Last Wednesday night I cried. And I prayed. And I asked God for comfort. But not for myself.
I was talking to him about Josh Hamilton.
If you have spent any significant time around me the last few years, then you know how much of a fan I am of my brother in Christ. The story popped up on my time line last Wednesday that Hamilton was meeting with Major League Baseball officials regarding a disciplinary issue. Despite his past, my first assumption was NOT that this was drug related. I did not know what to make of it. I just knew I needed to pray.
Then the story dropped, which has yet to be officially confirmed. Hamilton suffered a relapse. My heart sank. Supposedly the relapsed involved at least cocaine and alcohol. That is when the tears started. Hamilton’s “Beyond Belief” is one of my favorite books. A few years ago after reading Coach Tony Dungy’s “Quiet Strength” I became very intrigued with reading about the lives of others, particularly fellow believers in Christ. I was enamored and always floored by the paths some people had taken to get to where they are now or were. I was amazed to see how God weaved different situations into their lives to pull out the best results. Their stories were a sheer testament to the goodness of God and how He continues to watch over and protect us even we are causing destruction in our own lives.
What I loved so much about Hamilton’s book was his honesty. He was very open about his struggles. Hamilton started in detail from his childhood days growing up as a youngster who could throw and hit harder than most teenagers to the path that lead him to become engulfed in the drug culture. From the outside looking in, it was hard to see how this could happen. From the outside looking in, Hamilton had everything you needed to be successful: a two parent household, a loving family, great people skills and an enourmous amount of athletic talent that rivaled my other favorite baseball player, Ken Griffey, Jr.
None of that was enough to keep Hamilton from straying off the path that had been laid out for him by others. As many of you know, Hamilton became addicted to cocaine, struggled with alcohol consumption and was out of Major League Baseball for three years. It is a story that was well documented during my time at North Carolina State which is located in Hamilton’s hometown. The story soon turned from tragedy to triumph as Hamilton battled his demons to find himself back on the field and excelling at the sport he dominated in his youth.
Hamilton has never been one to shy away from sharing his story. He has continued to provide, in detail, what he has gone through and the only way he ever explains being able to overcome those demons is by simply saying, “It’s a God thing.”
So Wednesday night hurt. I do not have to know Hamilton to know that he has been living his life to genuinely please God. So Wednesday night hurt. I do not have to know Hamilton to draw inspiration from him. So Wednesday night hurt. I do not have to know Hamilton to know that for as hurt as I am, he probably feels a thousand times worse.
It is easy to sit around and chastise Hamilton but it takes a bigger person to not pass judgement. This is a guy who willingly went to the MLB officials and admitted his wrong doing. We all have things we struggle with. While it may not be drugs, it is something that can in turn be a “drug” for us. My heart goes out to Hamilton and I will continue to pray for his recovery. I am fully believing it will happen. The same God who pulled him out the last time can pull him out again.