Baseball great Darryl Strawberry lived the life of a celebrity in the early 1990s when he played for the New York Yankees. He had all the fame and the material richness but lacked in spiritual wealth. Never would he imagine though that his time in prison would pave the way for him to Jesus.
Strawberry had several run-ins with the law during his youth and spent months in jail at separate occasions for cocaine and alcohol addiction and other non-drug-related offenses. The 57-year old reflected on his misdemeanors during the 30th annual Southern California Harvest, where he shared with the thousands of attendees how his past molded him to be a better person.
The World Series champion looked back on his prison time and referred to it as a “spiritual thing.” He confessed that it was his stint in jail that led to his understanding of God and his relationship with Jesus Christ, one where he fully and wholeheartedly accepted as savior and redeemer. Strawberry said that he became a “follower of Jesus” and became a vessel to preach God’s teachings.
“I am glad everything that happened to me because had it not, I probably would have made another $50 million playing baseball but I would have never met Jesus,” Strawberry told evangelist Greg Laurie.
Strawberry added that before his arrest, he felt like he had it all together. He lived in million-dollar homes and had everything money can buy. But he admitted that deep inside he felt empty because he didn’t “have Jesus on the inside.” He said that his past legal problems were the result of a lack of knowledge of “biblical principles and commandments of God.”
“I think when you get to that place of understanding and you lay with God and you saturate yourself with God, God is going to teach you who you are and why He created you,” Strawberry added.
Strawberry thanked his wife Tracy for urging and guiding him to seek redemption through a relationship with Jesus. Today, the couple leads Strawberry Ministries and through the “Clean, Sober, & Saved” program, they are able to help people battling addiction and other issues in restoring and changing their lives through God’s power and through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
As parting words, Strawberry encouraged people to stand up for God, to heed His call, and to put their faith in Him. He encouraged them to say YES to a relationship with Jesus Christ.