Hope From My Heart

So far in his dynamic career, my friend Rich DeVos has founded a multi-billion dollar enterprise, Amway, that employs hundreds of thousands across America and around the world. And, he owns another well-known enterprise, the NBA's Orlando Magic, which has fielded superstars like Shaquille O'Neal and Grant Hill. That's the glamorous side of his story. But Rich has known hardship and adversity. Now he has written a new book that shares what he has learned from the great triumphs of life and its darker moments. Four years ago, Rich was told by doctors that his heart was failing -- his only hope a heart transplant. Not being eligible here in the States, he was advised to go to England. It was a one-in-a- million chance that a heart would become available and not be claimed by a British citizen. I talked to Rich the day he left: It was an emotional goodbye. In June, 1997, just as his health was failing, a heart became available -- suitable for no one in England but a perfect match for Rich. They did the procedure, and the operation was a complete success. DeVos anguished, however, that somebody had to die so that he could live. But not only did God provide Rich with a new heart, he also allowed Rich to meet the donor -- yes, the donor. The woman needed a heart- lung transplant, and got it, and her old heart was therefore available for Rich. This experience and others led Rich to contemplate God's sovereignty in his life and the lessons he'd learned. The result is Hope From My Heart: Ten Lessons for Life, in which Rich DeVos identifies the principles and character traits indispensable for a good life. The first is hope. Hope, Rich says, gives us the courage to overcome adversity, because hope is the conviction that "the future is in God's hands." The problem with this, of course, especially for someone as accomplished as Rich DeVos, is that it means the future isn't in our hands. In other words, we're not in control, and that's an idea that didn't come naturally to Rich -- or to me. Faith and grace shaped DeVos' lessons. Faith, he says, is "the foundation on which all my life rests." This echoes an idea I've often expressed on BreakPoint: Without faith in a personal, creator God, the universe is a meaningless place and moral principles are impossible. His surgery, as well as the other blessings in his life, taught Rich that everything he had, including life itself, was a gift from God -- a powerful confirmation of God's gift of grace. We've been friends for years, and I've found Rich DeVos to be one of the wisest men I've known. Hope From My Heart is a distillation of that wisdom and a deeply moving story. I heartily recommend it because it will inspire, inform, and encourage you as you confront your own challenges in life. Stories like these of lives well lived serve to inspire others and provide role models -- for our kids especially -- something we all need.


Chuck Colson



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