S. Raman

"When life does not serve aces, then create one." This statement is the foundation on which Raman has built his career. He has never let failure or success overwhelm him. It is this attitude which has kept him on top more consistently than others. Raman has another secret for his success. He committed his life to Jesus in 1986. This experience has been a great source of strength for him. It has enabled him to go through the varied circumstances of life with self confidence and determination. He says, "I used to think that Christianity was a religion. That was why I argued against it so vehemently. Today, I realize it is a relationship. Jesus has brought me real joy and peace that nothing and no one else in life could have ever given me."

One of the happiest moments in his life came in 1988, when he defeated the then national champion in Hyderabad, India. He defeated the renowned Kamlesh Mehta. He modestly confesses, "I was predicted to lose, I had lost to him several times before. My friends even asked my why I was practicing when it was certain that I would lose.

But, I persisted in prayer and believe it or not, I went on to beat him 3-0."

On a different occasion he lost a title he was predicted to win. Prayer had been a part of his preparation for that match as well. It was through the uncertainty of success that he realized that God was teaching him his true identity. It dawned on Raman whether he won or lost, hid identity as God's son never changed. Above all, Jesus still loved him.

Raman had the advantage of a supportive family. His father was behind his success in sports. Besides sports, his father also expected him to perform well in studies. Raman did both to the full satisfaction of his parents. Through the years he has learned not to look to people for strength. The flattery and criticisms of fans and critics no longer affect him. The secret of this transformation is the assurance he has an unchanging identity in Jesus. He spends time in prayer on his own as well as with others. He firmly believes that Christ alone renews his strength and keeps him going. Five years ago Raman considered retirement, but now he finds himself at the peak of his career. He is considered to be the best and most consistent player of the game in India today.

His relationship with Jesus has given him a gentle character. The fruit of this relationship has brought about success despite the theory that to win consistently one needs to become aggressive. Raman says, "when I play against someone in a match, I do not consider him an enemy. He is just my opponent and I respect him. The sports arena is not my battle ground.

Life is full of surprises both in victory and defeat. Such surprises do not alter the consistency if inner joy. Raman, before a Hindu Brahmin, knows this and indeed affirms this to be true because he continues to believe in Jesus.

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