In the Valley - Steven Souza

Coming in to score from second, I was about to cross home plate. I wanted to make sure I touched the plate quick enough, so I hurried up and when I stretched out my foot to touch the base, my foot slid across the entire plate, hyperextended and locked out. Hitting the dirt, my body lunged forward over my knee and that’s when my knee tore.

 

I knew I was done.

 

The pain was incredible. I had never had knee problems, and after coming off a year recovering from a torn pec, it’s what I least expected.

 

But I’ve been able to rest in the fact that there’s no way God’s not behind this. I’ve crossed home plate hundreds of thousands of times. I’ve dove to catch balls and no injury has resulted. But having experienced this now, I’m even more certain that God is in complete control of every situation. It’s humbling to know that at any moment, with any step you take or breath you breathe, anything in your life can be flipped upside down or taken away.

 

Jesus doesn’t make mistakes. My initial reaction was to think that my career is over. Without Christ in my life, I may have continued to worry about where my future would be and get ahead of myself too quickly. But with Christ, I know everything is already taken care of. If He wants me to come back and play in the big leagues, nothing is going to stop His plan. If He wants me to move on to do something else, nothing will stop His plan — just like nothing could have stopped me from injuring my knee at home plate.

 

It was C.S. Lewis who said, “Only a real risk tests the reality of a belief.” It’s really easy to say you are a follower of Christ when everything is going really well, but when your world gets turned upside down, that’s when you can really see what you believe in your heart. I trust in the King of the universe. I want people to know that whether I’m healthy or sick, on top of my game or at the bottom of it, I trust God in any and every circumstance.

 

Having been in the league for a while now, I’m overwhelmed with the amount of support and encouragement I’ve received from others around me. I’ve had so many players reach out to me to see if I’m OK, to let me know they’re praying for me, or to wish me a quick and full recovery. Experiencing so many people intentionally wanting to lift my spirits has been such a blessing.

 

Right now, more than ever, I’m experiencing God to be my Protector. This game is so unstable, and then to throw in a major injury, it makes your career seem even more unsteady. But Psalm 23:4 says, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

 

I can rest in this truth. I can’t take away this valley I’m in, but I’ll walk through it and as I do, I know God will be right next to me for the journey, walking it with me.

 

— Steven Souza, Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder

 

Steven Souza is a regular contributor of The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions.

 

Check out Steven’s full profile on The Increase: https://theincrease.com/author/stevensouza/

 

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