At 29, Rob was tired of trying. A childhood filled with rejection and fear left him rootless. Young adult years spent searching for meaning in fitness, sports, women, drinking, and drugs left him empty. “My life was a mess. I wrote myself off as a lost cause – an unemployed alcoholic and drug abuser.” Another failed relationship left him hopeless. There was just one light in his life – a Christian friend who not only ‘preached’ Jesus to him, he lived “Jesus” … meeting Rob right where he was at with help and hope.
Over the years, Brad faithfully shared Jesus – and accepted Rob’s disinterest with grace. He just kept being a friend … and kept offering Jesus. Brad never lectured or talked down to Rob even when he rescued him from drunken dangers. One miraculous night, Brad invited Rob yet again to join him for a Bible Study. Grieving over the loss of his latest relationship, Rob agreed to go.
“I don’t remember what the topic was or even much of the conversation. The ten or twelve men there were accepting and kind. They listened. I listened. And when they asked me if I wanted Jesus to be in my life, I said ‘yes.’ As they prayed, I broke out in a sweat and began to shake uncontrollably. The power and presence of the Holy Spirit flooded me with a peace that refreshed me. I wanted my life to change.”
But positive change doesn’t just happen. Decades of pain and poor choices don’t simply evaporate because of a ‘want to.’ Born into a family with drug, alcohol, anger, and relational issues, Rob had no map for change. All it took to crumble his newfound hope was a crisis phone call from the old girlfriend. Upset by a beating from a client, she texted him pictures of her injuries and begged Rob to rekindle their relationship. With naïve hope, he went to her condo. The evening quickly deteriorated into drugs, drinking, … and arguing. Rather than fight, Rob chose to go to bed.
He soon awoke to loud banging and shouts of “Police! Open Up!” Dazed he asked, “What is going on?” The vengeful response was, “I called and told them you raped me and tried to kill me.” Rob couldn’t believe what she was saying. The lie, the betrayal, hopelessness, and fear converged with a lifetime of abuse, addiction, and poor choices to create ‘the perfect storm.’ All memory of the hope of Christ fled his mind. Rob jumped up and cried, “I can’t do this anymore. I’m ending it here.” Running through the third story window, he counted on the pavement to end what felt like a wasted life.
God had a different plan. Clipping an awning as he fell, Rob’s body spun and slowed enough to save his life. He crushed his left arm, collapsed his lung, and broke his back. Excruciating pain greeted his return to consciousness. Rob cried out asking God why He had not just let him die. ‘Hadn’t the years of child abuse, addiction, and desperate searching for praise and approval in bodybuilding and with women been enough hell?’ Then God reminded him of the Bible Study—of the peace, he felt when he surrendered to God.
Handcuffed to the hospital bed, Rob remembered that night and the same peace returned. “I heard a still small voice tell me, ‘the charges will be dropped, the bills paid, and you will walk again.’ I felt like I had at the Bible Study. I knew it was God filling me with hope.”
Rob’s mom didn’t have that hope. Acknowledging the doctor’s prognosis that Rob would never walk again, she said, “I hoped life would have ended for you so you would not have to suffer in this life anymore.” Miraculously, Rob’s ears were deaf to the harshness of the words; he only heard the intention of love his mother meant. “God had made it clear to me that I had to forgive any who hurt me if I wanted to heal. I understood forgiveness was the way God would bring healing to my body and my heart.” Determined to walk and determined to share the hope he felt with others, Rob moved into recovery.
He began to draw on his years in the gym to help him bring his faith into his daily routine. “There are a lot of parallels between faith and fitness,” Rob shares. Physical muscles and spiritual muscles have a lot in common. In exercise, you can work too hard or do too little; you can make mistakes and have setbacks; results require perseverance and patience. As I began to see that, I understood what I needed to do with my faith.”
Two Bible verses that propelled Rob then—and now—worked into his soul. “In Hosea 4:6, God says ‘His people perish because of lack of knowledge.’ I had seen and felt that. Then in Philippians 4:13, it says ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ I needed that.” Walking with the Word helped Rob regain his ability to walk in the world.
Rob’s physical recovery and spiritual development demanded great effort and great patience. He had his share of mistakes and setbacks and even felt the darkness try to close back in on him. But the hope and light of Christ won out! Seven surgeries, extensive hours of excruciating physical therapy, and the painful process of restoring relationships are all part of the story God continues to write in Rob’s life. His passionate desire is to be a ‘face for God’s goodness’ and do the works God created him to do!
Rob began by faithfully sowing love back into his parent’s lives, trusting the mercy and love of His heavenly Father to produce a great harvest. His mother accepted Christ, broke free of the drugs, and lives on-fire for Christ. Rob’s father felt unworthy of love and could not break free from the demons that plagued him. While his dad died in captivity to drugs, Rob holds fast to the hope that in his dad’s final moments, he cried out for the love of Jesus he had seen and felt from Rob.
As Rob became healthy, God brought a helpmeet to him. A fellow fitness buff, wife Alyssa, is his treasured gift from God. Now parents to a toddler boy and infant girl, Rob says, “We’re raising them with Jesus and jumping jacks. We’re breaking generational curses!”
Determined to help others grasp the power God offers to transform lives, Rob and Alyssa launched the Kingdom Fit ministry. “Fitness is a doorway I understand all too well. It is an industry that is all about ‘the look’ but the emptiness inside kills. I find that when people exercise, they feel better about themselves and they begin to open up. With Kingdom F.I.T. (Faith in Training), we can be there with Jesus when the door opens.”
Our world has a rampant suicide problem and major drug issues. I want to use my life to speak life into people. Kingdom Fitness will draw the lost and broken and build a fellowship of fitness. Those who are a part of Kingdom Fit will be a community. We will be like Christ, meeting people where they are at … and watching Him transform it all.”
Rob Decker is a published author and public speaker whose primary mission is to share his story of how his failed suicide attempt led to a relationship with God. He shares the transformative power of Christ who took decades of sadness, anger, and confusion and created a testimony of forgiveness, understanding, and love. Rob is also the founder of Kingdom F.I.T., which is a personal training ministry that blends faith and fitness to make clients strong from the inside out! Learn more at robdeckerspeaks.com
Billie Jo Youmans is Content Coordinator and Assistant Staff Writer for Inspiration Ministries.
If you would like one of our anointed prayer ministers to support you as you lift your voice in prayer, please click on the link below.
US / Canada:
UK / International:
+44 (0) 84 5683 0584
You can watch our powerful programming on either Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Chromecast, via livestream at ini.tv/livestream, or on the Inspiration TV mobile app — click here for all the ways to watch!