Hank Aaron played professional baseball at a time of discrimination and racism, yet he persevered. He was told to “suffer quietly” as fans threw rocks and mocked black players by wearing mops on their heads. In 1973, before breaking Babe Ruth’s home run record, Hank Aaron received over 930,000 pieces of mail that included an abundance of hate mail and death threats requiring FBI investigation.
Hank Aaron’s faith was on display as he proclaimed his dependence on God’s wisdom and strength. When asked about setting the new home run record, he responded that he trusted God’s will. Aaron turned from hatred and violence to embrace the joy of baseball and broke Babe Ruth’s home run record in Atlanta on April 8, 1974.
It’s difficult even to think of joy in trying moments such as those Hank Aaron experienced, yet James wrote that believers should consider trials joyous. He was not teaching that the trials themselves are joyous, but that we can live with joy even as we go through difficult moments.