Ann Peebles, her husband, Don Bryant, and I wrote a song that Tina Turner later recorded, entitled, “I Can’t Stand the Rain.” Seal recently recorded it as well, so did Missy Elliott. It was written back in 1973.
My life took a turn, and I started saying, “God bless you.” Every time I answered the phone I’d say, “God bless you.” People at CBS made fun of me. They said, “Did I sneeze?” I said, “No. I’m just saying, ‘God bless you.’ Hope you have a great day.” So everyone always called me “The God Bless You Guy.”
I found myself in the gutter. I had lost my job. I had to move out of my expensive apartment. I was in New York City without any income. They were in breach of contract and had paid me off with a sum of money because they had gone past my anniversary period when they needed to renew my contract. With the pay off, after taxes in New York City, I barely had enough money for soup. Enter the IRS. Because of back taxes, they took all the money I had in the bank, so I didn’t have anything except for a name and royalties that were also tied up. So I was really having to trust God.
When CBS sold out to Sony, they gave all the executives a check, but they didn’t give it to you all at once. They gave a stipend, and then they would pay you monthly, over time. If you left the company for any reason, you would not get any money after that. I left the company in the middle of getting all my money. I didn’t think I was going to get another dime.
One day I sat down and said, “God, you know I need money. I need rent. I need money for food, and I need money for some other things.” I started searching the scriptures and found out that God provided for his other servants in the Bible. I wrote down all these scriptures and prayed them back back to God. I then picked up the phone and called the IRS agent and said, “Look, would you have mercy? Would you release some of my funds? I need some money.” He kind of chuckled for a moment and asked me to hold the phone. When he returned he asked, “What money do you want me to release?” I said, “The money from BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) royalties, I just need something coming in. They give you money every quarter. I need some money.” So he said, “God bless you.” He said “God bless you” to me. I thought, “There’s a God in heaven.” At that moment, my trust bridge in God was established. I knew then that I could really trust Him.
I found there was a job in Chattanooga, a Christian station. I said to myself, “Christians don’t pay any money. I’ll probably be working half the time for free.” I sent a recording and a resume anyway. I also sent a very to the point arrogant letter. They probably should not have hired me, and the guy who read the letter was also very arrogant and to the point. He loved it. He said, “That’s the kind of guy I want to hire.” I went to the interview, and he hired me. I arrived in Chattanooga to work, but the job was not available at the time. The station was going through licensing difficulties with the FCC.
I got to Chattanooga by faith and trusting God. I was a greeter at the church that I left in New York, Times Square Church, that David Wilkerson founded. They knew I was leaving. I told them about the station and that it probably wouldn’t be on the air for another three months. They said, “Well, you want us to give you some money?” I said, “I have to pray about it first.” They said, “If you need rent for three months, that seems pretty easy. We’ll give you that.” I said, “I got to pray about it first.” Rent was $470.00. So I prayed and asked, “Lord, how much money should I ask the church for?” Through much prayer God kept giving me a number; $700.00. I said, “Wait a minute. Three times $470.00 is more than $700.00.” And God said, “Trust me.” So I asked them for $700.00, and the guy who was in charge of benevolence said, “Are you sure? $700.00 is not going to get you through three months.” I said, “Well, that’s what God told me to ask for.” He gave me $700.00.
I got to Chattanooga having already paid the down payment and the first month’s rent from some cash I had. I had $700.00 from the church left over. I received a royalty check shortly thereafter. The amount was just what I needed to pay the next two month’s rent. God showed me that I could trust Him.