Sermon Illustrations

The Cincinnati Reds rookie center fielder Josh Hamilton shared his story in ESPN the magazine. How that drug addiction nearly destroyed his life. He was in rehab 8 times. When he quit using his dreams returned, but they were often dark and haunting and stayed with him long after he awoke. Within a week of sobriety in Oct 2005 he show up at his grandmothers in Raleigh in the middle of the night coming off a crack binge. He had the most haunting dream. He was fighting the devil, an awful looking thing. He had a stick or bat or something, and every time he hit the devil, he’d fall and get back up. Over and over he hit him, until he was exhausted but the devil was still standing.

He woke up in a sweat as if the fight were real and gripped by terror. He said he got up and went down the hall to grandmothers room and crawled under the covers with her. The devil stayed out of his dreams 7 months as he stayed clean and worked on his marriage.

In June 2006 he got word he had been reinstated by Major League baseball, and a few weeks later the devil reappeared. It was the same dream, with an important difference. He would hit him and he would bounce back up, the ugliest and most hideous creature you could imagine. The devil seemed unbeatable: He couldn’t knock him out. But just when he felt like giving up he felt a presence by his side. As he turned to look he saw Jesus, battling alongside him. We kept fighting, and he was filled with strength. The devil didn’t have a chance. He woke up and felt at peace. He wasn’t scared and the lesson was clear. Alone He couldn’t win this battle, but with Jesus he couldn’t lose.

from ESPN the Magazine (June or July 2007)