Like most people, you have probably experienced doubt or confusion when God allows unexpected things to take place in your life. We may question God when we don’t receive a job promotion or some other surprising occurrence has happened.
We have all been there, especially when a loved one is sick or has passed unexpectedly. Questioning God is not a sin, we are all human—but ultimately we can argue that it is a waste of time.
Minnesota Twins All-Star second baseman Brian Dozier confirmed this to me when I caught up with him in the clubhouse in Cleveland before a game they were preparing to play. We chatted about some obstacles he has overcome in life, and he told me about a time when his entire future came into question.
“I didn’t know it at the time, but what I went through was a true blessing in disguise,” Brian said. “The Lord knew what He was doing, but I didn’t.”
Brian passed on the MLB draft in 2008 and opted to stay at the University of Mississippi and finish his degree. After all, he was a sure-fire bet to make it into the Big Leagues.
He made All-American his freshman year. In 224 career college games, he posted a .355 average with 55 doubles and seven triples along with 16 home runs. In 2009, he led his squad to the College World Series.
Then during his senior year, he dove to make a play and shattered his collar bone. Eight screws and a plate were inserted into his right shoulder, and his dreams of playing in the major leagues were in serious doubt.
Maybe he made the wrong decision after all. Maybe he should have gone to Major League Baseball. Maybe.
“I tell you what, I went through some real struggles,” he said. “I had turned down the draft and just assumed it would be there next year. I never thought I’d bust up my shoulder.”
Have you ever been in this situation and taken your future for granted? What would you do? What is the right choice when suddenly your situation doesn’t look the way you anticipated it would? Would you give up or keep going?
I don’t see it as a coincidence that his favorite character in the Bible is Job. He doesn’t compare himself to Job, but he admires his perseverance and determination to live for the Lord no matter what happened to him.
“I learned through all of that and by what Job went through to rely on God through everything—especially the bad times,” he said. “There are times when we get angry and question, but you have to count on Him to get you through.”
Brian did what we could—he waited and learned.
He learned how to be a true leader without being on the field. He encouraged those who could perform and gave advice to younger players.
He slowly developed an attitude similar to William Wallace in his favorite movie BraveHeart. “Never let them see you sweat,” he said. “Even when you are down, always be positive and strong.”
He carried this attitude with him while going through rehab. Finally, the MLB draft drew near. “I didn’t know what to think because I was hurt,” he said. “I didn’t know if anyone would take me.”
The Minnesota Twins selected him in the eighth round of the draft in 2009. He has not been a disappointment. In fact, he has exceeded all expectations.
In 2014, he became the first second baseman in the history of the team to record a 20/20 season (20-plus home runs and 20-plus stolen bases.) He scored the second-most runs in a season (112) since 1997. The next year, fans selected him as a replacement in the MLB All-Star game. He had an immediate impact when he smacked a home run in his first at bat in the eighth inning.
In 2016, he became the first American League second baseman to hit 40 home runs in a season.
“I’m so grateful the Twins gave me this opportunity,” he said. “And I’m grateful I serve a God who never gives up on us.”
His waiting and learning paid off for his career. Perhaps he became more aware and appreciative during his time off the field. He loves the fact Jesus taught him a valuable lesson during his recovery.
“That time I was hurt was a wonderful growing experience for me,” he said. “I don’t know if I’d be the leader I am today had it not been for that.”
What lessons have you learned during your trials? Did you grow during your troubles or hide from them?
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance (Romans 5:3).
The best thing I learned from Brian Dozier: No one likes to go through challenging times. But the way you deal with these circumstances will mold and develop your character. You have delivered me from all my troubles, and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes (Psalm 54:7).