By Rev. Al Tilstra
Shawn Butler was dying of cancer at age 7. His frail body was sinking into a coma. Cancer had infiltrated 90 percent of his brain. On Aug. 9, 1982, Shawn's father agreed with the physicians that if he stopped breathing, they would not try to revive him.
But four days later, something remarkable occurred. Red Sox first baseman Dace Stapleton, Shawn's hero, paid him a visit. Upon hearing the voice of the sports champion, Shawn actually awoke from his comatose state and talked for a few minutes about baseball.
Then Stapleton leaned over the bed and made a promise: "Tomorrow, I'm going to hit one over the fence just for you."
Shawn's eyes lit up.
During the Red Sox game the following day, when Dace Stapleton first came up to bat, he had a determination in his gait. With a steely gleam in his eye, he knocked the ball over the left field wall for a home run.
Five months later, Shawn's doctors were mystified. They could find no trace of the malignancy. The boy seemed almost completely recovered. His family was even planning a trip to Disney World.
What made the difference? Some believe it was hope. Shawn's hero made a promise and fulfilled that promise. Possibly, by doing so, he opened a door of hope for Shawn.
As we begin a new year, it stands before us full of hope, with new beginnings and new opportunities. But sometimes optimism fades into disappointment. We discover our lack of ability to make lasting change. We fail to seize the moment.
At those times. we need to remember that "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise." - 2 Peter, 3:9
And His promise is "I will not fail you, nor forsake you." - Joshua 1:5
In addition, Psalm 37:4-5 offers the assurance that God will give us the desires of our hearts.
In 2 Corinthians 1:20, the apostle Paul says, "All God's promises find their 'yes' in Jesus."
He is the key. He imparts power to live a new life and makes hope a reality. Rivet your eyes on Him. He will never disappoint you.
Put your hope in Christ and rejoice as He hits a home run for you this year.
• Al Tilstra is pastor of Yerington and Silver Springs Seventh-Day Adventist churches and a member of the Carson City Ministerial Fellowship.