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Day 7

Hope Gives Wings

by René Schlaepfer

Read Isaiah 40:21-31

One of the greatest comeback stories in sports: San Francisco Giants pitcher Dave Dravecky’s return from cancer. When a tumor was found in Dave’s pitching arm, we fans thought his baseball days were over. Well, we were all wrong. I still get chills when I remember August 10, 1989, the day I tuned in to watch Dave defeat the Reds in his first major league game in over a year. He received twelve standing ovations, even from Reds fans!

But in his next start, his pitching arm snapped as he threw in the fifth inning. Doctors later discovered more cancer, and this time the whole arm had to be amputated.

Everyone wondered: How would Dave respond to this setback? He says he looked in the mirror following the surgery and prayed, “Okay, God. This is what I’ve got to live with. Put this behind me; let’s go forward.” As he walked the hospital corridor soon afterward, he came to a lounge where a whole family sat waiting during a surgery. The worried wife told him her husband had cancer. Dave sat down with them, and her son asked, “Where do you get your peace?” The entire family listened as he gently shared his faith. “It is hard to understand suffering in this life,” he told them. “But you know, sooner or later everything on this earth is going to end. I believe God can and does heal people, but more important than that, I believe in the eternal hope of heaven. When I die, that’s where I’m going. Heaven is my home.” The conversation changed that family, and was the start of an international ministry to cancer patients.

Dave’s strength and endurance is a testimony to the effect of biblical hope. Like today’s scripture says, even the most impressive people are like dandelion seeds in a breeze compared to the permanence of God. But the good news is, I can find my permanent hope in Him:

Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. [Isaiah 40:31]

It’s a fact: Hope gives wings.

Question to Consider

How does Dave’s story help explain the way that hope in God gives strength and endurance even in tough times? What do I think of Dave’s answer to the son’s question? Would I have responded differently?


Lord, help me to see both the impermanence of my world and Your permanence. Help my hope increase as I think of my heavenly home.