if you have turned on a tv this month you have heard/seen this name. you've heard people talk about him. maybe you saw him hit 28 home runs in one round of the home run derby in 2008. in the world of baseball he is a household name.
yes, i am biased, because he is in my dad's side of the family. i grew up watching him play at West Raleigh and at Athens Drive High School. i remember how excited my family was when he was the number one draft pick at age 18. i didn't really understand what was going on back then, i just thought he had won something cool, and i got a few signed baseballs, a t-shirt, and a few bobbleheads out of it. and yeah it ended up being pretty cool haha. it's an awesome thing. but that is not why I write this. that is not what is important. actually, his home runs aren't important. the Rangers' playoff run and wins are not important. not compared to what really matters.
“This isn't really about baseball.” - Josh Hamilton
no, it's not really about baseball. what really matters is that his story is an incredible picture of God's grace and mercy. it is a reminder that anyone..anyone..can be redeemed by our Savior Jesus Christ! if you don't know Josh's story, i'm not going to try and explain the whole thing right now, but he talks about it in the video below, and i will guide you to this article. if you haven't read his book Beyond Belief, it is an encouraging and inspirational must read.
even when Josh hit rock bottom, deep in drug and alcohol addiction, God picked him up and washed him clean. ONLY God's power can make a change like that. no it's not easy, and yes, he's had struggles and made mistakes since then, but he has been made new in the Lord. he has been used to reach so many people for Christ, and this is the reason i rejoice! yes, his home runs make me happy, but the way that God uses him as a witness and an inspiration is what is INCREDIBLE! because winning souls for Christ is the most important thing.
Josh's story makes me think about the fact that no one is out of God's reach. i am guilty of making judgments and thinking in the back of my head that certain people will never change their ways. this is an awful mindset. i'm thankful that God has changed me and continues to change me every day. if He can change me, and Josh, and countless other believers, then Christ can change anyone.
i cannot give up on my loved ones who do not know Christ. i cannot give up on strangers who do not know Christ. the power of the Holy Spirit is in me, and I am going to USE it. God gives gifts and skills for a reason, and that reason is His glory. i may not be able to hit 28 home runs, or even one for that matter (i was always more of a bunter), but i can talk to people about Christ. i can give Him the glory for everything. i can always give people a chance, and show them God's love no matter what. Josh's story encourages me to do this and i hope it will help you too. i need you to help hold me to this responsibility that God has given us, to glorify Him and point others to his redeeming love and grace!
wherever you are in your walk with God, or even if you don't have a relationship with Him at all, He is waiting for you with open arms. He longs to transform your life. we are all sinners, no matter where we are in life or what we've done. because of this, Jesus died on the cross to take our place, and that is the most amazing gift we will ever receive.
so whenever you see Josh pop up on tv or in the news, or hear about him getting a Canada Dry shower rather than a champagne shower, think about the reason he is there: our Savior Jesus Christ, who truly offers amazing grace. Praise the Lord!
2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."
my chains are gone, i've been set free
my God, my Savior, has ransomed me
and like a flood, His mercy reigns
unending love, amazing grace!