Home General News ‘In the performance cricket world I was suddenly confronted with something I had no control over’

‘In the performance cricket world I was suddenly confronted with something I had no control over’

by ervte

“I played cricket for South Australia, semi-professionally. In July 1984, I told my wife I wanted to try it and see if I could finish my career well. I was training very hard. The doctors found out that I needed open heart surgery that same month. It was picked up by accident. I had a condition that had been there since childhood but was never discovered. They couldn’t believe I had trained at that level. I was the strongest on the side because I was training hard, but my main artery was completely blocked.

The doctors said I would die in two years if I didn’t have surgery; there were also high risks in doing the surgery. I felt very confronted. I had a wife and four children. The youngest was 15 months old. In the sports world, it’s all about self-realization. You push yourself, and you achieve. I had never been confronted with something I had no control over. I was greatly challenged.'In the performance cricket world I was suddenly confronted with something I had no control over'

At the same time, my wife was involved in the local church. I went with her to appease her more than anything. When I told her about the open heart surgery, she spoke to our friends at church. The husbands in the group all said they would like to come and pray for me. They did. It was a powerful experience in my life. I remember sitting there in my living room, and they were all praying for me, and the whole burden was lifted off of me right there. I dedicated my life to Jesus on the spot. It was quite unbelievable. I knew God was with me. I knew that Jesus was Lord.

I remember I had to have surgery the next week. My pulse was low. It was very powerful. I was at peace – knowing God was in control but not knowing the outcome. I could trust him with everything.

The operation lasted six hours. They rejoined at the main artery. It was an extensive procedure. After that, my blood pressure was very high, so that I couldn’t take painkillers. I hung from the rafters. But I remember laying there, learning so many lessons, in agony. It was the first time I started praying. The pain didn’t go away, but something changed inside. God led me through it.

Then I became the flavor of the month. I was suddenly more famous than I had ever been. A billboard in Adelaide read: ‘South Australian athlete awaits open heart surgery.’

Part of that meant being asked to speak at youth groups and Christian conventions. I’m unsure if you are better qualified to talk about Jesus as a cricketer, but the process helped me think deeply about my faith. I used to tell the kids about the parable of the talents. God has a plan for us. We don’t know what it is, but He’ll bring it about through His Holy Spirit. We must accept what the Lord Jesus did for us on the cross. He died for us and rose again. We must worship Him and glorify Him in everything we do. Nor should we limit the circumstances God could use to accomplish that!

After the surgery, I stopped playing professional cricket. I played locally and became heavily involved in coaching in schools. Then, in 2007, Rod Marsh asked me to coach the Redbacks (SA side). You can imagine the attitude of an all-male, gung-ho, professional sports team. I was challenged to go in. But I knew two guys on the side were both Christians. And all the guys on the team knew where I was coming from, and they appreciated it. I think it provided the stability the team needed. And for me, my Christian faith has supported everything in my life since that day in 1984. The greatest impact on me has been studying God’s word regularly and daily. It has been incredible – a very exciting journey so far!”

“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one, he gave five sacks of gold, another two sacks, and another, each according to his ability. Then he went on a journey…” (Matthew 25:14-15)

Kim’s story is part of Eternity’s Faith Stories series, curated by Naomi Reed. Click here for more faith stories.

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