One of Rush Limbaugh’s friends and former employees wrote Friday about the late talk show host’s journey to the Christian faith in the years leading up to his death.
Joel C. Rosenberg, a bestselling author and editor-in-chief of All Israel News, wrote a column reflecting on his friendship with Limbaugh, which began when the host hired him in 1994 to work as a writer and research director for “The Limbaugh Letter,” his monthly publication.
Rush gave his life to Christ a few years ago & it gave him tremendous hope as he faced his toughest fight. So successful professionally, Rush also faced some dark times personally. But when I went to visit him last year, I was so encouraged by his faith. https://t.co/zwKn3Eli97
— Joel C. Rosenberg (@JoelCRosenberg) February 19, 2021
“I had the rare opportunity to see Rush’s extraordinary, God-given talent firsthand,” Rosenberg wrote, going on to recount how he worked closely with Limbaugh and members of his inner circle, which he described as an invaluable education he could not have received anywhere else.
“But I will be honest – I worried about Rush over the years,” Rosenberg continued, mentioning Limbaugh’s marital difficulties, drug addiction, hearing loss, and the fallout from various comments he made that drew backlash. “But those things were symptoms. At his core, he was struggling with something deeper.”
From his vantage point, which he conceded was from a relative distance, Rosenberg said of Limbaugh, “I believed he was struggling spiritually.”
Mentioning how Rush’s brother, David Limbaugh, is an outspoken evangelical Christian, Rosenberg believed that Rush, by comparison, was long “resisting a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Rosenberg remembered discussing matters of faith with him occasionally, but he admitted he was intimidated by a larger-than-life figure such as Limbaugh, despite his kindness. As an example of Limbaugh’s generosity, he referenced how the talk show host interviewed him and often extolled his books on-air, a gesture that “simply was not done in his world.”
Despite his personal respect for Limbaugh as a man at the top of his industry, Rosenberg said when he thought of him, he was often bothered by the words of Jesus: “What profits a man to gain the whole world, but to lose his soul?”
“That’s what I feared for Rush,” Rosenberg wrote. “Maybe that seems presumptuous. Maybe it was. But it came out of my love for him. No other reason.”
“So, I would talk with him about the Lord when I could. We would email about lots of things, and occasionally I’d share a Bible verse with him,” he continued. “But mostly I prayed for him – for the past 28 years, I asked the Lord to bless him and draw Rush into the kingdom of heaven. And I asked the Lord to bring other strong believers into his life that would be far more credible in Rush’s life than little old me.”
“I was not the only one. I met Evangelicals all over America who, when they learned that I once worked for him, would tell me, ‘I love Rush and I’m praying for him every day.'”
When Limbaugh was diagnosed with cancer last year, Rosenberg asked to meet with him, to which he agreed. When he arrived at Limbaugh’s hotel in Palm Beach, Florida, Limbaugh was not well enough to meet with him, and Rosenberg had to hurry back to his family in Israel when the government was shutting down travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I never got to see Rush again in person,” he said.
Rosenberg later learned, however, that Limbaugh had made a profound conversion to Christianity in 2019.
“It was because he had truly wrestled through the claims of Jesus for himself, and come to the conclusion that Jesus really did die on the cross, rise again, and was the Messiah, the Savior and the King of the universe,” said Rosenberg. “And having placed his faith in Christ’s love and forgiveness, he now had a certain, definitive hope that he was going to heaven when he died, and peace for every day before that.”
Rosenberg noted how extraordinary it was for Limbaugh to have spoken about his faith publicly in the months before his death. “For such a public person, Rush was also intensely private. But he began talking about his faith in Christ, and I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt it was real.”
Really quite remarkable to hear @rushlimbaugh discussing his cancer setback and yet pointing out all of his blessings, "it's just a series of blessings." pic.twitter.com/CZg4V5YmAE
— Heather Champion (@winningatmylife) October 19, 2020
Last October, Limbaugh told his audience about the comfort he had received from his Christian faith, saying in part:
I try to remain committed to the idea what’s supposed to happen will happen when it’s meant to. I mentioned at the outset of this — the first day I told you — that I have personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
It is of immense value, strength, confidence, and that’s why I’m able to remain fully committed to the idea that what is supposed to happen will happen when it’s meant to.
There’s some comfort in knowing that some things are not in our hands. There’s a lot of fear associated with that, too, but there is some comfort. It’s helpful… God, is it helpful. It’s helpful to be able to trust and to believe in a higher plan.
Related: Fighting Through Failure: In Memory Of Rush Limbaugh