From Wrecked to Renewed
Posted in Salvation
Scripture: “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4: 16-18
He had reached his childhood dream. Since his days in little league baseball, Dave Dravecky had longed to be a pitcher in the major leagues. In the 1980s, his dream became a reality as he quickly climbed from being a college baseball walk-on, to earning a spot in the MLB’s Padres, to a final trade up to top-tier San Francisco Giants. Life could not get any better for this young man, whose life seemed to be in the palm of his hand– or more so in his whole left arm that threw perfect pitches.
After pitching two of the best games of his life, Dravecky noticed a lump that had grown at the top of his left arm– a lump that doctors soon diagnosed as a cancerous tumor that needed removal. Although he could survive the cancer, doctors said he would never again be able to play the sport he put his whole life into. Flat devastated, empty, and lost, Dravecky plummeted from the pinnacle of his career to the pavement.
But this determined athlete was no stranger to perseverance, and the Lord was no stranger to him either. Thanks to a roommate who had long before become “that guy” in Dravecky’s life to challenge him to read the Bible, this disappointed athlete knew how to lean on God for strength during his long-time suffering and devoted rehabilitation.
“I knew there was something bigger than baseball going on in my life,” he recalls.
We all have something bigger than baseball going on in our lives. Replace “baseball” with your job, your relationships, your passions. These things and all things of this world will pass away. As Isaiah says, “The grass withers, the flower fades. But the Word of the Lord endures forever,” (Isa 40:8). And as today’s focus scripture reads, “… our outer self is wasting away… [but] our inner self is being renewed day by day” (v.16). We are as transient as the flowers that fade. Yet the Lord’s Word, the Lord’s purpose for our lives– these last! Should we not put our time and energy into the eternal?
In 1989, Dravecky miraculously returned to the mound at Candlestick Park with the crowd’s cheers moving him to pitch an unbelievable victory against the Cincinnati Reds. His comeback was a miracle.
Days later, a friend met him for a bite to eat before the next game only hours away. As they recounted the perfect plays of the previous game, his friend made a comment that stuck with him the rest of his life: “Dave, it’s not the miracle of the comeback that’s so important; it’s the miracle of salvation…. What God has done is give you a platform through baseball to share His love with those who hurt.”
Five hours later on the mound, Dravecky threw “the pitch heard around the world.” It wasn’t the crack of a bat that stunned the crowd; it was the crack of his left arm. The cancer had returned deep into his deltoid, resulting in a total amputation of his arm.
“None of us is exempt from pain and suffering, but it’s what we do with it that really makes the difference,” says Dravecky.
Prayer: Oh Lord, I need you to revive my heart, my mind, my soul and my strength, so that I can love you with everything! Amen.
Submitted by Caroline C. Bennett