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Baseball Star Finds Christ through Suffering & Failure

Barry Zito was once known as one of the most dominating pitchers in Major League baseball. But in 2010 Zito had reached his lowest point: He was removed from his team's starting roster. The next season he was plagued by injuries and poor performances. By the end of 2012 he had returned to his peak performance, winning his last 14 starts and playing a pivotal role in the San Francisco Giant's World Series victory.

In a 2012 interview Zito explained how God had used suffering to get his attention and to lead him to commit "his life to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior." Zito said:

Sometimes you have to go through difficulty and physical trials to really get broken down. In 2011, I got broken down physically as well as mentally. In August of that year, I had this very odd injury in April of 2011 …. I came off the field that day after never being hurt in 11 years, and I said, "All right, something bigger is going on here. A message is being sent, and I've got to listen." A few months later, I realized I'd been doing it alone. My best friend told me an old story I really love. A shepherd will be leading his sheep, and one of the sheep will be walking astray from the pack. The shepherd will take his rod and break the sheep's leg, and the sheep will have to rely on the shepherd to get better. But once that leg is completely healed, that sheep never leaves the side of the shepherd ever again.
That's a really beautiful metaphor. A lot of things happen to us as people, and we realize we've been relying on our own strength for too long. Last September, I got a tattoo, and it's the only one I have, of a golden calf on the inside of my right bicep. I show people that, and it signifies idolatry and that I was putting things before God. I haven't talked much about this. When I committed with my chaplain, he said, "You don't need to go around telling people this stuff. There will come a time and a place." I guess that's a change for me too. I used to kind of dig attention. Now I'm seeking deeper fulfillment.

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