It was the bottom of the sixth inning. The Montreal Expos’ most feared hitter, Tim Raines, was at the plate. The pitcher glared at the catcher and checked the runner on first base. Then kicking high, he pushed off the rubber and threw as hard as he could. It was the last pitch he would ever throw. A loud sickening crack was heard all over the stadium. Weakened by undiscovered cancer, the humerus bone in Dave Dravecky’s pitching arm had snapped in two. “My arm felt like I’d been hit with a meat axe,” said the San Francisco Giants’ hurler. He grabbed his arm to keep it from flying toward home plate as he screamed, tumbling headfirst to the ground.1
While his baseball career was over, his adversity had just begun. After many examinations, the doctors told him that his pitching arm would have to be amputated at the shoulder to guarantee that the cancer would not spread to other parts of his body.
I can’t imagine what Dave must have felt as the reality of that news set in. He was in the prime of his career, and under normal circumstances could have expected to play baseball for many more years. But now it was over.
Several weeks after his surgery, Dave Dravecky came back to Jack Murphy Stadium to say thanks to his many San Diego friends. He was greeted with a long standing ovation. As on every other speaking assignment since he came out of the recovery room minus his left arm, he glorified God and gave praise to the name of Jesus.2
The day after his appearance at the stadium, I read in the San Diego Union that he had received over seven hundred invitations to speak during the next year. The apparent tragedy in his life had begun to take on a look of victory!
God often has hidden purposes in the adversity He allows.
David Jeremiah, Turning toward Joy (Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook, 2013).
We have just released a new Bible Study based on the book of Philippians.
These lessons are available on Amazon, as well as a part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #1
Philippians 1.1 – 5
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #2
The Worthy Life
Philippians 1.6 – 30
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #3
The One God Exalts
Philippians 2.1 – 18
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #4
What the Humble Seek
Philippians 2.19 – 30
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #5
The Passionate Pursuit
Philippians 3.1 – 11
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #6
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #7
Philippians 3.13 – 16
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #8
Centering the Gospel
Philippians 3.17 – 21
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #9
Philippians 3.1; 4.4
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #10
Philippians 4.6 – 7
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #11
Christ Is All / I Can Do All Things
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #12
Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking. Answers are provided in the form of quotes from respected authors such as John Piper, Max Lucado and Beth Moore.
These lessons will save you time as well as provide deep insights from some of the great writers and thinkers from today and generations past. I also include quotes from the same commentaries that your pastor uses in sermon preparation.
Ultimately, the goal is to create conversations that change lives.