The Faith of Forty-Two

John 5:14-17

There’s no pressure too great for God to sustain.

What is the significance of April 15? If you think of taxes and the IRS when you see that date, I understand, but there’s something historical that’s worth noting here. On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson made his major-league debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first black man to play major league baseball in the modern era.

Robinson was a terrific ballplayer, hitting .311 over his 10-year career. He was rookie of the year in 1947 and National League MVP two years later. Six times an All-Star, he won one batting title and led the league in stolen bases twice. Keep in mind, also, that he didn’t break the color barrier until after his twenty-eighth birthday, suggesting that his numbers might have been even more impressive had he had those younger years.

What I don’t think most people appreciate is how incredibly difficult Robinson found his road, at least in his first year or two. A significant number of other teams didn’t want him there. Many opposing players--and some of his own--didn’t want him there. A large slice of the public didn’t want him there. Imagine how hard it would be to perform every day with that sort of adversity, knowing that every mistake you make is going to be magnified, that every accomplishment will be diminished. It’s hard enough being in the public eye when everyone doesn’t hate you!

How did Jackie Robinson do it? Two recent books have finally explored the importance of the player’s genuine Christian faith, an aspect of his life typically ignored. Jackie Robinson was able to deal with the terrific pressure of his place in baseball and history because he had the power of Jesus Christ working within him.

God will fill us with the strength necessary to do whatever he calls us to do. That strength will take some few to a martyr’s death, but for most of us, the pressures Jackie Robinson experienced will never be approached.

  • When has God filled you with the strength necessary to withstand an attack from outside?
  • Has God’s strength ever been insufficient to meet the demands placed on you? Do you think that is God’s failing or a failing of your trust?
  • Pray that God will test the strength he provided by using you in pressure-filled situations.
About the Author

Mark Browning

Connection Point Member
Mark Browning is an English professor at Johnson County Community College. Mark also writes curriculum for LifeWay Resources and Connection Point Church. Visit Mark's personal blog at tunemyheart.net.