A Prayer and a Foul Ball
Jackson Karama, a Bridge2Rwanda Scholar currently in his sophomore year at the US Coast Guard Academy, was at his American host family’s home in Boston when he first heard an unbelievable story about a young man catching a foul ball at a Red Sox baseball game. Joel was a 14-year old boy from Scotland who had been burdened by a family situation and praying about it for some time. During a trip to the U.S., while at a Red Sox game at Fenway Park in Boston, he prayed again and asked the Lord to show him that his prayer had been heard by allowing him to catch a foul ball during the game – and it happened!! Jackson reports that the "he got chills" when he first heard the story of Joel's foul ball at Fenway Park. He was excited to meet Joel in person because he felt it was such an amazing picture of our loving heavenly Father's care and willingness to do as we ask.
One week after hearing this story, Jackson got the opportunity to attend his first major league baseball game at the Nationals' Stadium in Washington, D.C. To everyone’s amazement, Jackson caught a foul ball during the game! His host parents, Bob and Carolyn Durfey in Boston, knew right away that Jackson must have been praying for something. They immediately sent him an email to ask if he had tried out Joel’s tactic. Jackson’s response is here:
Yes….I have this prayer that I have prayed for a long time but it has never been answered. I knew that God heard me, but I was wondering why He had not answered my prayer yet. So at the gates of the National’s Stadium, I decided to ask God to prove to me that He had heard me and was going to answer my prayer. I sat in the stadium and thought about what I had asked God, and at some point I feared that if the ball doesn't come, then I was not praying the right way. But, I felt that God was listening and was about to give me evidence.
Not long before this hit, something in my mind told me to watch out. For the first time during the game I stood up, and boom!! Ryan Zimmerman hit the ball towards our area at 90mph. I watched it come closer, with many thoughts going through my mind. "How could this be? How could God be talking to me right now?" But the ball was so low, "it can never reach me,” I thought. Everyone in front of me was fighting to grab it - tall men, anxious kids, determined youth like me who were willing to step on whomever they could and grab the ball. With my hands back in my pockets and all the excitement for the ball gone, I watched it run through the hands of the people who were reaching for it. I watched as the tall men dodged it for reasons that I couldn't understand. Then I saw the ball aiming at a lady that was sitting in front of me, before I could scream to alert her, she was already ducking. The next thing I felt was a huge sting on the inside of my right thigh, I knew it was the ball that just hit me, but thought that it had bounced off into another person’s hands, so I kept checking to see if the lady in front of me was hurt. She was not, she was able to dodge the ball just in time, and now she was looking for the ball. I turned around, and everyone was pointing down towards the place where the ball hit me. I looked down, and the ball was hanging between my two knees. Astonished at the sight of the ball, I let go and it fell between my legs. Everyone around me said, "Grab it! It’s yours!" I was surprised by the fact that they were not running to pick it up between my legs and knocking me over, and I reached down and grabbed the ball.
The smile that's usually on my face grew wider, and I started jumping and laughing. Poor are those who thought I was jumping because I caught a foul ball. I was jumping because God, in heaven, had just told me that He listens to me every day when I pray. That even though He had not answered my prayers yet, He will at the right time. I met 60 year olds who told me they had been to these games since they were teenagers, but had never caught one. I was full of joy, and struck by God's faithfulness. I am a witness of His existence, for at my first baseball game ever, I caught a ball.