Devotional: March 22nd
There he was standing on the seventeenth green at Shinnecock poised to take a place in history few men have taken. A simple downhill four and a half foot putt stood between him and being tied for the lead at the U. S. Open Golf Championship going into the final hole. Three putts later Phill Mickelson walked off the green dejected and two strokes back of a very steady playing South African named Retief Goosen.
Goosen had already won an Open title. His playing partner for the day, Ernie Els, also South African, had won two. But Phil had the chance to win the first two legs of the Grand Slam of Golf. He had won the Masters in May. All he had to do was make a four and a half foot putt and par eighteen and he was on his way to having his name in the record books as being a part of an elite group who had won the Masters and Open in the same year.
But he did something that golfers do some time. He choked. Putts like the one he faced on seventeen had gone in for him the entire tournament. But when the championship was on the line, when the time came to seal the deal, he missed it like a Sunday hacker. Still the crowds cheered him. Still the masses supportted him, hoping, praying that something would happen to put him in a play-off or give him the outright win.
"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith." Hebrews 12:1, 2 Living is a lot like golf. Each week a new challenge yet the course seems strangely familiar. We have those times of excellence in Christ Jesus when the Spirit is our guide.
Then we have those times we choke. We have those times that we don't trust the "read", don't feel confident with the next stroke, can't see the line clearly. And we choke. We do the unthinkable, the regretable, the forgetable, the ridiculous. And we feel that we have let God down. But there is a cloud of witnesses. The saints of old who have gone before us bear testimony that they, too, have choked and yet made it by the grace of God. That's the way we will make it also; through Him.
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