Cincinnati Reds rookie Josh Hamilton is currently on the Disabled List (DL) but he has already enjoyed a good first season, hitting .279, with 14 homers and 30 RBIs. Hamilton, a 26 year-old left handed hitting outfielder, revealed in a recent interview with Tim Keown in ESPN The Magazine, that he found a unique way to deal with his terrible cocaine addiction.

Suspended by Major League Baseball (MLB) in 2004, Josh Hamilton simply could not break his habit. He did stints in rehab but lived in the grip of his serious addiction. As he now relates the story he spent an evening at his grandmother’s home after a crack cocaine binge and had a dream that changed his life. “I was fighting the devil, an awful looking thing. I had a stick or a bat or something, and every time I hit the devil he’d fall back and get up. Over and over I hit him, until I was exhausted and he was still standing.” He awoke, sweating, and then walked into his grandmother’s room and crawled under the covers with her. He vowed to stay clean and has done so ever since. MLB eventually reinstated Hamilton (2006) and he made it to the big show this season with the Reds.

But the story doesn’t stop there. Hamilton reports to ESPN that the devil came back at him again. “It was the same dream, with an important difference. I would hit him and he would bounce back up, the ugliest and most hideous creature you could imagine. I couldn’t knock him out.” But this time Hamilton says he felt a presence beside him. “I turned my head [in the dream] and saw Jesus, battling alongside of me. We kept fighting, and I was filled with strength. The devil didn’t stand a chance.”

Multitudes will surely scoff at this account. Even many Christians, who do not have much room for supernatural encounters via dreams, will scoff or at best remain bewildered. I do not scoff in the least nor am I surprised by Josh Hamilton’s story. These kinds of things happen every day in the African Church. It is we in North America who shut out the way God can speak and empower us through dreams, we the unbelieving smart generation. I am grateful that Hamilton told this story. I expect he will be a target for the evil one now more than ever, perhaps in ways much more subtle, such as the temptation to pride or even persecution through taunting, etc. I am praying for him to succeed. I hope he has good counsel in his life via mentors and a sound church.