THE INCREASE: Steven Souza - Clinging to Christ

This offseason has been one of the hardest I’ve ever experienced. Recovering from a torn pec, moving into a new home and figuring out life with a 2-year-old has been quite a rollercoaster. But in a lot of ways, it has been a fruitful one as well.

Last season was the first time I had an injury that took me out for an extended period — more than 90 games. The injury just never went away. It wasn’t one that required surgery or a quick rehab and then you’re back. It just lingered there and I had to learn how to work with it. At the end of the season, there was so much pain and the strength in my pec just wasn’t there. I had to do a lot of work to get back to where I was. But now I feel like I’m back.

It was a scary thing to go through but I fully believe God has healed me completely. I’m doing great! While I had so much down time, I was challenging myself to be responsible with the extra time on my hands. What was I going to do with it? Besides the necessary rehab, I chose to use it to cultivate relationships. I didn’t want to just mosey around. I chose to get in the Word of God and draw near to Him. I clung to the verse in James that says, “Come near to God and He will come near to you” (James 4:8a).

In the eyes of the world, our team had the perfect situation. We had an unbelievable team, and we were coming off a great season previously. I had come in to fill a gap so we could win the World Series. But God had a different plan.

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” — Proverbs 16:9

We had plans, but they didn’t work out. The moment I realized I was out, I wish I could say I had a peace about it. At first, I didn’t understand the magnitude of my injury so I was at peace, but when I got a second MRI and the doctors told me it was worse than they thought — that I’d have to take more time off — I wasn’t so at peace. I had had a vision for the year, and suddenly that vision was taken away. I was in shock and struggled with it. I began to have doubts about who I was as a player and who I’d become. But I never stopped believing God has the best plan for me even when it’s hard to see.

My teammates were incredible throughout the whole situation. Everyone came alongside me and tried to ease my pain. It was hard because there was now a huge block in the way of us being able to compete in the World Series. They all felt the loss, not only of my injury, but of many players on our team.

More than anything I was encouraged by my wife, who watched me through the process. It’s easy to put on an OK face with everyone else but when you’re home, that’s the biggest test. When my wife looked at me and said she was really proud of the way I walked through this test of faith, it was really encouraging. To know that in the middle of a tough situation I was able to walk through it with strength, that is a testament of God’s grace in my life. It means I’ve been clinging to the Lord so He could hold me up and give me peace.

Steven Souza, Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder

The Increase, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is a community of Christian pro athletes sharing their personal stories of the decrease of self and the increase of Christ (John 3:30). Visit for more stories and videos.