Oct 25, 2010

Josh Hamilton - Story of Grace and Redemption

I have always been a huge baseball fan.  If you read this blog, you know I am a rabid Red Sox fan.  I have also been a closet Texas Rangers fan for about 15 years.  While my loyalties are still at Fenway Park, my baseball hero now resides in Arlington.  By now, many of you know the story of Josh Hamilton.  You probably know that this guy was the "can't miss" draft pick of 1999.  He had all the talent that every young man dreams of.  He was also the object of his own idolatry.  You probably have heard about the accident that sidelined him and his subsequent slide into tattoo parlors, alcohol, and drugs.  You have probably heard about his banishment from baseball and how he hit rock bottom.  You have probably heard about how he turned to Jesus Christ, cleaned up, and began to play some baseball again - eventually getting a second chance to return to baseball.  You know about the other-worldly performance in the 2008 Home Run Derby launching rockets into the stands at old Yankee Stadium.  You probably also know that Josh led his Rangers to defeat the "evil empire" this last week to advance for the first time to the World Series.  For all these reasons, Josh Hamilton is my hero.

I sill think it's ok for a 42-year old guy to have sports heroes.  I certainly love the fact that as a father of 3 (soon to be 4), I have someone for my boys to look up to.  I love the fact that, despite the pit he had to go through, I have someone I can talk to my sons about not only the consequences of their choices but also that true repentance is answered by grace and redemption.  I love the look in my oldest sons eyes when I presented him an "autographed" copy of Josh's book "Beyond Belief" last Christmas.

Josh Hamilton is not my hero because he can smash a baseball further than I ever dreamed. Or because he can throw a rope from center field to home plate.  Or because he destroyed my most hated team on the planet.  Those all help.  Josh is my hero because he faced his past like a true man of God, repented of his sin, fell upon the grace of God, and has spent his subsequent life exalting Jesus Christ.  When I met Josh last year, I said to him, "You have a lot of dads that are praying for you because of the example you are to our sons."  He said "Thanks.  Please keep praying."

To see more of how Josh Hamilton is the real deal, check out this video: Josh Hamilton "I Am Second"