Ten-year-old Anthony Madino didn’t have much in life – a life lived mostly behind closed doors in Brooklyn, New York. To venture outside was to ask for trouble as bullies, drug pushers, thieves, and drive-by shootings were the norm in little Anthony’s neighborhood. Anthony’s prize possession was his baseball.
On Saturday mornings, long before all the thugs were up and out on the streets, Anthony would skip down the stairs from his fourth-floor apartment, out onto the sidewalk and spend the next hour throwing his baseball up in the air, catch it, and do it again. He would imagine himself catching a fly ball in the outfield on a major league team.
His dreaming would all too soon be interrupted by the fact that if he was to avoid trouble and keep from having his baseball stolen, he needed to go back inside, as the streets were beginning to get busy.
Oh, how Anthony’s mother regretted the fact she was trapped in a section of Brooklyn where they lived in such a rundown apartment. She loved her son and prayed to somehow be able to move to a place where her son might even be able to play on a little league team.
Mrs. Madino would get off the bus and walk quickly about a half block to their apartment building. This daily routine for her was even more emotionally exhausting than her job as a waitress was physically tiring.
It was only after she opened the door to the apartment and saw that Anthony had gotten home safely from school could she relax. Twice in the past last year alone, bullies had beaten Anthony up on his way home from school. When his mother had come home and saw her son’s beaten and bruised face and felt this sorrowful heart, she would cry and hold her son and tell him, no matter what, they had to keep trusting God.
It was February when, one evening Mrs. Madino became violently ill. She began throwing up and her temperature was already 104.5. Anthony went to some of the neighbor’s apartments, but like the Madino’s, no one would open their doors for anyone, especially after dark. Little Anthony went out on the street and shouted for help, but people just avoided him. He then waved to the passing cars in hoping one of the drivers of those cars would stop and help him. No one even slowed down.
Finally in desperation Anthony ran back up the four flights of stairs and grabbed his most prized possession – his baseball. He flew back down the stairs, out onto the sidewalk and made a throw any major league player would have been proud of. He nailed a late model luxury sedan smack in the middle of the door. You could hear the tires screeching to a halt half a mile away.
The driver backed up, pulled back against the curb and grabbed little Anthony. The driver was obviously furious because of the dent Anthony had just put in the side of his car with his perfect throw.
He demanded to know what he thought he was doing. Anthony, scared and crying, said “My mom is dying, and no one will stop to help. I had to do something to get someone to help.” The man’s anger started to diminish. He said, “Take me to her.”
He carried Anthony’s mom back down to the first floor. He put her in the back seat of his car. He had Anthony get in the front seat and buckle up and then he sped off to the hospital. The man came back to check on Anthony and see how his mom was doing the next day AND the day after that. It seems Anthony made the perfect throw, but God chose the target. Anthony’s mom will be getting married soon. They will be moving out of New York City. Not only has Anthony a new baseball and glove, but he is also going to get to play on a genuine little league team.
When the coach asked his new stepdad if Anthony had a pretty good arm. He smiled, pointed to the dent in the side of his car and said, “A good arm – like a rocket.” Last we heard his new stepdad hadn’t even bothered to have the dent fixed. Kind of a reminder God answers prayer and loves godly hearts, like Anthony’s and his mom’s. Psalms 54 says
“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are open to their cry. The righteous cry out and the Lord hears and delivers them from their troubles.”
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