Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"It's a Bad Day to Be an Atheist" (The Josh Hamilton Story)

I watched the baseball All-Star home run contest last night and saw Josh hamilton hit 28 home runs. The announcers began talking about how Josh was a crack addict who found God and got his life turned around. As he was interviewed aftere hitting these home runs Josh thanked God for the amazing turnaround in just gtwo years of his life. Then the TV announcer said “It’s a bad day to be an atheist.”

Read the espn story of Josh’s life change here.

Here’s a quote from Josh himself:

“When I was using [crack], I never dreamed. I’d sleep the dead, dreamless sleep of a stalled brain. When I stopped using, I found my dreams returned. They weren’t always good dreams; most of the ones I remember were haunting and dark. They stayed with me long after I woke up.
Within my first week of sobriety in October 2005 — after I showed up at my grandmother’s house in Raleigh in the middle of the night, coming off a crack binge — I had the most haunting dream. I was fighting the devil, an awful-looking thing. I had a stick or a bat or something, and every time I hit the devil, he’d fall and get back up. Over and over I hit him, until I was exhausted and he was still standing.
I woke up in a sweat, as if I’d been truly fighting, and the terror that gripped me makes that dream feel real to this day. I’d been alone for so long, alone with the fears and emotions I worked so hard to kill. I’m not embarrassed to admit that after I woke up that night, I walked down the hall to my grandmother’s room and crawled under the covers with her. The devil stayed out of my dreams for seven months after that. I stayed clean and worked hard and tried to put my marriage and my life back together. I got word in June 2006 that I’d been reinstated by Major League Baseball, and a few weeks afterward, the devil reappeared.
It was the same dream, with an important difference. I would hit him and he would bounce back up, the ugliest and most hideous creature you could imagine. This devil seemed unbeatable; I couldn’t knock him out. But just when I felt like giving up, I felt a presence by my side. I turned my head and saw Jesus, battling alongside me. We kept fighting, and I was filled with strength. The devil didn’t stand a chance.
You can doubt me, but I swear to you I dreamed it. When I woke up, I felt at peace. I wasn’t scared. To me, the lesson was obvious: Alone, I couldn’t win this battle. With Jesus, I couldn’t lose. “

Years ago, at age 21, I was doing drugs nearly every day. I had an encounter with God. I've not only not done drugs since then but not even been tempted to do them. Some kind of transformation happened in me when I turned to follow Jesus. I don't think this proves God and Jesus are real to other people. But I can't deny that this happened to me, and my life is far better because of it. For me, it functions as partial proof that God and Jesus are real. And this is important to me because, philosophically, I believe it is experience, not theory, that breeds conviction.