The Tribe's, Jake Westbrook

A "Relief Pitcher" who knows the one true confidence 

by Matthias R. Monschein

Jake Westbrook

If it is accurate to say that hard times lead to emotional and physical toughness, than the opposite must also be valid, and indeed it is, easy living and abundance often produce certain underlying weaknesses.

That is one of the first things that Jake Westbrook will tell you about himself in regards to his Christian walk with the Lord.

At 25 years of age, this Tribe Pitcher has learned and lived one of the most valuable lessons that Jesus had tried to teach and it has changed his whole outlook on life.

“I had accepted Jesus when I was in the ninth grade while attending a Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting. The Lord really moved in my heart at that meeting and I began to think that my life was to go in that direction. I gave myself to the Lord right there.

That night, as I prayed, I said “Lord, you died for me on the cross. I want to live for you.” That is when my life began to change for the better.”

The Lord blessed Jake with the ability to pitch in the game of baseball. However, as do many, he would catch himself at certain points through his career where he would forget the prayer and wander away from what brought him there in the first place.

Things would be going well and then it would not be long before there would be a sudden change in plans that would shake his faith.

It was never easy but it was a growing period that always brought him back to the Lord.

"Usually when I am doing well in the game I eventually find myself not seeking (Jesus) out as much as the times when I am down. That is usually when I need him the most. At that point, I need Him to help me get through those things in life. I know that I should seek him in all aspects of my life both good and bad but it has allowed me to realize where the importance lies. I know that it is an area that I would like to improve in.”

Prior to his acquisition by the Cleveland Indians, Westbrook has played stints with the Colorado Rockies, Montreal Expos and the New York Yankees all within a 4 year period. Although he was unaware of the grooming that God had been putting him through, he had always kept the foundation of his faith close by for strength.

In a career that has had Jake on the move between the pros and the minors he is grateful for the struggles that he has been through.

“Things like that have strengthened my walk with God by getting me out of the comfort level that a player has a tendency to fall into.  I found that in those times, I need to rely on Jesus and he has surrounded me with partners and friends that will redirect me during those times”

Westbrook considers it a real blessing to be in a Clubhouse where he has close friends that will be there and help him to stay accountable in his walk.

“There are a lot of real good Christians on our team for instance, Josh Bard, Jody Gerut and Bill Selby when he was with us. Each person is individually strong in their faith and they are people that I can talk to and confide in when things get rough. But in each and every one, our common belief is in Jesus Christ. Any time that you have a core group of guys that believe in God and share the same views that you do, helps a person to stay accountable with each other and most importantly with God.”

Westbrook speaks favorably of his accountability partners but admits that he still needs to work on his confidence about being as open about his faith as they are.

Jake has one item by his side where ever he travels to and that is his personal Bible.

When asked if he had a favorite verse that he has adopted for himself, he reached into his locker and pulled out the silver covered Bible, opened it up to the book of Joshua and shared the one verse that has meant a lot in his life.

-- Joshua 1:9 “I command you to be strong and courageous and not be afraid or dismayed for the Lord Your God is with you wherever you go.”

“Anybody who could reach into his locker and pull out the Bible and then read it out loud without thinking twice does not lack confidence. Instead he gains confidence because the Lord has spoken personally to him through the word.

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