Olympic Superstar Michael Phelps Reconciled to God and Father
Mark Ellis After competing in four Olympiads, Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time. But after a damaging photo of Phelps emerged showing him smoking drugs through a bong, and two DUI arrests, his life hit bottom.
Phelps entered rehab carrying a book Lewis gave him, The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren.
“It’s turned me into believing there is a power greater than myself and there is a purpose for me on this planet,” Phelps told ESPN.
After reading the book for a couple days, Phelps called Lewis. “Man this book is crazy!” he exclaimed. “The thing that’s going on…oh my gosh…my brain, I can’t thank you freaking enough, man. You saved my life.”
Lewis felt encouraged that Phelps was emerging from his suicidal despair. “I could see he was coming out of it – he will make it. Then he started calling me with things he was reading and I thought, It’s sinking in.”
Warren’s book also convinced Phelps to reconcile with his father, because God’s heart is always for reconciliation.
Indeed, chapter 20 of The Purpose Driven Life begins with this: “(God) has restored our relationship with him through Christ, and has given us the ministry of restoring relationships.” (2 Cor. 5:18)
“Relationships are always worth restoring,” Warren concludes.
Fred Phelps was surprised when he got an invitation to attend “a family week” with his son.
The younger Phelps was even more surprised when his father accepted the invitation. “I was shocked,” he told ESPN. “I didn’t think he would come.”
When the two men first saw each other they opened their arms and embraced in a big hug. “It was good, challenging at times, but probably the biggest learning experience we’ve had with one other,” Michael says.
In November 2014, Phelps left the Meadows rehab facility and resumed training for the Rio Olympics. Three months later he asked his longtime girlfriend, Nicole Johnson, to be his wife. On May 5th, 2016, Boomer Robert, their firstborn, came into the world.