Defying the Odds

1 Samuel 17

Reader alert: [I wrote this back when Lenny Dykstra was playing for the Mets. But the truth still applies.] No offense, but Lenny Dykstra doesn’t look like much of an athlete. He looks more like some team’s mascot. Or like the guy who wears that silly chicken suit and does cartwheels around stadiums. The kid can’t stand much more than five-seven. That little Dutch boy is the starting center fielder for the National League New York Mets. Nicknamed “Nails”—as in “tough as” and “harder than.”

With game three of the 1986 National League Championship Series fairly boring and all but over—bottom of the ninth, Mets losing—veteran Houston Astros’ reliever Dave Smith must have smiled inside as the little guy walked up to the plate. Dykstra fouled off Smith’s stinging fastball, and then, without hesitation, he slammed the next one over the fence. We’re talking Big Apple Explosion!

As LA Times sportswriter Gordon Edes put it: “His you-gotta-believe-it, two-run home run gave the Mets a 6-5 win and transformed Shea Stadium—as polite as Carnegie Hall for most of the overcast afternoon—into a high-fivin’, Astro-defyin’, bring-on-the-World-Series-jivin’ madhouse.”

I always sit up and take notice when odds are defied. We all do, don’t we? That’s why we pull for the underdog. And why we never tire of the David-and-Goliath story. Or the way those walls fell flat at Jericho. Or the crossing of the Red Sea. Or Daniel standing nose-to-nose with a den full of hungry lions.

It’s no big deal for huge hunks of humanity to hit homers. But when the little fella smashes one over four hundred feet, that’s news.

Why? Because that gives all of us hope. If he can do that, surrounded by all those towering odds stacked against him, then there’s hope for me, facing all my odds. It’s like getting a shot of fresh motivation in both arms.

Want to defy the odds? Aim high. Forget “I can’t.”

Or, in baseball parlance, get hold of that bat, step up to the plate, and slam that sucker outa the park!

“But the bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet not withstanding go out to meet it” (Thucydides).

We all sit up and take notice when odds are defied, don't we? If you’re an underdog, aim high. Forget "I can't."

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Taken from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson.

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Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.