A friend sent me a letter recently that aroused my curiosity. He made reference to the “changed life of Josh Hamilton, centre- fielder for the Texas Rangers.”
I’m not the sports fan that my friend is, so I had to do some research to see who he was referring to. My investigation revealed an interesting story and I decided I’d try to write about it.
Hamilton was born in 1981 and has played Major League Baseball since 2007. Unfortunately, he began struggling with drugs and alcohol in 2001. In May 2008, he reported that he had been clean since Oct. 6, 2005.
I discovered that Hamilton gave full credit to God for his deliverance. He said, “It’s a God thing,” and boldly shared with his fans and at various social functions how Jesus had delivered him.
His wife Kate often accompanied him, visibly and verbally supportive.
Hamilton wrote his autobiography, “Beyond Belief: Finding the Strength to Come Back.” In it, he chronicles how, with God’s help and strength, he quit drugs and alcohol.
In 2008, he appeared, along with other celebrities, on “I Am Second,” a program intended to inspire people to live for God. Then, just this June, he met with Ben Affleck and consented to the making of a movie about his life. What an exciting account.
However, I also discovered that Josh had a nasty relapse in 2009. Well … everybody makes mistakes — right?
But then I noticed that more recently (February 2012), he fell off the wagon again.
I wondered if I should write about this fellow, after all … but a few things came to mind.
First, it must be difficult to be famous. When something is said or done that is inappropriate, the media makes sure everyone knows about it in short order.
And, of course, as mentioned earlier, no one is perfect. We all make mistakes … not the same ones perhaps, but blunders, misdemeanours and sins occur in all of our lives.
Then, there is the noteworthy, if not remarkable, way that Hamilton dealt with his recent slip-up. He humbly and honestly admitted his failure. Then, he publicly apologized to his wife, his Lord and his fans.
Josh Hamilton exemplifies a wonderful promise found in Psalm 37:23,24. It says, “The steps of a good man are led by the Lord. And God is happy in his way. When he falls, he will not be totally thrown down, because the Lord holds his hand.”
Patrick Ness wrote, “It’s not how we fall. It’s how we get back up again.” My amendment is, “It is not that we won’t fall; it is Whose hand we are holding that assures that we will get back up again.”
Pastor Ross Helgeton is senior pastor at Erskine Evangelical Free Church.