The great ball player's Christian faith sustained him through trials.
Henry “Hammerin’ Hank” Aaron was one of the all-time greats, a Hall-of-Famer who surpassed Babe Ruth’s lifetime home-run record and held that title for 33 years. Lesser known is his lifetime of faith in Christ, a faith that sustained him during trials.
Aaron grew up Baptist in a religious household. As an adult, he became friends with Catholic priest Fr. Mike Sablica and was received into the Catholic Church in 1959.
One of the first Black players in the major leagues, Aaron faced considerable opposition, especially as he came near to breaking Babe Ruth’s record. He dealt with “hate mail, death threats, taunts and jeers.” He credited his faith with helping him persevere and play well through it all.
These 6 spiritual lessons from Aaron’s life reveal the ways his deep and abiding faith strengthened him.
1Trust in God
In good times and bad, Aaron relied on God. He once said, “I need to depend on Someone who is bigger, stronger and wiser than I am. I don’t do it on my own. God is my strength. He gave me a good body and some talent and the freedom to develop it. He helps me when things go wrong. He forgives me when I fall on my face. He lights the way.”
2Acceptance and self-control
Aaron spoke of his “real hero-worship” for Jackie Robinson, the first Black player in the major leagues. “What fascinated me so much was that Jackie was an emotional, explosive kind of ballplayer. Yet during that crucial first year in the big leagues, he didn’t lose his temper in spite of a steady barrage of insults from fans and other players,” Aaron said. “How did he keep control? I learned later that he prayed a lot for help. And he also had a sense of destiny about what he was doing, so much so that he felt God’s presence with him. He learned to put aside his pride and quick temper for the bigger thing he was doing.”