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Seeing the Fruits of a Dad's Faithful Prayers

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
June 17, 2022 6:00 am

Seeing the Fruits of a Dad's Faithful Prayers

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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June 17, 2022 6:00 am


Twin brothers David and Jason Benham had a dream to play professional baseball together and with their dad's faithful prayers and guidance and God's help, they saw that dream come true. This is Focus on the Family. Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly. I'm John Fuller and you're about to hear an incredible story about family and faith. We've got some friends in the house, so let's hear it from the friends. And the crowd goes wild.

Yeah, the crowd goes wild. This is a great setting though to talk about a family story. And David and Jason worked together, they're neighbors, they live five doors apart, is that right?

Yes. That's pretty cool. And they've written about their story in a new book called Miracle in Shreveport. They love the Lord and I'm looking forward to learning more about their story. David, thanks for inviting us over for a little dinner here. Yeah.

This is cool. It's been amazing. And you're looking at Jason, but I'm David. I caught you right out of the gate.

You should go to the website, you'll see why I'm confused. Where did the name tags go? We deliberately took our name tags off to throw you guys through a loop.

But it's been awesome. Thank you for coming. Now, how far apart are you in birth order? Two minutes.

Two minutes, but who's first? David is. Of course. So you're the little brother.

No, but listen, you know in the Bible that the older always serves the younger. It's true. Do you know how many times I have heard that? That's kind of awkward. It works every time too.

I didn't hear anybody else laughing. You obviously don't love each other very much. You know, it's funny because somebody after one time we spoke and we rag each other all the time.

We spent a lot of time in locker rooms. And this man goes, you know, really, you guys ought to encourage each other a little bit more. And Jason said, well, what would you like me to say? And he goes, well, the next time you're on stage, I want you to put your hand on your brother's shoulder and look at the audience and say, my brother is God's gift. And I love him very much.

And Jason looked at him and said, well, what would you like me to say? And he said, that will never happen. It's not going to happen. No. I love it. You guys are brothers. I could see that. I have two brothers, so I get that.

And wouldn't that be funny? You should have said, well, I just can't tell a lie. But you do love each other.

So don't write us or email us. We get it. They love each other. David and Jason, your story really begins with your relationship with your dad. And this is Father's Day and also with your grandpa. There's a whole story connected there.

What was your relationship like? Well, dad and grandpa, it was a little difficult early in life. Grandpa owned a saloon called Benhams, just outside of Syracuse University. Well, my grandpa worked all the time.

He had a gambling habit. And so my dad didn't get to see him very much. But then grandpa one time woke my dad up in the middle of the night. Well, it was probably three, four o'clock in the morning. And he said, what would be the one thing you would want more than anything in the world?

He was about 11 years old. And my dad said, I want to go to school. I want to go to Yankee Stadium. Grandpa had already made arrangements for Yankees tickets. And he had already arranged a flight, pulled my dad out of school. They went to Yankee Stadium that day together. And our dad, he is a raving Yankees fan.

But he says it was that, oh, yeah, still 69 years old. But he said it was that moment that he became a Yankees fan for life. He loved baseball for life because it was the biggest investment his dad had ever made in his life and how impactful that was for an 11 year old little boy. The love for baseball and the Yankees in our dad's life. Well, in fact, in the book, you say that that was the best day of his life. That's exactly right.

Is that how he described it? And our dad said that was the one day where he felt more connected to his father than he ever had in his entire life. And so from that day forward, it really birthed, honestly, the dream of baseball in his heart.

And so that's one of the reasons why he raised us on the game. I had a divorce when I was five. But I can remember I lived with him for one year when I was 11. And we went to a doubleheader, a Dodgers doubleheader, and we missed the bus to get there. And it was 30 miles away. And on, you know, not a very good strong salary, he said, let's jump in a cab. And he drove us in a cab. I mean, he took us there in the cab to the game, Dodgers and Cincinnati. And we were there early.

I got all these signatures, Pete Rose, you know, Johnny Bench, everybody. And it was one of the best days I had with my father as well. So like your dad, I could relate to that.

Exactly. And our dad made a commitment. He was a pastor. And maybe we'll tell a little bit about that story.

But he made a commitment he was going to coach all of our baseball teams. Let me ask you this question about your dad, because you talked about your grandfather owning a saloon and all the tragedy of that. And then you're talking about your dad accepting Christ. What what happened there for your dad?

What triggered him to look toward his Heavenly Father, not his earthly father? Well, my grandfather owned a saloon called the Mad Hatter in Orlando, Florida. And my mom was pregnant with my brother and I.

My sister was three years old, Sister Tracy. And dad was just, he was an alcoholic, chain smoker. I mean, he just had so many habits. Very much like your grandfather.

Exactly. He was going in my grandfather's footsteps. Well, one day, my mom says, that's it, you're going to church with me. And so he goes to church, a little free Methodist church in Kissimmee, Florida. He gets radically saved. He said that it was as if the Lord took the road. The roof of the church building off and the angels stepped into his heart and opened it up for Jesus. And he was crying so hard he couldn't drive home.

So he had mom drive home. He walked home and on that two mile walk, he surrendered to full time ministry. So for the next six months, he was stocking the beer cooler, singing Amazing Grace and witnessing to everyone bellying up to the bar. And he finally sold the bar and paid for seminary, Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. And then we started the church in Dallas, Texas. Jason and I were four years old. Dad was, I mean, four years into his walk with the Lord. And it gets even better as my granddad began to come to church, too. Let's get to the book, Miracle in Shreveport.

Why that title? What's the connection there for you guys? What was the commitment that you made to one another? We'll see our dad when we would take vacations every summer. We had a pastor salary, so we never went anywhere big and famous. We would always just go to Atlanta, Georgia to visit family. The Holton family, Jeff and Kara Holton, our cousins. And so we would drive from Dallas up I-20 to Atlanta.

Straight shot. We would get up. It was my brother and I and our older sister. We'd lay down in the seats and dad would just take off. And three hours into the trip at 730, we were always driving through Shreveport. And dad would wake me and Jason up. He would reach back in the back seat and ruffle our heads. And he would say, boys, boys, wake up.

So we'd wake up. And he would point out of the driver's window and say, look at that stadium. Dad would always tell a story. He told stories as kids of the Yankee Stadium and the Yankee Greats. And so that looked like Yankee Stadium to us. So dad would say, one day, you boys are going to play in that stadium together on the same team at the same time.

Let's pray. And on the way back from Atlanta, same thing. This time on the way back, the lights were on because it was later at night. And we chose we're never going to pull into that parking lot or go into the stadium until we get to play there one day. Now, we did that all the way until we graduated high school at the age of 18 in 1994 and signed baseball scholarship. And to go from Dallas to Lynchburg, we drove through Atlanta up I-20. And so me and Jason together on our own, every time we passed Fairgrounds Field, the Shreveport captain's stadium, we would pray, Lord Jesus, you heard dad's prayer.

And we pray you'd hear our prayer that we would get to play in that stadium together on the same team at the same time. Let me let me ask you this about your dad and his ability to transmit to you the faith because there's a lot of men and women listening that they didn't have that kind of faith. Maybe they didn't have a father or mother.

Maybe they didn't grow up in a Christian home. What did your dad do that connected you so vibrantly? Well, he joined us in our journey and we had a shared goal. We had a shared dream, a shared vision together. Our dad actually got down into our world and he helped birth this dream. But then he helped massage it for us. It's like, guys, just imagine what could happen if you played in that stadium or you guys got to play pro ball together.

Imagine what you could do with a platform like that. And he really taught us how to imagine. He taught us how to dream.

And have fun, it sounds like. Oh, it was a blast. It was more than dreaming about fame and success. It was for something bigger, wasn't it?

That's exactly right. And dad always taught us that God wants to do something through you. It's not just something for us. So he taught us we got to be conduits, not cul-de-sacs. If God blesses you with this, it's meant to help others to see a clear picture of God.

And so that dream was birthed in us. In terms of dads who maybe have blown it, they haven't had that kind of relationship with their sons or their daughters. What can a dad do differently today? He can simply apologize.

He'd go right to them. I mean, even our dad at times had blown it, lost his temper. I mean, I've done it myself. But I remember a time when dad really lost his temper. Woke Jason and I both up. And with tears in his eyes, he said, I want to ask you to forgive me. Now, when you're a 10, 11, 12 year old kid, I mean, that means a lot when your dad says, I want to ask you to forgive me. The Lord convicted me. And just to hear the Lord convicted me, it's like, the Lord's got my back. He saw dad, you know, shouldn't have probably said that to me, but the Lord's got my back. And that really has created a crave in my brother and I to be the same type of man. And what we learned from our dad's example was, as dads and husbands, the one thing that kids and our wives, they really will respond well to is humility, is bringing them into your struggle and being able to love them. And to look your kids in the eye and say, I struggle, just like you guys do.

And I answered to God, just like you guys answer to me. So let's help each other. That was something. It's never too late. God makes beauty from ashes.

He gives strength where there is grief. So it's never too late. So let's move through that story. You had great high school careers. You went to Liberty for college. You ended up being drafted, right? We did. And let me just take you back to our senior year. My brother, this is Jason speaking.

David actually got drafted by the Mets after our senior year of high school. That's too bad. Oh, I know.

That's too bad. I didn't sign. But I didn't get drafted. And I remember sitting in the church service the Sunday after and I cried. It was tough. And just thinking, you know, Lord, maybe you don't want me to play pro ball.

But by God's grace... This is against the backdrop of a dream of playing together. That's right. Oh, yeah.

That's exactly right. Well, we both signed to play at Liberty. David didn't sign with the Mets. After our junior year, David got drafted again. And I didn't get drafted. By the Mets again, but I said no a second time.

Yeah. And, you know, that was like strike two. And I had to learn to die to the dream again. So I knew that going into my senior year, God needed to do a miracle. And by God's grace, I ended up being one of the top hitters in the nation. God turned my swing around.

It was miraculous. And we both got drafted. I was drafted by Baltimore.

David was drafted by Boston. And two years in, I broke my leg in half. It was a terrible injury. And I thought that I'd never get to even walk again.

It was that bad. By God's grace, I was able to rehab. But it took a year. And during that time, I had to let the game go again.

It was like I was learning how to die. And every time I was on this trajectory, then God pivoted me in my heart to where I had to let go of it. All the while, David, at the same time, while Jason broke his leg in half, and he's struggling through all of this dying to this dream, I got traded from Boston over to St. Louis. And that was huge for my career, because they put me in major league spring training. So here I was with Mark McGuire, and Albert Pujols was in my Bible study. And now, you know, I'm playing in front of Tony La Russa and all the big cardinal greats.

And I'm on the fast track. And things were really exciting for me. But the dream was our dream. It was Dad's dream. It was with Grandpa. So it was all four of us, Grandpa and Dad, and Jason and me.

And that's when the story really gets fun. Let's keep going. So what took place? Well, what happened a year after I broke my leg in Baltimore, while David got brought up to double A in St. Louis, I actually got released a year later, officially released by Baltimore. And so that was like strike number four.

And there's really no four strikes in baseball. So I thought it was over. I went to coach in a little independent league in Torrington, Connecticut in 2000. That summer, my career was over while David's was on the fast track. And then he actually called me up after the season was over. And he said, hey, I've got another two weeks of my season left.

Why don't you come watch me in Little Rock? And I was like, no, I don't want to, man. I kept him in Holland saying, man, it's taken me a whole summer.

It's almost it's over three and a half months and the dream's dead. Were you feeling his pain a little bit? Come watch me play. Yeah, I was.

But I thought because Laurie was we were pregnant with my second son and she had already taken back to Fort Myers. And so I was like, come on, just come up here. We'll work out in the morning. We'll go to the stadium.

You don't even you don't have to come to batting practice or anything. And so I finally talked him into it. And so that first night, we're an old War Memorial Stadium. Jason comes in. He's wearing his flip flops, got a ticket in his hand with a hot dog. I'm sure I was crushing some food after the game was over with. I said, hey, dude, why don't you come out tomorrow morning? I'm in the lineup.

I want you to throw me some batting practice. He's like, no way. I can't do it. It was hard for me to sit in the stands. Yeah, this is the first time I had ever sat in the stands because of the death of the dream.

That's right. I had already let it go. And now it's coming back again. And he's asking me to throw batting practice to him. And I actually gave in.

I've discovered I can't ever say no to anything that he says. So he's throwing me batting practice out there. And they set us up. It was the next day after the game. The next day after the game that he came.

And nobody was in the stadium. But the stadium set up for batting practice. And so he's throwing to me and hitting balls all over the field.

So we go to pick up the balls. And he's like, man, this is really hard for me. And I said, well, why don't you just take a couple of hacks? And he's like, hacks means swings. And he goes, no, I can't do it.

I said, come on, just a couple. So I get him behind up there at the plate. And I throw the first pitch and crack. He hits it over the fence. Three or four straight pitches, he's hitting the ball out of the yard. And as we're picking it up, he's like, man, I can feel it. It's coming back.

It's coming back like a freight train. Will you pray that God allows me to play on this team? And I was like, what? He said, yeah, yeah, you've only got 10 games of the season left, right?

He goes, there's only 10 games left. Wouldn't it be amazing if I signed with the Cardinals and got to play on this team and I would actually finish my career in AA? And I'm like, man, that's the dumbest thing. But I was like, OK, fine, I'll pray. So Jason and I right there in center field in War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, Arkansas, we knelt and we prayed. And I just simply said, Lord, you promise you'll give us the desires of our heart. So I pray, if it be your will, that you would allow Jason to sign and play the rest of the season with Little Rock. And so that night, can I pick up? So I was sitting in the stands that night and David, of course, he was sitting on the bench. I think that was like your third straight night.

Whatever. Something clear was going on in the organization. He's the only baseball player to ever play tailback. Get your tailback in your boy. He was sitting on the bench and I remember the second baseman for Little Rock had gotten a base hit. He's on first base. He steals second and he slides in and he does something to his wrist and he gets up and they had to actually walk him off the field.

The trainer did. David went down into the dugout to find out that he had sprained his wrist and he was out for the rest of the season. And I instantly I said, look, God's opened the door for me. There's going to be a domino effect in baseball. You know, if somebody gets hurt, they have to bring a guy up from single A, then a guy from rookie ball, then a guy from short season. And it's just a domino effect.

And that's a lot of headache with only eight or nine games to go. I said, David, why don't you pitch the idea? They could just sign your brother.

I'm right here and I'll play for nothing. He's like, dude, that's the dumbest idea. But the next day during batting practice, I'm sitting in the stands and I look over at David. Well, they call my batting group in. You know, you hit in batting groups.

There's three groups. They call my group in and I'm putting pine tar on my bat. And Jason is sitting in the stands and he goes, and I look over at him and he points, go talk to the coach. The brother that won't go away.

He just won't leave me alone. Now, remember, I'm on the fast track. I'm a phone call away from the big leagues. I had been injured earlier in the season, but now I was healed and I was playing in double A. So I walk up to the coach, the manager, his name was Hammer. And I said, hey, Hammer. I said, Hammer, listen, I know there's going to be a big domino effect with 10 games or now nine games left of the season.

Why don't you pull the scouting report on my brother and consider signing him? He said he'd play for free. And he looked at me and then looked back at the field and never said a word. The third day, we didn't have cell phones. And just before Jason and I left the house, the wall mounted phone rings and I picked the phone up and he says, hey, David, this is Aaron Bruns, clubhouse manager.

Is your brother still in town? And I said, yes. And he said, good, because the Cardinals pulled a scouting report and said it's worth a shot. Let's sign him.

And I hang the phone up and I turn around and Jason is smiling from ear to ear, shaking his head going, they want to sign me, don't they? He had no faith. I actually trusted God when I said the prayer.

I couldn't believe it. And that's a lesson for us all. That is the lesson. But if the story ended there, it would be a miracle.

But it gets a lot better. Get to it. Now, now, Jason, we jump in the truck, we drive to the stadium and I walk in and there's his locker, Jason Benham. There's my locker, David Benham.

We're playing on the same. And I'm just in my mind, like, I can't believe this is actually happening. Jason signs the contract. I wasn't expecting to play. I was just expecting to be a backup guy. On the bench with your brother.

That's right. That night. Well, that night we're on the bench. I don't know why I was on the bench again.

I still can't figure this out. But we were on the bench that night. But now we're sitting in the club, in the dugout together. The night before, Jason's in the stands. Now I'm sitting here next to my brother and I'm just taking this all in like, Lord, I just did not have the faith for this.

This is just amazing. He's in a uniform in the dugout right now. Well, sixth inning, they had the El Paso Diablos in town, 6'7 lefty on the mound, going to the big leagues the next day. He's throwing a no-hit shutout, which means nobody's gotten a hit, no runs hit scored, we're down 1-0. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Hammer yells, our manager yells from third base, he says, bet him! And he says, you're pinch hitting! And he screams and he does the right-handed pinch hitter move. Well, I'm a righty, David.

I'd been playing. He's a lefty on the mound. It only makes sense for baseball that a left-handed pitcher throws to a right-handed hitter.

So I get up. I hit left. I hit from the left side. Jason hits from the left side. So I get up and I'm putting my batting gloves on and he yells across the field, no! You're brother! Now remember, David is a tailback.

Just remember. So Jason sits up real fast, his eyes so big, and he goes, oh my gosh, somebody give me some batting gloves. So I give him my batting gloves, he grabs a bat, puts a helmet on, walks up to the top step of the dugout and looks back at all the players and says, boys, I'll be right back.

I wasn't expecting anything was going to happen. So now I'm sitting on the end of the bench and I'm watching Jason walk up to the plate in a packed stadium, thousands of people there. He's got a bat just like the natural. He's got a bat in his hand and he's walking up to the plate and I'm sitting there like, Lord Jesus, this is miraculous. So I slid to the, I was already on the end of the bench, I slid off the bench to my knee and I prayed, Lord, help him just to make contact.

I could look like such an idiot here. Lord, please just help him to make contact. It's all about me. So this guy winds up and lets it loose and I played enough baseball with Jason to know, it didn't matter where that ball was going, he was swinging. And he puts it right down the middle of the plate and Jason unloads on it and hits a missile and it starts taking off towards center field and my heart's beating out of my chest. The stands are going nuts and the center fielder's just digging towards the center field fence. He was all out and I thought, man, he's going to catch this thing.

He couldn't catch up to him. It hits off the wall. Jason's in for a stand up double and the stadium explodes. All I remember is that old song Cotton Eyed Joe. You remember that song back in the day? How does it go?

Well, I don't want to hear the ass move. Now let me let me bring it home here just in one minute. I remember standing out there on second base just the night before I was in the stands and now I'm here, you know, standing on second base, got a jersey on, actually broke up a no hitter. Two guys later actually hit a home run. We won the game two to nothing.

Sitting in the clubhouse just after the game, our manager walks in and he's like, guys, this was a fantastic game. We got four games to go. It's a road trip.

I want everybody to show up early tomorrow because we're going to get in the bus. Shreveport is just down the road. We had we did not even look at we had never looked at the schedule. We did not. So you had that. We were going to Shreveport. My goodness.

Oh, my goodness. Both of us looked up at each other. We were like, this is it. It was almost like the Lord had ripped the clubhouse roof off and said, I am real.

I hear your prayers. And you didn't even realize. Exactly. Jason broke his leg. I was there.

Jason got released. I was there. I was there all along the way, even when you got hurt in spring training. I was there, even though you can't see me working behind to bring it all back home to our dad. When we got to Shreveport the next day, David and I went to the field early. We found a little gate that was open and we had called our dad to tell him we're going to Shreveport.

So he was on his way up for the game that night. You've never been in this field. Never. Never once. Right.

Remember that. And we got down on our knees in center field and we prayed hands up to the sky. And when we turned around and we stood up and we looked back and our dad was at the top of the stands with his hands in the air and saying, only God could do something like that.

Just tears streaming down his face. He had been watching us sit there praying. And God brought it all back right there.

A dream with a boy and his dad, you know, and two boys and their dad. And our grandpa had already gone to heaven at that point. But that was powerful. Something that when David and I went through a struggle with HGTV many years later, we held onto this story.

To know that when you're going through a dark time, you can trust that God is behind the scenes putting the pieces of the puzzle together for you. I mean, you've put the exclamation on it right there with the lightning in the background. That's right.

I mean, this is a Father's Day story. Amen. And that scene in my mind of him having his hands held up in center field, watching his boys pray and thanking God for answering their prayers, his prayers.

That's right. That is what it's all about, isn't it? Staying faithful. So even when we can't see the Lord working, we know that he's behind the curtain. We know he's behind the scenes and he's crafting our story and writing it into his story. And for those who didn't have an earthly father, you can trust you have a heavenly father that's right there with you. Man, that is the message. And he loves us and cares for us.

And I love the scripture, he's close to the broken hearted and saves those crushed in spirit. Your dream was crushed. That's right. But God was there. That's right.

He said, I got something else for you. Even better. And on the way, we'll stop and we'll play the game in Shreveport.

That's exactly right. And then what happened for those that are going, Jim, what's the end of the story? What happened after that Shreveport game? Jason actually ended up, we ended up playing together in Shreveport. He was six for 11, which means six base hits and 11 at bats, which is significant.

That's over 500. That's right. He was runner up for Texas.

You can play on my team. That's right. He was runner up for Texas League Player of the Week. He had multiple teams offer him a contract at the end of the season and the Cardinals actually offered him. And they called him the day before he left for his honeymoon because he got married that December. And the farm director said, where do you want your contract sent?

And he ended up saying, no, don't give me a contract. I'm done with baseball. I've lived the dream. Wow. So that was enough for you.

Yep, that's exactly right. Thank the Lord David answered that question for me. Great job. Now David and Jason, what a beautiful, what a beautiful story about your grandfather, about your dad, about the two of you living a dream and loving the Lord. And this is the kind of positive Father's Day story that I love to share. And as John said earlier, if you're struggling, get ahold of us. Let us put a copy of David and Jason's book into your hands, The Miracle in Shreveport.

And wherever you're living, I believe that's where God will want to do His miracle in you. We certainly had a fun time at David and Laurie Benham's house near Charlotte, North Carolina, and a group of friends seated all around the living room and kitchen and some thunder in the background and the interaction between those two brothers. It was so good to be with people who love the Lord. I mean, I know you understand what that feels like, sitting around the kitchen table and talking about God and what God has done in your life. Twin brothers really know how to jab each other.

They do. They were going at it the whole time. It was fun. But what a powerful testimony and what a story about their faithful dad who guided them to faith in Christ. That's every parent's wish and dream. He prayed for their dreams to come true and then nurtured that dream until it became a reality.

And grandpa came to faith, too, in the whole process. What a story heading into Father's Day weekend. If you're able, tell your dad that you love him.

If he's living, find some way to show appreciation for him for anything good that he may have contributed to your life. And maybe those are thin actions, but find one and say thank you. Let me turn and say that family is at the core of what we do here at Focus. It's the universal language, isn't it? I've traveled to more than 70 countries on behalf of Focus, and it is true. Everybody speaks the language of family. Be a part of changing lives and making an eternal difference by making a monthly pledge to Focus today.

Large or small, that's not what's important. Simply having a large number of people standing with us, supporting us, praying for us, is what will make the difference. And when you do, I want to send you a copy of David and Jason's book, Miracle in Shreveport, as our way of saying thank you for being there for us. And you can make that monthly pledge, or if you're not in a position to do that, make a one-time gift of any amount to the ministry. We'll say thank you by sending David and Jason's book. That really is an incredible story they have.

And you can make the donation and get the book by calling us, 800-a-family, or check the show notes for the links. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I'm John Fuller inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ. I was convinced that nothing could change what was going on in our marriage, and I didn't want to try anymore. But my commitment to God helped me try one more time. We went to a Hope Restored marriage intensive, and it was life-changing. The counselors created the safest environment we could imagine, so that let us really talk. We're on a much different course now, and I believe we received a miracle that week. Receive your free consultation at
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-31 12:26:08 / 2023-03-31 12:39:15 / 13

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