going uphill and he was doing better, a little bit better every day. And then the next Sunday is Easter Sunday, when they call me and say, ‘I think we're going to take him off the vent tomorrow.'"

After 46 days, he was released from the hospital Covid-free. His brush with death changed David forever. 

“I was prayed out of there, and I don't know why God chose to spare me,” he says. “He left air in my lungs so that I can tell this story, that we get up every morning with the most powerful weapon in the universe. And that's our ability to pray directly to our Lord and Savior. And He hears us. I talked to every doctor who worked on my case, looking for a medical explanation for how I recovered, And I've received nothing but blank stares in terms of a medical explanation.”

Since then, he’s made a near full recovery and is once again covering Ole Miss football, and he believes in the power of prayer more than ever.

“We can pray while we're walking down the street. We can pray while we're in the shower. We can pray while we're driving down the interstate. He takes our call every time,” David says. “And it may not always be the answer that we're looking for. We must accept His will and live life as best as we possibly can. We're closer as a family, we're closer to God. And I truly believe this experience that I went through, and that my family went through, was God showing me and arming me with a story that I can share with the world about the power of prayer.”

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