Ricky Skaggs is grateful to see 2020 come to an end, in more ways than one. The 66-year-old is opening up about the challenges of this year, which included an unexpected quadruple bypass heart surgery, after an angiogram revealed he had severe blockage in his heart, which needed to be addressed immediately.
“Scripture tells us God always knows the thoughts of man,” Ricky told People. “That was proven to me at that moment, because while I did not speak it from my mouth, I thought about putting the angiogram off for a week. When I thought that thought, it was like I saw the Lord with a jeweler’s eye glass on. He was peering at me but never said a word. But just by His look, I knew He was saying, ‘Absolutely no.’ It put the fear of God in me. He had given me so many grace situations, but He was serious that I needed to take care of this now.”
At the time of the angiogram, Ricky was of course off the road because of the pandemic, and planning to go visit his son and wife in North Carolina.The timing of it all is something Ricky can’t ignore, and sees as divine intervention in his life.
“I have thanked the Lord hundreds of times that I wasn’t out in the middle of Texas on a tour bus, miles away from a hospital,” the bluegrass superstar acknowledges. “It was a major blessing I didn’t have a heart attack. Nothing was hurt, and nothing was destroyed or irreparable. It was just by the mercy and grace of God that all of this happened in this way.”
In hindsight, Ricky admits that he had been ignoring his heart symptoms for some time, until he knew he couldn’t put them off any more.
“God gives us grace, but we all have a tendency to kick in the boundaries of that grace,” Ricky says. “Sometimes, we are like a bull running through the fence of grace. But then, there comes a time when He has to come after us. I knew that I couldn’t stand in the shadows of my heart situation anymore. I had been fearful of a heart attack or getting a stent put in all of this time, but now, I was in a corner. I had to address it.”
Thankfully, the surgery was a success, and the Grand Ole Opry member has a new lease on life — and a message to others.
“Don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today,” Ricky urges. “That surgery gave me a brand-new heart. Not only a real heart, but a spiritual heart that has now been cleaned out, so I can hear Him better than ever before.”