He was once told that he would never ever make it to MLB, that he was too small, not good enough – yet he, along with his teammates paraded through downtown Houston as heroes celebrating as champions.
Altuve, at 5’6, 165 pounds is the first to admit that on the outside:
- He doesn’t look like your typical professional baseball player
- He doesn’t look like a homerun hitter
However, he says it’s what’s on the inside of him that has propelled him to be one of the best in the game today: his faith in God.
Faith, according to Hebrews 11:1, is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. You see, like Altuve, we all at some point in our lives will have to step out on faith and trust God to:
- Accomplish a goal
- Fulfill a dream
- Dig ourselves out of a hole after hitting rock bottom
Hitting Rock Bottom
The Astros hit rock bottom, and then some, before beginning one of the best turnarounds in memory. As noted in the now famous Sports Illustrated cover of 2014, after Houston had lost more than 100 games for three straight years, proclaimed: “Your 2017 World Series Champs.”
And although the Houston Astros, along with major league baseball, could not see the championship at the time, Altuve says he believed it.
I’m a big believer that sometimes God allows his children to hit rock bottom or fall on hard times to test us before opening up the windows of heaven in our lives. I remember very clearly the first time my faith was really tested. It was more than 15 years ago. My life was going well, I had gained a reputation for being one of the best news reporters around. I had won journalism awards. I loved writing for newspapers, I loved seeing my name in print as the one covering local news stories, and I loved the fact that being a journalist is a profession that most people instantly respect.
However, after several years of being a news reporter, I knew that it wasn’t a lifestyle that I wanted for the rest of my life. As a news reporter, I usually worked every weekend and late nights. I knew that one day I would have a wife and children and I wanted to be able to make my own schedule. I wanted to work for myself.
And like Altuve, I was told that I couldn’t do it.
I wanted to leave that job as a news reporter and work for myself, but I was too afraid to step out and do it. Day after day, I felt the urge to do something different.
Then the day came that God put me to the test
It was in the early 2000s when the Internet started to boom and news became widely available and people read less news. I had just written one of the best stories of my life. I was sitting in my apartment. It was a Saturday. I received a phone call from my editor to come to the main office on Monday. I was so excited. In my mind, I was thinking my editor must have been in agreement that my latest article was the best one I had ever written and he wanted to personally congratulate me and possibly even give me a raise.
Monday came. I walked in with a big smile on my face. And after a few minutes, I heard words that I had never heard before, “I’m sorry, but we’re going to have to let you go.” I was in disbelief. I didn’t understand what had happened and I didn’t know what I was going to do. To top it all off, I was planning to marry the woman of my dreams and all of a sudden I found myself without a job and the life I had planned for myself and future wife was in jeopardy.
I remember calling my father for advice. My mother gave me advice. All of my aunts, uncles, and people I had met in the small town in which I was reporting news all told me what “they” thought I should do next. Of course, the natural thought was to find a new job as a news reporter. It was something that I knew. It was something I had done well, but it was also something that deep down in my heart, I really didn’t want to do fulltime anymore.
For a while, I felt embarrassed
I avoided people. In fact, I barely came out of the house to ensure that no one I knew would stop and talk to me. It had gotten to the point to where I actually timed all of my trips from home – when I would leave the house. There were times when I knew that most people would be at work and it was a good chance that I would not bump into anyone or have to answer the question of when would my next article come out.
In my mind, God was punishing me for something I had done in my past. However, it was quite the opposite. After about eight months of avoiding people and feeling embarrassed, I decided to just let go and let God do whatever He was going to do. That’s when I felt the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. I had sent out literally hundreds of resumes in the news industry. No one called back.
Being down on my luck, I applied to FedEx as a package handler. They called back and I was eventually hired. I was so excited. The pay wasn’t what I used to making, but I thanked God for blessing me. I was no longer embarrassed. I didn’t care where I was and I simply accepted where God had me. A week later, I received a call from a marketing company in Memphis, Tennessee. I interviewed and was hired on the spot as a business marketing writer. This was something I had never ever done before. I had a new adventure, something different.
I soon came to love that job. I was able to work side-by-side with the owner of the business from 9 am to 5 pm. and also work my shift from 11 pm to 4 am at FedEx. God had given me double for my trouble.
I didn’t know it at the time, but while working alongside the business owner, I was being trained to soon open my own business. He took me under his wing and showed me the ins and outs of business. You see, as the Internet grew, newspaper advertising revenue and readership was on a sharp decline, causing virtually every newspaper in the nation to struggle financially in one way or another. I realized that God had taken me from a dying industry and had elevated me to a place I really wanted to be. At the time I could not see it. Looking back, I know how things unfolded in my life was the only way I would have been able to gain the skills I needed in order to learn the art of selling, obtaining clients, placing my faith and accepting the life God wanted me to live.
Altuve, in a recent Houston Chronicle article, said it best:
“The best success is to live your life the way God wants you to. If you can do that, if you can be good with God, then I think you will have success in your life. To achieve success wasn’t to get into the major leagues or have the best season in the world. We need to not just ask God but thank Him for everything like our health, our family. And ask Him to bless our homes and to always be present in our daily lives. And to keep us safe is most important.”
Like Altuve, we all have odds stacked against us at some point in our lives, just as it was in my individual case, but through faith, God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above we can ask or think.
By the way, I did marry that same woman of my dreams. Today, we have two daughters. Look at God.