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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Seeing the Fruits of a Dad’s Faithful Prayers

Seeing the Fruits of a Dad’s Faithful Prayers

Twin brothers David Benham and Jason Benham share an incredible story about family and faith as they describe how their dream of playing professional baseball came true with their father's love, prayers and guidance.
Original Air Date: June 15, 2018

Preview:

John Fuller: 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.

End of Preview

Jim Daly: John, we’re at the home of David and Lori Benham, near Charlotte, N.C. We got some friends in the house, so let’s hear from the friends.

(CHEERING)

David Benham: And the crowd goes wild.

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

David: Yes.

Jim: 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.

David: Yeah, man.

Jim: This is cool.

David: It’s been amazing. And you’re looking at Jason, but I’m David.

(LAUGHTER)

David: I caught you right out of…

Jim: You should – you should go to the website. You’ll see why I’m confused, too.

David: Where did the name tags go?

Jim: Yeah, where – hey…

Jason Benham: Listen. I’m the better-looking one.

David: We deliberately took our name tags off to throw you guys for a loop.

Jim: (Laughter).

David: But it’s been awesome. Thank you for coming…

Jim: Now, you guys – how far apart are you in birth order?

Jason: Two minutes.

Jim: Two minutes. But who’s first?

Jason: David is.

David: Of course.

Jim: (Laughter) So, you’re the little brother.

Jason: No – but listen. You know in the Bible that the older always serves the younger. It’s true.

Jim: (Laughter) Is that – I thought it was the opposite of that.

David: You know how many times that I have heard that?

John: I don’t think that’s the design, though.

Jim: That’s kind of backward.

Jason: It works every time, too. (Laughter)

Jim: So you guys…

David: That one didn’t work. I didn’t hear anybody else laughing.

Jim: You obviously don’t love each other very much.

David: No. No.

Jim: (Laughter).

David: You know, here – it’s – it’s funny, because somebody, after one time we spoke – and we rag each other all the time. We spend a lot of times in locker rooms. And – 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, “That will never happen.”

(LAUGHTER)

Jason: That’s not gonna happen.

David: No.

Jim: I love it. You guys are brothers.

David: Not a chance.

Jim: I can 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.” (Laughter).

David: Well, this is very true.

Jim: 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 – a whole story connected there. What was their relationship like?

David: Well, Dad and Grandpa, it was a little difficult early in life. Grandpa owned a saloon called Benham’s, 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 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.

Jim: Still.

David: 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. And that really birthed the love for baseball and the Yankees in our dad’s heart.

Jim: Well, in fact – yeah, in the book you say that that was the best day of his life.

Jason: That’s exactly right.

Jim: Is that how he described it?

Jason: And our dad said that 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.

Jim: You know, it – Father’s Day, it’s a mixed message for me, because my dad was not a great father. And of course, my mom and dad divorced 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.”

David: Wow.

Jim: 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 and…

David: Oh, yeah. Charlie Hustle.

Jim: …Uh, you know, Johnny Bench and 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.

David: 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 gonna coach all of our baseball teams.

Jim: 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?

Jason: That’s right. Dad, when he got out of the military, my granddad gave him a saloon called the Mad Hatter in Orlando, Florida. And my mom was pregnant with my brother and I. My sister was 3 years old, sister Tracy. And – and dad was just – he was an alcoholic, chain smoker. I mean, he just had so many habits.

Jim: Very much like your grandfather.

Jason: 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’s – it was as if the Lord took the roof of the church building off, and the angels stepped into his heart and – 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.

Jim: (Laughter) Oh, my goodness.

Jason: And he finally sold the bar and paid for seminary, Asbury Theological Seminary, in Wilmore, Kentucky. And then we started a 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 – it gets even better, as my granddad began to come to church, too.

Jim: 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?

David: Well, see, our dad, when we would take vacations every summer, we had a pastor’s 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 Cara Holton, our cousins. And…

Jason: From Dallas.

David: And so we would drive from Dallas up I-20 to Atlanta, straight shot. We would get up. We – it was my brother and I and our older sister – we’d lay down in the seats. And Dad would just take off. And – and three hours into the trip at 7:30, 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 us stories as kids of Yankee Stadium and the Yankee greats, and so that looked like Yankee Stadium to us. So, Dad would say, “One day, you boys are gonna 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 gonna 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 scholarships to play at Liberty. 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 Fair Grounds Field, the Shreveport Captains stadium, we would pray, “Lord Jesus…

Jim: Wow.

David: …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.”

Jim: 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 father or mother. Maybe they didn’t grow up in a Christian home. What did your dad do that connected you so vibrantly?

Jason: Well, he joined us in our journey. 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. He’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.

Jim: And have fun, it sounds like.

Jason: Oh, it was a blast.

John: And it was more than dreaming about fame and success.

Jason: That’s right.

John: It was for something bigger, wasn’t it?

Jason: That’s exactly right, and Dad always taught us, you know, 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 – that dream was birthed in us.

Jim: Let me ask you, 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?

David: 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.”

Jim: It does, yeah.

David: “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.

Jason: And what we learned from our dad’s example was – as dads and husbands – the one thing that kids and our wives – that they really will respond well to is humility, is bringing them into your struggle and being able to look your kids in the eye and say, “I struggle just like you guys do. And I answer to God, just like you guys answer to me. So let’s help each other.” That was something our dad taught us.

Jim: That’s good advice.

David: And it’s never too late. God makes beauty from ashes.

Jim: Yeah.

David: He gives strength where there is grief, so it’s never too late.

Jim: 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?

Jason: 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. I didn’t.

Jim: Oh, that’s too bad.

Jason: Oh, I know.

Jim: (Laughter).

David: I didn’t sign.

Jason: But I didn’t get drafted. And I remember sitting in the church service the Sunday after, and I cried. It was tough. And…

Jim: Yeah.

Jason: …just thinking, you know, Lord, maybe you don’t want me to play pro ball, but by God’s grace…

John: This is against the backdrop of a dream of playing together.

Jason: That’s right.

David: Oh, yeah.

John: Yeah.

Jason: 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. So now…

David: By the Mets again.

Jason: It’s like…

David: But I said no a second time.

Jason: 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…

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’d put me in major league spring training. So, here I was with Mark McGwire – and Albert Pujols was in my Bible study. And now, you know, I’m – 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.

Jim: Let’s keep going.

Jason: Well…

Jim: So what took place?

Jason: 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.

John: Really over.

Jason: I went to coach in a, 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 – I…”

David: He kept hemming and hawing, saying, “Man, it’s taken…”

Jason: I’ve already got…

David: …”me a whole summer. It’s almost – it’s over three and a half months, and the dream’s dead.”

Jim: Were you feeling his pain a little bit?

David: I was.

Jim: Come watch me play?

David: Yeah, I was.

Jim: What are you thinking?

David: But I thought – because Lori was – we were pregnant with my second son, and she had already taken him 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 in old War Memorial Stadium. Jason comes in. He’s wearing his flip-flops. He’s got a ticket in his hand with a hot dog, I’m sure.

Jason: I was crushing some food.

David: And…

(LAUGHTER)

David: And after – 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. And he’s like, no way, I can’t do it.”

Jason: It was hard for me to sit in the stands.

Jim: Yeah.

Jason: This is the first time I had ever sit – sat in the stands.

John: Because of the death of the dream.

Jason: That’s right. I had already let it go. And now…

Jim: You’re grieving it.

Jason: …It’s coming back…

Jim: Yeah.

Jason: …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.

Jim: (Laughter).

David: So, he’s throwing me batting practice out there. And they set us up – it was the next day after the game that he came. And, nobody was in the stadium, but they had 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, “uh, 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, “C’mon, just a couple.” So, I get him behind – uh, 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. By this time, he’s dripping with sweat. He’s so out of shape.

Jason: I haven’t swung the bat in a while.

David: You’re not swinging…

John: The hotdogs…

Jim: Well, maybe those hotdogs…

John: …Came back to you (laughter).

David: That’s right.

Jason: Yeah.

David: So we go, and we start picking some balls up that he had hit in the field. 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, yeah, you’ve only get 10 games in the season left.”

Jason: How about that for faith, right?

David: Yeah.

Jim: Yeah, there you go.

David: 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 double A?” 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 centerfield 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…

Jason: Do you want me to pick up?

David: …That night…

Jason: Can I pick up?

Jim: This is it.

Jason: So I was…

Jim: This is it.

Jason: …In the stands that night. And David, of course, he was sitting on the bench. I think that was like your third straight time…

David: Whatever. No it wasn’t.

(LAUGHTER)

David: Something clearly…

Jason: He’s the only baseball player…

David: …Going on in the organization.

Jason: …To ever play tailback.

(LAUGHTER)

Jason: He’d run out on the field. Coach’d say, “Get your tail back in here, Boy.”

(LAUGHTER)

Jason: So anyway, 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 – 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 gonna 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…

John: Yeah.

Jason: …at David.

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, “Psst, psst.” And I look over at him, and he points, “Go talk to the coach.”

Jim: The brother that…

David: Yeah.

Jim: …Won’t go away.

Jason: That’s right.

David: He just won’t leave me alone.

Jim: (Laughter).

David: 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 – to the coach – the manager. His name was Hammer. And I said…

Jim: (Laughter) Hammer.

David: …”Hey, Hammer” – I said, “Hammer, listen, I know there’s gonna 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 cellphones. And just before Jason and I left the house, the wall-mounted phone rings. And I pick the phone up. And he says, “Hey, David, this is Aaron Brunz, clubhouse manager. Is your brother still in town?” And I said, “Yes.” And he said, “Good, because the Cardinals pulled his 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?

Jason: He had no faith. I actually trusted God, when I said the prayer.

(LAUGHTER)

David: I couldn’t believe it.

Jason: And that’s a lesson for us all.

John: Yeah.

David: Now, listen…

Jim: That is the lesson.

David: Listen…

(LAUGHTER)

David: But the story – if the story ended there, it would be a miracle. But it gets a lot better. But maybe…

Jim: Get to it.

David: Maybe – oh, OK.

Jim: No, get to it. Tell us. We’re…

David: Now…

Jim: …Coming in.

David: OK, yeah. Now – now, Jason and I, 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…

John: Same team…

David: …Same…

John: …Together.

David: And I’m just – in my mind, like, I can’t believe this is actually happening. Jason signs the contract.

Jason: I wasn’t expecting to play. I was just expecting to be a backup guy. And…

Jim: On the bench with your brother.

Jason: That’s right.

David: Well, that night…

Jim: (Laughter).

Jason: Yeah, with David. Well, that night, we’re on the bench.

John: He needed company.

David: I don’t know why I was on the bench again. I still can’t figure this out.

Jim: (Laughter).

David: But…

Jason: Tailback.

David: …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.

Jim: Right.

David: 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-foot-7 lefty on the mound, going to the big leagues the next day. He’s throwing a no-hit shutout, which means nobody had gotten a hit, no runs had scored. We’re down one to nothing. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Hammer yells – our manager – yells from third base. He says, “Benham!” 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.

Jason: But I hit left. I hit from the left side.

David: 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! Your brother!”

Jason: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

David: And honestly, Jason…

Jason: Now, remember, David is a tailback.

(LAUGHTER)

Jason: Just remember.

David: So, Jason sits up real fast, his eyes so big. And he goes, “Oh, my gosh, somebody give me some batting gloves!”

(LAUGHTER)

David: 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 said, “Boys, I’ll be right back.”

(LAUGHTER)

Jason: I wasn’t expecting anything was gonna happen.

David: So now – 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.

Jim: The natural. There’s thunderstorm…

David: The bat in his hand

Jim: Yep.

David: 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 bench. I slid off the bench to my knee. And I was – I prayed, Lord, help him just to make contact. I could look like such an idiot here. Lord, please just help him…

Jim: It’s all about you (laughter).

David: …to make contact.

John: Yeah.

David: It was all about me.

Jason: I got this.

John: Yeah.

Jason: Thank you, John.

John: Yeah.

David: So, this guy winds up and lets it loose. And I’d 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 centerfield. And – and my heart’s beating out of my chest. The stands are going nuts. And the centerfielder’s just digging towards the centerfield fence. He was all out. And I thought, man, he’s gonna catch this thing. He couldn’t catch up to it. And it hits off the wall. Jason’s in for a stand-up double, and the stadium explodes.

Jason: All I remember is that old song, Cotton Eyed Joe.

Jim: (Laughter).

Jason: You remember that song back in the day?

Jim: How does it go? (laughter)

Jason: Well, no, you don’t want to hear that.

David: I could show you the dance move.

Jason: 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 homerun. 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’ve got four games to go. It’s a road trip. I want everybody to show up early tomorrow, because we’re gonna get in the bus. Shreveport is just down the road.” And we had…

David: We…

Jason: We did not even look at the schedule.

David: We had never looked at the schedule. We did not know…

Jim: So you had that uh-oh…

David: …We were going to Shreveport.

Jim: My goodness.

David: Oh, my goodness.

Jason: Yeah.

David: Both of us looked up at each other. And we were like…

Jim: This is it.

David: It was almost like the Lord had ripped the clubhouse roof off and said, “I am real.”

John: That’s right.

David: “I hear your prayers.”

Jim: And you didn’t even realize it.

David: 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 the scenes.

Jason: And 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.

Jim: You’d never been in this field.

David: Never.

Jason: Never once…

Jim: You remember that.

Jason: …Had been in this field. And we got down on our knees in centerfield, 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 this…

David: Just tears streaming down his face.

Jason: He had been watching us out there pray. And God brought it all back right there. A dream…

David: It was an absolute miracle.

Jason: …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 hold – 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.

Jim: I mean, you’ve put the exclamation on it right there, with the lightning in the background.

David: That’s right.

Jim: I mean this is a father – a Father’s Day story. And that scene in my mind of him having his hands held up in centerfield…

David: Yes, that’s right.

Jim: …Watching his boys pray and thanking…

David: That’s exactly right.

Jim: …God for answering their prayers – his prayers.

David: That’s right.

Jason: Yeah.

Jim: That is what it’s all about, isn’t it?

David: Staying faithful.

Jim: Man.

David: 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.

Jason: And for those who didn’t have an earthly father, you can trust you have a Heavenly Father that’s right there with you.

Jim: Man, that is – that is the message. And He loves us and cares for us. And I love the Scripture. “He’s close to the brokenhearted and saves those crushed in spirit.” Your dream was crushed.

Jason: That’s right.

Jim: But God was there.

Jason: That’s right. Four times.

Jim: He said, “I’ve got something else for ya.”

Jason: Even better.

Jim: And on the way, we’ll stop, and we’ll play the game in Shreveport.

Jason: That’s exactly right.

Jim: And then happened, for those that are going, “Jim, what’s the end of the story?”

David: Yeah.

Jim: What happened after that Shreveport game?

David: Jason actually ended up – we ended up playing together in Shreveport. He was 6 for 11, which means six base hits in 11 at bats.

Jim: That is good.

David: Which is significant. He was…

Jim: That’s over 500.

David: That’s right. He was runner-up for Texas…

Jim: He can play on my team.

David: 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 – 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.”

Jim: Wow. So that was enough for you.

Jason: Only God could – yup, that’s exactly right.

Jim: Man, David…

Jason: Thank the Lord, David answered that question for me.

(LAUGHTER)

Jason: Great job.

Jim: Now, David and Jason, what a beautiful – (laughter) what a beautiful story about your grandfather, about your dad and 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 a hold 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.

John: We certainly had a fun time at David and Lori 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.

Jim: It was so good to be with people who love the Lord. I mean, I know you understand what that feels like sitting around a kitchen table and talking about God and what God has done in your life. Twin brothers really know how to jab each other though don’t they?

John: They do. There is such competition there.

Jim: 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 wanna 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.

John: You can make that monthly pledge or if you’re not in the position to be able to do that, make a simple 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 at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Or call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. 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.

Today's Guests

Miracle in Shreveport: A Memoir of Baseball, Fatherhood, and the Stadium That Launched a Dream

Receive the book Miracle in Shreveport for your donation of any amount! Plus, receive member-exclusive benefits when you make a recurring gift today. Your monthly support helps families thrive.

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Mrs. Wendy Speake

With a background in Hollywood as a trained actress, Wendy Speake ministers to women as a bible teacher by applying the power of drama, poetry and comedy to the study of Scripture and real-life application of biblical truths. She has co-authored two books with Amber Lia titled Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses and their latest, Parenting Scripts: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, Say Something New. Wendy is also the co-author (with Kelli Stuart) of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom.

Cover image of the book "The 40-Day Sugar Fast"

The 40-Day Sugar Fast: Where Physical Detox Meets Spiritual Transformation

Welcome to the 40-Day Sugar Fast, a fast that begins with us giving Jesus our sugar and ends with Jesus giving us himself–the only thing that can ever truly satisfy our soul’s deep hunger. On this 40-day journey you’ll learn how to stop fixating on food and other things you use to fill the voids in life and instead fix your eyes on Christ. Anyone who runs to sugar for comfort or a reward, who eats mindlessly or out of boredom, who feels physically and spiritually lethargic, or who struggles with self-control will discover here not only freedom from their cravings but an entirely new appetite for the good things God has for us.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 1

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 2

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 2

Debra Fileta has identified the four seasons of marriage that correspond with our natural seasons – spring (new life and new love), summer (things get hot!), fall (showing our true colors), and winter (long days ahead). In this interview, she will help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.

Reconciling Faith and Science in a Medical Crisis

Dr. Lee Warren is a neurosurgeon who has faced many heavy challenges in his life – from serving in the Iraq War to removing deadly brain tumors to experiencing the loss of a teenage son. He’ll share about his difficult quest to find answers to some of life’s toughest questions, while holding onto his faith in God and the sure hope of heaven

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. W. Lee Warren

Dr. Lee Warren

W. Lee Warren, M.D., is a brain surgeon , inventor, Iraq War veteran, and author of I’ve Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon’s Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know, winner of the Christian Book Award®. His previous book, No Place to Hide, was included on the 2015 U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff’s Recommended Reading List. Dr. Warren has appeared on The 700 Club and the CBS Evening News, and his writings have been featured in Guideposts magazine. His Dr. Lee Warren Podcast, which is heard in more than 60 countries, helps listeners use the power of neuroscience, faith, and common sense to change their lives.

Cover image of Dr. Lee Warren's book "I've Seen the End of You"

I've Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon's Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know

This gripping inspirational memoir grapples with the tension between faith and science—and between death and hope—as a seasoned neurosurgeon faces insurmountable odds and grief both in the office and at home.

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 1

Jodie Berndt loves to pray for her children. She’s been doing that for the past thirty years. Now she helps other parents to talk to God, asking for the salvation of their kids, and for wisdom, self-discipline, purpose, a future and much more. She offers fun and practical encouragement that moms and dads can put to work immediately in their daily lives as they prepare their children for a life in Christ.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt is a public speaker, a Bible teacher, and the the author of 10 books. Find out more about Jodie and get some free resources (including printable prayer cards and calendars) at her website, jodieberndt.com.

Cover image of Jodie Berndt's book "Praying the Scriptures for Your Children"

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

You will discover how using the Bible to shape your desires and requests opens the door to God’s provision—and frees us from things like worry and fear in our parenting! This expanded edition of the bestseller features updated content on issues like technology and identity, and comes with new material designed to invite children into the family prayer circle. Purchase now and receive 10% off your product.

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 1

Rhonda Stoppe describes her early motherhood challenges of raising a son, which was intimidating to her. She found help through group of older women mentors. She urges moms to see their role as ministry in shaping sons to be good and godly men. Rhonda outlines several practical suggestions to moms about spiritual training, how to communicate with boys, and supporting the father-son relationship as a wife.

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

Drawing upon 35 years of experience as a mentor, pastor’s wife, and homeschool mom, Rhonda Stoppe offers encouragement and guidance to women as an author and public speaker. She is popularly known as the “No Regrets Woman,” as she is especially passionate about helping women live life without regrets. Rhonda’s books include Moms Raising Sons to Be MenReal Life Romance, and The Marriage Mentor, which she co-authored with her husband, Steve.

Cover image of Rhonda Stoppe's book "Moms Raising Sons to be Men"

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

Mothers of boys have the special calling to shape future men of God. Popular speaker Rhonda Stoppe, mom to two sons, knows this opportunity is a challenge, a joy, and probably the most important work of a woman’s life. Drawing from years of experience, this inspirational resource will revive the faithfulness and fortitude a woman needs to partner with God as they shape the character and heart of a future godly man.

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage Part 1

They were both convinced they had married the wrong person. From almost the very beginning of their marriage, Amber and Guy Lia experienced various tensions and personality clashes related to house cleaning, backseat driving, workaholism, and intimacy. In this two-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Amber and Guy discuss how they bravely faced the triggers head-on, and committed to working on their own relationships with Jesus. As you listen to the Lia’s story, you’ll feel hope that you, too, can see real marriage transformation!

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

Mr. and Mrs. Guy and Amber Lia and Mrs. Jean Daly

Amber Lia is a work-at-home mom, blogger, public speaker, and co-author of two best-selling books. Her husband, Guy, is a former TV, feature film, and VFX development and production executive who has worked on popular TV shows and films. Guy and Amber own Storehouse Media Group, a faith- and family-friendly TV and film production company based in Los Angeles,

Cover image of the book "Marriage Triggers" by Guy and Amber Lia

Marriage Triggers: How You and Your Spouse Can Exchange Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses

A husband-wife team offers practical advice for married couples to end the cycle of reactionary arguments by examining the most common issues that trigger disagreements and apply God’s Word to radically transform relationships.

What to Do When You're Not Okay - Part 1

Life can be pretty stressful. Between work, relationships, and other obligations, the pressure builds, and we lose sight of who we are. Counselor Debra Fileta helps you better understand your emotions, assess your mental, physical, and spiritual health, and intentionally pursue a path to wellbeing. In dealing with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, Debra understands the importance of self-examination as well as the benefits of seeking professional help. She offers biblically-based advice, tools, and encouragement to help you get on a path toward healing and wholeness.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage. Debra resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, John, and their four children.

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

In Are You Really OK? author and licensed counselor Debra Fileta challenges you to get real with who you are and how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically so you can recognize where you need growth and healing.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 1

As a pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker has seen thousands of girls come through her office through the years. They struggle with eating issues, sexual identity, social media…and many other challenges in this toxic culture. Dr. Meeker will encourage parents to invest love and time in their daughters and develop their character to give them the best opportunity for a bright future, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. The discussion also includes healthy feminism vs. toxic feminism

Mrs. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatrician who is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on parenting, teens and children’s health. With appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, her popularity as a an expert on key issues confronting families has created a strong following across America. Her work with countless families over the years served as the inspiration behind her best-selling books which include Strong Fathers, Strong DaughtersStrong Mothers, Strong Sons and The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers

Cover image of Dr. Meg Meeker's book "Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture"

Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture: 11 Steps to Keep Her Happy, Healthy, and Safe

Meg Meeker has been a pediatrician for more than thirty years, is a mother and a grandmother, and has seen it all. She knows what makes for strong, happy, healthy young women–and what puts our daughters at risk. Combining that experience with her famous common sense, she explains the eleven steps that will help your daughter–whether she’s a toddler or a troubled teen–to achieve her full human potential.

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Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Thank you for committing to pray for the pre-born!

Sign up below for your free seven-day prayer guide. This daily guide will help give direction to your prayers for the pro-life movement. We will be praying with you! 

Focus on the Family

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