A storm is coming


Since my injury I have spent a lot of time with my leg propped up with ice on my knee.

Before the doctors perform surgery they want to get the swelling down, so for the past week I haven’t moved around a whole lot. Needless to say I have had a lot of time to sit and think, just my thoughts and I.

On a deserted island my thoughts and I sit, with a small coffee table in the middle of a forked trail with two paths.  There is a kettle of coffee in the middle of the rickety warped wooden table where 3 coffee mugs sit in-front of 3 old wooden chairs.  Above the skies are filled with dark clouds. The smell of rain fills my nostrils and I can taste the saltiness of the air. A beach is near. I can hear the distant crashing of the waves and the wind is beginning to whip across my face. I can see the brilliant flashes of lightning jumping from earth to sky, dancing across the clouds while speaking in a thunderous voice that I cannot understand, but I know what it says.

From the skies the lightning speaks with thunder distantly proclaiming.

“A storm is coming”

My thoughts and I sit at the rickety coffee table, just the three of us with only a kettle of coffee for separation. Across from me sit two beautiful women; actually the word beautiful doesn’t suffice, beautiful is an understatement. These women are mesmerizing, they are radiant, and they are hypnotic. They begin to introduce themselves to me. As the first begins to speak and extend her hand for an introduction she is interrupted by the second woman who shows a gleaming perfect smile and says, “ Hi Baron, my name is Doubt.”

Doubt is stunning. She has long red hair, and wears heavy makeup. Her eyes draw me in immediately almost as if she can peer into my soul and see my thoughts and fears. My heart begins to race as I can feel all of my anxieties and fears being drawn from my deepest depths to my surface. I begin to panic but can’t look away. She is too enticing.

I feel a gentle touch on my forearm and immediately my fears, worries and anxieties subside. I break away from Doubts gaze and look to my right to see an outstretched hand. I grab hold and another woman introduces herself to me. “Hello Baron, I’m Faith”

Faith looks much different than Doubt but is just as gorgeous. Faith has long dark hair that flows over her shoulders. She wears a white dress and cowboy boots. She has glasses and doesn’t wear makeup because she has nothing to hide; her skin is flawless. Her eyes are calming but her touch is what is indescribable. There is nothing like touching Faith.

As I sit with Doubt, and Faith at the tiny wooden, rickety, and warped table with only a coffee kettle in between us I ask, “Why am I here?”

Doubt sits down her coffee mug with her thick red lipstick stuck to it and swallows before speaking.

“Look around you. Can’t you see that a storm is coming?” She says.

“Yes I can see that”

“Well you have to choose who you are going to set sail with” Doubt hastily replied.

“Set sail?” I ask?

“Yes set sail! The storm is coming and we have to hurry. If we set sail quick enough we can maneuver around the storm and escape this island, the path behind me leads to a safe place to depart and we can avoid the storm, but we have to hurry. You must decide quickly,” Doubt said with panic in her voice. I begin to get nervous as I can see the colossal storm clouds moving closer to shore. I hear the increasing thunder and my heart begins to race.

I turn to Faith and ask, “Where does your path lead? Is it safe? Can we avoid the storm?”

Faith calmly replies “I cant tell you that, all I can assure you is that I can get you through the storm and to the beach on the other side”

As I sit at the rickety coffee table just my thoughts and I, the storm clouds begin to surround me. I can feel the rain starting to fall gently on my skin.  I can hear the thunderclouds billowing their warning.

“A storm is coming”

I know I must make a decision and make one quickly if I want to survive this storm. I look across the table at Doubt and Faith and both of them reach out their hands. I close my eyes and grab onto Faiths hand. She holds mine tight as we get up from the tiny wooden table and walk down the path that was behind her chair.

 As Faith calmly leads me down her path that leads to the ocean the rain begins to pour, and the thunder begins to roar crying out,

“A storm is coming, a storm is coming!”

While Faith and I walk hand in hand to the beach I ask “Where did Doubts path lead?”

“You’ll see.” She replied

Soon we emerge at the end of the path and I can see the ocean. I can also see the enormity of the storm. The storm stretches as far as I can see and I am terrified.

In my fear I turn back to run to Doubt. She said that knew how to avoid the storm. She said she knew a safe way of crossing. As I turn to go back I see the exit to another path that was not the one I came out of. On the exit of that path I see Doubt standing. Her makeup has washed off and she looked nothing like she did before. I call out to her over the roaring winds “You said you had a safer way! You said that we could avoid this storm.”

Doubt says nothing. She just stands at her exit glaring at me.

I turn back to Faith and cry out with tears in my eyes, “What do I do? I can’t face this storm.”

Faith says nothing. She only extends her hand.  I run towards the ocean where she is standing by a small canoe. I look down with fear at the small canoe thinking  “there is no way this will make it through this storm.”

 The waves crash at our feet as Faith calmly says, “Get in and row, don’t stop until I tell you we are through the storm”

I’m terrified but I crawl into the tiny canoe with Faith. We begin to row. The waves toss us from left to right, and up and down but we keep rowing. The rain slaps our bodies but we keep rowing. The thunder proclaims from the clouds, “the storm is here!”  But we keep rowing.  My arms begin to tire, but we keep rowing. We row for what seems like eternity and finally the rain slows, the waves calm and the thunder echoes behind us whispering, “The storm has passed.”

I turn to Faith exhausted from the journey and ask, “Why did Doubts path lead to the same place on the beach? I thought she said she could avoid the storm”

Faith simply shook her head and said “Storms aren’t sent so that we can avoid them or run from them.”

“Then why was that storm sent for me?” I asked.

“You’ll see.” Faith said.

As we keep rowing the storm calms more and more and we begin to approach another beach. On this beach I can see thousands of tiny dots, at first I can’t make out what they are but as we row closer I can see that they are people; thousands and thousands of people standing at the waters edge. As we get closer to shore I can see the seemingly endless amount of people standing in amazement watching us row out of the storm in the tiny canoe, just Faith and I.

I look at Faith and she smiles and says, “That’s why the storm was sent.”

“I don’t get it.” I tell her.

She says, “Do you see all those people? That storm was sent for them, but you are the one who had to sail through it. You are an overcomer. Because you are an overcomer your waters will rarely be calm. Because you are an overcomer your life will not be easy. Because you are an overcomer you will have to sail through storms simply so people can see that it’s possible. Because you are an overcomer you have no choice but to overcome.”

“Your storms are not for you. Your storms are not you own.”

Wednesday I will have surgery to fix my ACL. Since my season ending injury about a week ago I have realized that now more than ever I have to be strong. I have realized more and more that trials aren’t always to strengthen the person going through them, but more so to strengthen the people watching. Many times on the other side of the storm on the distant beach, there are people that will be in awe when they see you rowing out of the raging waters in your tiny canoe, with only Faith beside you.

My storms are not for me. My storms are not my own. I am an overcomer.


  1. Other Icaros call the spirit of Ayahuasca to open visions as though exposing the optic nerve to light’.
    This means we need to shift to another perspective on a regular basis
    and remind ourselves how it feels to connect with God through our hearts.
    Armstrong invented a system for eliminating noise caused by the power of
    the waves. A good introductory meditation is to focus on a
    point in a stream as viewed from a bridge. Inhalation: You can either
    apply the oil directly to your hands, rub them together
    and then cup your hands over your nose and inhale deeply.

  2. I first read this right after you posted it. I was sad to hear that such a great potential Steeler had been sidelined but as I read this I realized you are so much more than just a football player. You are the one people are watching and you are a shining example. I was sad to hear about your friend Heath but appreciated your insight on the relationship. I have decided to use your blog as a teaching for my kids, one 15 one 11. As I read “A storm is coming” and “Heath” to them tonight we all openly wept and together gained a better understanding of Faith, the choices we make, and a better, more understandalbe way to view life and our place in it. Thank you for your example and please carry on. I am a diehard Steeler fan but I follow wherever you go. Thank you.

  3. Wow… what an amazing story. I just realized as a i read some and scanned through the rest of the posts here, that all of us are the ones on the beach.. impacted by the ripples of the (1,2,3,etc) of your story. I trust that God can and will fully heal you, and that your dream to play in the NFL will proceed. Just know that while you keep working towards the dream of playing in the NFL, we on the beaches of life are blessed and inspired by your life and your words.. Your brother, Darryl

  4. Dear Baron-

    Thank you for writing this. A friend sent this to me after I failed a third try at IVF. I'm sure you never thought you'd write this to help out a 43 year old woman trying to have a baby, but this really helped me. God Bless you and be with you.

  5. Wow! Your blog is unbelievable. I pray for a successful surgery. Thanks for this post as it hits close to home when struggling with some personal stuff.

  6. Jesus walked on water during a storm. He also rested during a frightening storm. My prayer for you is the same. Once you can rest in the midst of the storm, you have conquered it.

  7. What an amazing story! I don't even know who you are because I don't follow NFL (sorry) but your post struck me in such an amazing way. Thank you for reminding me to stay strong in the storms of life. We do always tend to ask ourselves why me, Lord? Why did you pick me for this? It's obviously not about us most of the time. It's about the people watching us to see how we'll face and overcome the storm. You seem like a remarkable man, and I can't wait to read more from you! May God bless you in every aspect of your life. Keep being strong for Him!

  8. Wow, Baron. I am amazed….amazed…at the incredible story God is unfolding in your life. He opened this door for you in Pittsburgh and brought your story to the attention of thousands of people so that they could watch you row through this storm with faith in your God. I love that you are choosing faith and choosing to glorify God in the process. Keep rowing. Praying for you from West Texas.

  9. Amen! So be it! Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. hebrews 11:1 (vs. 6 is timely too :)

    you are not alone brother! many have gone before and you encourage those to walk hand in hand with Jesus now.

  10. Baron,
    I just found your blog yesterday morning and just now finished reading it in it's entirety. What an incredible journey you have been on. Once I started reading this post I knew I had to start at the beginning. I will be following along, and I can't wait to see what the Lord does next in yoour life. So many of your entries are written exactly to the beat of my drum (if that makes sense). For example; I don't know that I could ever describe how some things I've been through have made me feel, and you hit the nail on the head many times. Thank you so much for writing. I'll be praying for a speedy recovery.
    God Bless,

  11. Really well written and beautiful — I've seen it reposted on two blogs so you have clearly touched a lot of people! Best of luck!!!

  12. I just ran across this post tonight through another blogger. I am, in one month, going to face one of the biggest storms of my life. It's been hanging so heavily on me and my heart has been aching for me and my family.
    This is probably one of the most powerful and moving blog posts I have ever read. Thank you for letting God use you. He has used your words to give me encouragement. This ISN'T just my storm – not just for me. Tears are streaming down my face. Lifting you up in prayer.

  13. I have amazing kids…you all know this…but tonight God used my son to speak to me! WOW! Can you say amazing! It has been a really rough week for me in almost every way imaginable – especially emotionally! I have been in the middle of a storm! I have prayed and have friends praying…..Stetsen wanted to show me this last night but I 'blew him off' because I had too much to do. I wasn't ready. I was tonight. this is exactly what God needed me to know. I have heard it for years and even helped others thru their problems, but never really thought of it quite this way until now. Right here. In this moment. I praise God for my storms! I praise God for a son that loves Him and reminds me sometimes who I am and to whom I belong! I praise God for athletes like you! My 13 year old son looks up to you as a man of faith, an athlete….thank you for allowing God to still be #1 in ur life!

  14. I have chills. This was amazing and beautifully written. Thank you for sharing your heart. It was encouraging for where I am sitting with my own storms and where doubt shows up there. Very awesome. Thank you.

  15. Our pastor read a portion of your Aug 10 blog last Sunday Aug 13, and as I picked up a book from my bookshelf I thought of you. Have you read Hind's Feet on High Places by Hurnard? It's an allegory of little Much-Afraid who has to travel with Sorrow and Suffering as companions and her journey of enlightenment and change as she goes to the High Places on the Mountains to fellowship with the Shepherd.

    I was planning to tell you that your faith was an inspiration, and that the allegory reminded me of you, having to travel a hard road. Then I found your website and read this week's post (Aug 15) of your own allegory! Wow – Thanks for sharing and inspiring many.

  16. Amy just sent this to me, beautifully written.

    Thanks for the perspective.

    I tore my ACL playing basketball in high school… it's now my "good" knee – stronger than the one that wasn't torn! You'll be back in no time.

    Looking forward to reading your blog from now on.

  17. This post absolutely gave me chills…as a fellow writer, Texas Tech-er, and above all else, Believer, I value your perspective in this "storm". I wrote about the storm analogy a couple of posts ago myself.

    Thought I'd share a favorite quote of mine. Made me think of a perfect response to your beautiful wanna-be companion called Doubt:

    "God knows when something glorious in the future necessitates something difficult in the present. Because He knows the glory will be worth it, God will risk being misunderstood." Beth Moore

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