Jacob Martin began his cricket career at the age of 5. He was fortunate enough to have a sportsman father who encouraged him at every turn. When he felt discouraged, his father would say, "Jacob, do not give up! It's when you feel low that you have to work hard and fight to succeed."
Jacob's cricket career soared. He played for Baroda and then went on to play in the inter-state competitions. He was finally selected to play for the West Zone. He continued his rise to success by soaring several centuries and being declared best batsman of the season. But, the joy of his achievements did not fill the void in his heart.
Jacob Martin should have been the happiest person on the team because he had encountered success at every level. There was, however, an emptiness in his life which he discovered only Jesus could fill. When he actually found Jesus, there was no looking back. He says, "today, my Lord helps me all the time. When I face the ball, I look to Jesus for help in scoring runs. He is greater than I."
There have been some physical failures in Jacob's career. As with every athlete in any sport, there have been times of injury and illness. At times it seemed he was unable to reach his full potential. He has felt, on more than one occasion, that he had let his team down. Over the years, he has come to realize that every situation is a learning experience. He is now able to say, "failure was good for me."
Martin will not forget the time he played a match despite serious illness. He remembers going out to the wicket without strength, taking only his bat and the name of the Lord. He played like he never had played before and went on to score more than a century while his body burned with fever. The press interviewed him later to find out how he was able to play so well despite his fever. His reply was brief, "I played in the name of God."
Jacob still will not allow his family to watch him play. They make him nervous, but his family is behind him. His greatest support has been and will always be his Divine partner: God. If life could be compared to the game of cricket, we would say that victory is as crucial in the game of life as in the game of cricket. In both cases, victory is as good as defeat without the recognition of God as God.
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