Ronnie Baker grew up without a dad and not in the greatest neighborhood. He didn't have money to go to college—and certainly not to train as a premier athlete. But through divine providence, he just returned from Tokyo as a runner for Team USA in the 2021 Olympics.
"My mom really wanted to join the Air Force," Ronnie explains. His grandmother convinced her to go to college instead. She never finished, but while there she met a lifelong friend and her family. Eighteen years later, Ronnie was hoping to go to college but didn't know how he could go without taking on student loan debt. The brother of his mom's friend appealed to a friend at Texas Christian University. The track coach watched Ronnie perform and offered him a full scholarship.
"My mom believes the reason she went to college was to meet a friend who would be in the position to get me into school," he says. "I wouldn't be in the Olympics if I hadn't gotten that scholarship and worked with my coach for the last nine years."
After years of helping care for his younger siblings as the man of the household, Ronnie found himself in college, beginning to understand the effects of growing up without a father figure. "I had to figure out a lot of things on my own."
God was faithful to bring men who would invest in Ronnie's life, including one who would become his father-in-law, Kevin Harrison from West Coast Bible College and Seminary.
"The first time I met Ronnie, I could see Jesus in him, just the love of Christ," Kevin remembers. "I said to myself, 'I want him to marry my daughter.'"
Growing up without a father, Ronnie says, "Shaped me into the man that I am today and helped me realize not only what I don't want to be, but also what I do want to be for my family, my wife and, potentially, our kids."
"It wasn't until recently, when I went through the process of forgiving my father for not being there, that I really understood that my heavenly Father has always been there in my life."
Though Ronnie didn't win a medal in Tokyo, he still gives God the glory.
"At the end of the day, the mission was accomplished. I got to spread the word of Jesus Christ and let people know who He is. And I did that on the biggest stage."
To hear the rest of the story from Ronnie and Kevin, listen to A Word in Season with Doug Stringer and Friends on Charisma Podcast Network now.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Great Resources to help you excel in 2019! #1 John Eckhardt's "Prayers That..." 6-Book Bundle. Prayer helps you overcome anything life throws at you. Get a FREE Bonus with this bundle. #2 Learn to walk in the fullness of your purpose and destiny by living each day with Holy Spirit. Buy a set of Life in the Spirit, get a second set FREE.