YOUR ULTIMATE CHOICE Articles
Ben ZobristI wondered why God allowed this to happen
Ben Zobrist grew up in the small town of Eureka, Ill., and as the son of a pastor, he became a Christian at an early age. Growing up, and especially during high school, Ben’s Christian faith grew.
Zobrist played varsity baseball all four years of high school, and after a great senior year, he wanted to play baseball in college. But there were no baseball offers. So he decided to go to his father’s alma mater, Calvary Bible College in Kansas City, Missouri.
However, his plans changed.
“I was scared, not knowing what was ahead”
“My senior year I realized I was going away from home and was going to make my own choices,” Zobrist says. “So I was scared, not knowing what was ahead, and I started worrying about the future. I hit my knees in prayer and said, ‘Okay, Lord, whatever You want me to do and for whatever reason You are allowing this fear into my life, I want You to take it away. My life is Yours and I am not trying to be in charge. As for sports, You can have that too.
“I gave everything over to Him. If God wants me to do something else with my life, then that is where I want to be,” he added.
It is not surprising what happened next
So, it is not surprising what happened next. After graduation, with plans to go to Calvary Bible College, his high school baseball coach called and told him of a tryout where some scouts and college coaches would be attending.
“I did not want to quit playing baseball, so I went to see what could happen,” Zobrist says. “(After the tryout) Coach Elliott Johnson of Olivet Nazarene University contacted me and said, ‘We are looking for solid Christian players to build our baseball program at Olivet.’”
“The day I got back I got a call”
The following week, Ben attended a church conference and the theme was “Keeping the door of your life open to what God may want you to do, regardless of what it is.”
“The day I got back I got a call from Coach Johnson offering a full-ride scholarship,” Zobrist says. “At that point it was God saying, ‘Let’s go work on baseball at this Christian school.’”
Zobrist played baseball at Olivet Nazarene for three years and then transferred to Dallas Baptist University in Texas because, “I wanted to know how good I was.”
He tested his skills against some Big 12 schools such as Texas A&M and Baylor, then was drafted by the Houston Astros.
The night before Zobrist left for his first assignment, his father went to his room to pray with him. Rev. Zobrist says, “I told him, ‘Here is what is important to me. I don’t care what you do for a living as long as you live for God.’”
“I wondered why God allowed this to happen”
Zobrist’s career was up and down the first couple of years. He was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays, but in 2007 he was not playing well and was sent down to the Triple A team.
“I wondered why God allowed this to happen and I started to have lots of doubts,” Zobrist says. “But God allows things to happen the way He wants, and we need to accept it joyfully and to love Him through things that don’t happen the way we would like in life.
“The Bible says: And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28, New American Standard). Being sent up and down in both 2007 and 2008 was a great lesson for me. I had a prideful and wrong attitude of success.
“God was saying to me, “Keep working, keep glorifying Me; wherever you are, don’t grow weary in doing good for in due time, you will reap,’” he says.
“The World Series…Wow!”
Zobrist ended up on the playoff roster and starting two games in the World Series. “I am learning to enjoy the experience God put me in at the moment and glorifying Him in that. The World Series…Wow!”
Former teammate Brian Shouse comments, “Ben is the kind of player you would want on your team…he plays hard, he wants to learn and improve, and he has a great attitude. He is a very active Christian and he looks for ways he can help and encourage others in life. He has found peace and joy in his life through his faith in Jesus.”
As Zobrist continues to find success in the major leagues, he says, “I don’t dream of fame, fortune or popularity; but for me, if God allows me to [continue to] play, I will have a different perspective—to direct people back to the Lord.”
By Mark Darnall and Bruce Darnall