Almost 20 years later, Tim Johnson still cries when he tells his story. Tim experienced God’s grace at a Promise Keeper’s Conference two weeks before he planned to commit suicide. Today, he pastors Pfrimmer’s Chapel in Corydon, Ind., sharing God’s love, purpose and freedom with approximately 1200 people weekly in nine services.
“For me, grace is the fact that my kids have had a daddy for almost 20 years, instead of having to visit a tombstone,” Tim said. “For me, grace is almost 20 years with the most incredible woman on planet earth and learning what covenant is and what one of the most perfect marriages in the world looks like. For me, grace is this phone call, allowing me to tell my story only because of what God has done.”
At 32, Tim was on his way to the top of Gannett Company, Inc., which owns USA Today. But he was always angry, tired, depressed and anxious. He attended church only to please his wife. One Sunday, his pastor extended an invitation to a Promise Keepers event.
“The last thing I wanted was to be stuck in a Jesus van with a bunch of Jesus freaks, listening to Jesus songs, going to a Jesus conference,” Tim said. “But I ended up saying ‘yes’ because I was a hypocrite and because I wanted them to think I was a good Christian.”
The group picked him up in a van and sure enough, started playing and singing Christian music. Tim endured the ride to Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. What the group didn’t know was that two weeks from that day, Tim planned to take his life. He had attempted it a few times and had already made financial privilege for his wife.
“I had lied so many times because of hypocrisy and my people pleasing spirit,” he said. “I felt like the only way out was suicide. I was making Pam, my wife, and our two children miserable. I thought the best thing was to take my life and free them from me.”
But God got Tim’s attention. One of the speakers interrupted his presentation to say that God had told him that a man in the audience needed to get right with God that night or wouldn’t be alive in two weeks.