Cancer, Grace, Hope, Loss, Prayer, Treasures in the Darkness, Words of Endurance

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do,
everywhere you go;
He’s the one who will keep you on track.

One cloudy gray day several months after my amputation, I was driving the car and my emotional state pretty much matched the weather. I was struggling to make sense out of all that had happened to me during the previous few years and I wasn’t coming up with any answers. I had achieved my dream of becoming a Major League Pitcher but a diagnosis of cancer in my pitching arm rocked my world. First there was the surgery that promised to end my career, then my amazing comeback – then just a few days later my arm broke mid pitch – then the reoccurrence of the cancer, more surgeries, radiation, infection and finally – no arm.

I knew I could trust God but I had begun taking a hard look at my life. I wondered where my life might be headed. No arm, no career – just where did God want me to go?

Through the gloom of that day a song came over the car radio and caught my ear:

“First I want to thank You Lord
for being who You are.
For coming to the rescue of a man who’s drifted far.
For calling me to be Your son
and calling me to serve,
Lord the way You’ve blessed my life
is more than I deserve.”

Somehow that song touched my heart right where I was at that point in time. As it continued I broke down and cried.

“Let me be the evidence of what Your Grace can do,
to generations struggling to find themselves in You.
May they come to know the love of God.
May their eyes be made to see.
Give me the opportunity to
share the truth that sets them free!”
That was it! That song spoke into my life and directed it to where it needed to go. It perfectly expressed the vision in my heart – a vision I had not yet been able to see.

I never expected to cry from a song but I prayerfully and tearfully joined in the chorus:

“This is my prayer,
lifted to you,
Knowing you care
even more than I do.
This is my prayer lifted in Your name.
Your will be done
I humbly pray.”

I haven’t heard that song for years but the memory of it takes me back to that grey rainy day when God broke through my fog and gloom and reminded me of my heart’s deepest desire – for my life to reflect Jesus where ever He will lead me. What a treasure!

When you hurt,
I mean really hurt,
Where are the blessings?
What good can actually come of it?
Suffering can not only draw you closer to God,
But He can use it to reveal blessings
that will give you hope to hang onto.

On the journey with you,
Dave Dravecky

(The song “Prayer” was sung by Petra and written by Bob Hartman, John Elefante)


Anger, Depression, Hope, Pain, Treasures in the Darkness, Words of Endurance

Treasure is not something
I expected to find
in the darkness.
All I wanted was to find a way out!

When Dave and I first began to experience the injuries and illness that eventually led to the amputation of his left arm, I thought God would miraculously deliver us. I expected us to emerge in a few months as victorious examples of what God could do for those who followed Him. I never imagined our journey through that dark valley of suffering would last for years.

As the weeks stretched into months and then year, I became consumed by our suffering. I tried harder and harder to get back to our “normal” life but I was powerless to change our situation or to understand what God was doing. As I became weaker and more exhausted from trying to fix everything by my own efforts I became increasingly desperate for relief.

I certainly wasn’t looking for any treasures from God. Deep inside I was fighting God and felt completely shut off from Him. When people suggested that God might be doing something wonderful in our lives I got angry. I knew only that I was drowning and I wanted out!

But in spite of my bad attitude – in spite of me doing things my way – in spite of my overwhelming depression – God was still at work within me. There were indeed treasures in the darkness and He would be faithful to give them to me.

About one year after Dave’s comeback I was in the deepest throes of my depression from my perspective everything was very, very black. I couldn’t make myself do anything, go anywhere or see anyone. The three people I had depended upon most for support were Dave and my parents but Dave was undergoing radiation treatments and nothing left to give and both of my parents had died. Dave’s parents were doing all they could to help us but inside I was losing the battle. I felt totally helpless, hopeless and alone.

That is when I discovered the first unexpected treasure God had for me. And I wasn’t even looking for it! In fact, I was ready to give up everything walk away from God. But when I tried to walk away, I couldn’t. Almost to my surprise I realized there was nowhere else I wanted to go. I was just like Peter who when Jesus asked His twelve disciples if they would desert Him and …

Peter replied, “Master, to whom would we go?
You have the words of real life, eternal life.
We’ve already committed ourselves,
Confident that you are the Holy One of God.”

When I realized that I truly believed those words I was thrilled! My faith was real! What a treasure!. Even when I was at the end of my rope and ready to run away I couldn’t do it Because I truly believe that God is the Only Way to eternal life and there is no hope apart from Him. Learning that my faith was real brought me great joy and gave me hope when nothing else could. That treasure was the turning point in my experience of suffering.

Although I had not realized it suffering had tested, refined and strengthened my faith. I discovered as 1 Peter 1:3-7 says that faith is far more valuable gold. That discovery renewed my hope and inspired me to search the Scriptures to learn His promises. The hope those Truths of Scripture brought to me became my greatest treasure in the darkness – my lifeline – in the midst of pain. I was still in the valley of suffering but I had learned there were rich treasures there also.

What a God we have!
And how fortunate we are to have him,
This Father of our Master Jesus!
Because Jesus was raised from the dead,
We’ve been given a brand-new life
and have everything to live for,
including a future in heaven –
and the future starts now!
God is keeping careful watch over us and the future.
The Day is coming when you’ll have it all –
life healed and whole.
I know how great this makes you feel,
even though you have to put up with
every kind of aggravation in the meantime.
Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure;
genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine.
When Jesus wraps this all up,
it’s your faith, not your gold,
that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.