“When a series of injuries cut my basketball seasons short, I was angry at God. Each injury resulted in immediate surgery, recovery, and rehab,” said Grant Troutt. “After countless hours in the gym, my body was breaking down instead of getting stronger. My hopes of playing in college had instead turned into broken bones, ripped shoulders, and a torn hip. I thought God was punishing me, and I wanted nothing to do with Him.
“As a child, I knew I wanted to play college basketball. I started training to make it a reality. I spent my childhood travelling around the country playing ball. My life was wrapped up in a regimented schedule in the gym and on the court. Growing up I had everything a kid could ever dream of, but in the deepest part of my heart, I felt like I was running from something. I was running from my purpose and my calling. Although I grew up in church, I thought I really didn’t need God for anything.
“I didn’t know it at the time, but my injuries were part of His grace. He was trying to get my attention and offer me something better than the emptiness of success and approval. But instead of turning to my Creator, I turned to alcohol, drugs, and girls so I could feel some sort of temporary happiness and value.
“In high school, my parents sent me to a summer ministry in Missouri because of my behavior. In the midst of my rebellion, a man I met and formed a friendship with told me that God had a plan for my life. But when I returned to Dallas, I went back to chasing a basketball career. I received a full athletic scholarship to a college in California. It looked like I had everything: status, popularity, a college basketball career, a dorm on the beach. But inside I was full of insecurity and emptiness.
“I called my mom one night and said, ‘I know who you raised me to be, but I don’t know who I am anymore.’ She told me that she had packed a Bible for me when I went to school and encouraged me to read it. That night I prayed that if God was truly real, He would show Himself to me.
“The next day, I was walking on campus, and a man introduced himself to me. He was a pastor trying to start a Bible study on campus and was surprised when I eagerly agreed to join. Just 24 hours later, we opened John 1 together. I tried to hide the fact that I was studying the Bible from my teammates, but I knew I was tasting something I never had before.
“Not long after that, a grenade went off in my life. After a big game, the team doctor who was monitoring my previous injuries pulled me and my family aside and explained that I could never play basketball again. I was shocked. If this was what it meant to follow God, I wanted nothing to do with it. So, I decided to run away from Him.
“Shortly after, I was arrested for public intoxication and spent a night in jail. The next day, my mentor from camp invited me to a program where I could spend time figuring out what I believed about God. I knew my life was lacking something, and although none of my friends understood why, I left school and went to Missouri.
“I came back to Dallas to finish school after a year of discipleship and time with God, but soon jumped right back into the same sin patterns. After a night of partying, I woke up miserable. All I knew to do was read my Bible, and I quickly realized that I viewed the Lord as a judge, ready to condemn me, rather than a loving Father with His arms open wide. He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on a cross to pay for my sin (Romans 5:8). I didn’t have to earn my salvation or God’s approval. I was done trying to manage my life and instead surrendered it all to Christ.
“All of a sudden my life began to look radically different. My friends noticed the changes, too. The Lord redeemed and refreshed my life and started using me in ways I never thought possible. He showed me that no one is too far gone to walk in the purpose He has for them. God used my passion for basketball to share His Word as I created a space for guys to play and talk about their faith. Most recently, God gave me the opportunity to join the Watermark Institute for the last nine months to grow, study His Word, learn from others, and share His goodness.
“I have learned that there is no comparison to living life with Jesus Christ. I searched for life in success, sports, and the world, but these things only brought emptiness and brokenness. His power is perfected in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9), and I do not have to pretend to have it together. I once was blind, but because of Jesus, now I see.”