Mohler, the 47-year-old president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, suffered life-threatening pulmonary emboli following surgery in December. He talked about recovery and lessons learned.

What's the latest report on your health?
I'm on blood-thinning medication to prevent the formation of a deadly clot. But the good news is I'm feeling well, gaining strength, and just extremely thankful to be where I am right now.

What did this experience teach you?
I'm thankful that I went into this with a very firm faith and with a theology that begins with the sovereignty of a loving God. I did not have to wonder if I was simply lost in the cosmos experiencing a medical crisis.

The thing that amazed me the most was how I had a very hard time thinking as I normally would. Especially in the intensive care unit, I would try to pray but could not get words and thoughts to line up. The body really can kind of overrule the mind at times. At a deeper level, I was calmed and comforted by verses like Romans 8:26—the Holy Spirit knows how to pray for me better than I know how to pray for myself and is interceding with groanings too deep for words. Even when my words don't work, I am not alone or helpless.

What kind of lifestyle changes have you made?
It was probably a healthy thing to have life come to a complete standstill in terms of what I thought I was supposed to do and be about. I was basically knocked out of travel. I've only had one trip since the surgery. That trip was for denominational responsibilities.

Were any of the problems related to a stressful lifestyle?
No. Some people assume they were, because they think they know my lifestyle. The root of all of this was a congenital defect in my intestinal system.

So for the long ...

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