Every baseball player dreams of making it to the majors, but to tie a Major League Baseball record within the first week would be something really special. Chase Wright, a rookie pitcher for the New York Yankees, did just that in only his second game after being called up from a Double-A team—though probably not in the way he had hoped.
On April 22, 2007, Wright gave up a record four consecutive home runs to the Boston Red Sox, allowing the Red Sox to sweep their division rivals in their first meeting of the season. In doing so, Wright tied the record previously held by Paul Foytack, who gave up four consecutive homers in 1963.
Rather than berate the young pitcher, then Yankee skipper Joe Torre said, "It's just another piece of experience for that kid. It has nothing to do with what he's going to be or what's going to happen in the future. I still think he's going to be special. He's a pretty tough kid."
While Torre's confidence was certainly heartening to Wright, he received some support in the mail from someone who could really empathize with his plight. Paul Foytack, Wright's partner in baseball infamy, mailed him a letter of encouragement the next morning. "He's kind of young to be going through that," Foytack said. “Hopefully, he'll take it to heart."
There was only one other person on the planet who knew exactly how Chase felt, and that was Paul Foytack. Because of that, Paul was the one person whose words of encouragement would mean the most to Chase.
God equips us, through the most disappointing or painful experiences of our lives, for the ministry of encouragement. Had Paul Foytack not had the same experience, he would not have been able to offer Chase such meaningful comfort.
It is through our disappointments that God empowers us to empathize with the very people who most need it.
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us" (2 Corinthians 1:3-7).