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The 700 Club

A Big League Problem Paves Way to Salvation

Shannon Woodland - 700 Club Producer
Andrew Knox - Vice President, The 700 Club

Major League Baseball’s Glenn Wilson had a flair for the dramatic and the fans loved him for it. Glenn said, “There was no doubt. I tell people all the time, the only reason I played major league baseball was I just wanted attention.”

He’s best known for his remarkable plays from right field. “I felt that I would always be one of the best in the world.”

At times he was also called upon to pitch. “Having that arm and being able to throw the way I was throwing was so much fun, so much excitement,” Glenn remembered. “I could feel the fans, especially in Philadelphia, their excitement of seeing me throw. It became such a game for me inside the game.”

Glenn’s wife Kim remembers life in the big leagues differently. “Challenging.  Very challenging,” remarked Kim. “Glen’s so passionate about baseball and I knew that it was going to be just a great journey. But it is loneliness, emptiness.  They're gone all the time and, you know, we have three boys, but two of them I raised while he was still playing.”

There was something else that bothered Kim. Glenn’s professed faith as a Christian was once based on convenience. “I was that guy who accepted Christ at age 16 and I used Christ to my advantage,” explained Glenn. “I thought you accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, go do whatever you want, come back and ask for forgiveness.”

Glenn lived that way for years. His career was clouded with arguments with managers and the front office. Then in 1993 Glenn suffered a back injury due to years of wear and tear. He knew it was time to retire. “The day I walked out of baseball, doctors handed me a bottle of pain killers, said, ‘you need to be on these the rest of your life.’  And I knew nothing about them. I never took drugs in my life.”

With no understanding of the dangers of pain killers, Glenn started taking Vicodin daily. Gradually he became addicted. The effects were subtle, his behavior was erratic, and at times he was irrational. Glenn said, “It got to where I didn't even want to go out into public. And the addiction started to make me realize that I probably don't need to be in public.”

By the end of 15 years Glenn was taking upwards of 12 Vicodin a day. Then one day while he and Kim watched a news story on pain- killers, they realized Glen was addicted. “I got petrified. I got mad. I got angry,” fumed Glenn. “I went to my doctor the next day and I chewed his butt out. And I said, ‘I'm not a drug addict.  And if I go to get off of this, here's what's going to happen to me.’ And I asked him though, one question after I voiced my frustration. I said, ‘have you ever had anybody just quit?’ And he said, ‘yeah.’"

Glenn knew he would need help to overcome the addiction. So he went home and cried out to God. This time Glenn meant it. “I said, ‘God, I don't know how to get off these pills.  And I don't know anything but baseball. I need some help here. So I'm going to give You me, and You do what you want.” Lo and behold, I didn’t know what I was asking for because it became a journey and a ride that I’m still riding today.”

That day, Glenn surrendered his life to Jesus Christ and found the strength to end his addiction. “It's really simple,” Glenn explained.  “’Seek ye first the kingdom, and all things shall be added unto you’ was what I lived by. Seek ye first the kingdom. What does that mean?  Seek ye first the kingdom?  Well, it means when you get up in the morning, start looking for God, ‘cause I guarantee you He's going to show up.”

Glenn no longer battles addiction. Kim says her prayers had been answered. “Amazing. Humbling,” said Kim. “And he loves his family, he loves his children. He's kind. His journey has just been above and beyond.”

“She has been a very patient woman,” Glenn admitted. “Because we're on our 33rd year of marriage with three wonderful sons, a wonderful daughter-in-law and now we're grandparents to the most gorgeous little girl I've ever seen.”

It’s been years since Glenn was in the spotlight impressing the baseball world with his tremendous right arm. He’s okay with that, because he no longer needs the attention. He’s comfortable with who he is in Christ.

“When you accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, Christ comes to live inside of you. You’re a new creation,” Glenn emphasizedAnchor. “What do you have to lose except everything if you don't try God over that addiction?”

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