One of Major League Baseball’s finest defensive players, Nick Ahmed, has recalled a powerful moment of spiritual transformation that fundamentally altered the trajectory of his career.
Now an in-demand shortstop for the Arizona Diamondbacks, it hasn’t always been plain sailing for the 29-year-old, who spent years languishing in the minor leagues.
However, it was in these training grounds that, crucially, he met with God, and had never been the same since.
Speaking at a “Breakfast & Baseball” event held at Hillside Community Church in Bristol, Connecticut, Ahmed said that everything changed the moment he handed his career aspirations over to the Lord — a moment of epiphany that happened to come upon him on a summer night during a minor league game in Mobile, Alabama.
“The first two at-bats were terrible. I strikeout. I ground into a double play. I’m like, ‘Here we go again.’ I had all this fear and anxiety and worry about my dream being ripped away from me,” he recalled. “Every day I showed up to the ballpark, I was like, ‘Man, this is going to be my last game. I’m going to fail again. The next day I’m going to get released. I’m going to have to give up on my dream and it’s going to be over.’”
Then, in the time between the fourth and fifth innings, he decided to surrender his life to Jesus and entrust his career to God’s sovereign plan.
“I ran out to play shortstop, play defense, and for whatever reason I just stood there … I didn’t take the two or three ground balls that the infielders take to warm up between innings,” Ahmed explained. “I just turned around. I faced the outfield. I closed my eyes and at that moment right there in the middle of the game on the field, during a baseball game. I said, ‘God I’m giving my life to you.”
Ahmed remembers praying: “[God], I’m tired of doing it his own way… I repent of all my sins.’”
Then Ahmed vowed to trust God with his life. “I’m going to do life your way,” he prayed, “and whatever You have for me – whether that’s baseball for another 15 years or that’s no more baseball ever … I’m going to give that to You, and if you’re going to take that away, cool, I’m following You. I’m doing life your way.”
At that moment, something shifted.
“I felt the Holy Spirit come through me and just give me the peace that I never had before,” he recalled. “I can’t explain it. I can’t tell you why it happened on that certain day. There were so many events that drew me to that one spot. At that moment I started following God and I said, ‘I’m going to do life your way. I’m going to walk with you. I’m going to follow you.'”
Ahmed went on to join the Diamondbacks in 2015 and won the coveted Gold Glove in 2018 and 2019.
Of course, despite his subsequent sporting successes, the athlete’s life has still been full of ups and downs. The difference, however, is that he now chooses to entrust everything into the hands of God — and that brings peace.
“I still go through ups and downs, but I’m not riding this huge roller coaster of extreme highs and extreme lows and having no peace and no joy,” he explained. “My circumstances still stink sometimes.. I’ve gone through a lot of different things. I had four surgeries in a 13-month period. My wife and I had a miscarriage; we lost the baby. Three of my best friends that I played with the last three years have all left my team. I’m dealing with life and things still happen.”
“We’re not immune to life,” Ahmed added. “But now I have Jesus.”