Daily Devotionals

Devotional: October 13th

It doesn't take a lot to make a good round of golf go south. The smallest of influences can wreck what had promised to be a fine eighteen holes of golf. Whether you are an amateur or a pro makes no difference. Golf is golf; and what makes a round of golf stand out from another is the finest of lines. It may be the rhythm of play or the predictability of the circumstances of play. If something changes, even the littlest bit, what could have been a solid round of golf can turn to mush.

Several years ago I attended the old Bank One Classic at nearby Kearny Hill Golf Course. The Bank One was a Senior PGA Tour event. A friend of mine and I were following a group that had Jim Dent in it. Dent was playing flawless golf, splitting the fairways with his drives and knocking down the pins with his iron approaches. He had hit a huge drive on the ninth hole and then hit his approach shot stiff, leaving himself a three footer for birdie. He surveyed the putt, went through his practice routine and readied himself to hole what was going to be another stroke added to his lead.

As he was about to putt a cell phone went off just a couple of people away from me. Dent backed off and glowered in our direction. We all pointed at the culprit as if to let Dent know that it wasn't us. Course marshals escorted the man from the hole as Dent resumed his routine. However, by this time he was out of his routine and he stroked the putt too firmly. It rolled past the hole some four feet. Dent went through his routine again and settled in for his par putt. A cry went up from the crowd as his par putt lipped out of the hole and Dent had to settle for a bogie. He fell out of the lead that day and dropped well back in the tournament standings by the end of the weekend.

I have often thought about that incident as I have readied myself to make a swing or stroke a putt and someone's phone has gone off. What's really unnerving is when it's my own phone and I'm in the middle of a swing or, worse yet, a delicate pitch shot to save par. No golfer really understands why the wheels fall off from time to time. We just know that they do. Most of those stories begin with, "I was playing the best golf of my life when…" Then it happens. Sport can often mirror life.

Just when you think you've got everything together in your life the smallest occurrence can wreck your rhythm. Life has a rhythm, a flow; a routine that helps us to turn the unexpected into the insignificant in the scheme of things. When that routine is interrupted our faith can take a hit. It is at those times that we feel most vulnerable. Suddenly we are reminded that we are all too human. It is in those times that we are left to our most pressing need; restoring the relationship we should have with Christ. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9 Round righted. Routine restored.

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