Mud Balls and Divots

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“Mud Balls and Divots,” can present many challenges for the golfer. For this spectating mom of three golfers, there have been thousands of opportunities to be challenged and expose exactly how strong or weak our family is in living out the fruits of the Spirit, especially in the game of golf.

Galations 5:22-23 tells us ” But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” I don’t think that there is a golfer or parent of a golfer alive that would not agree that having the fruits of the spirit would benefit both the player and the spectator. God has used golf to weekly refine our family in this area not just in game but in life. I believe and try to live out the truth that scripture is the very best place to learn, grow and gain wisdom to handle all of the challenges that life brings.

There are many variables in golf. Two lurking vampires that golfers do not want to see, especially in tournament golf, are “mud balls” and balls in “divots”. When a golfer executes a great shot in golf and walks up to face either of these vampires, many times you can see the joy, peace, patience, kindness and self-control get sucked right out of them.

You can’t control the unexpected like hitting a great shot in the middle of the fairway only to walk up and find your ball in a divot, or with a big glob of mud wigging on your ball from rain the night before. The rule in these situations is to play it down (meaning you can’t pick up your ball and clean it). For the non-golfing reader, a divot refers to the turf that gets scraped up in the fairway from hitting a shot that leaves a scarred area sometimes an inch deep in the fairway. It is considered to be a very “unlucky” thing to hit a great shot and then have your ball land in a divot. When this happens, it can affect your ball flight on the next shot and the golfer usually cannot control where the ball goes.

The same applies to a mud ball. While caddying I have witnessed first-hand our kids hitting great shots in perfect spots only to walk up and see a big clump of mud on the ball. To say the least, it is very, very frustrating. Over the years, after watching countless rounds of golf, I have learned that our kids are not exempt from these unlucky shots. It happens to everyone. No one is immune.

As it is in golf so it is in life, everyone experiences unfairness. We can work very, very hard to control our circumstances but many times the unexpected happens. We can work, put in the time and hard work and not receive the payoff.

It is my intent to encourage you that God can use these times to develop fruit in your life that will benefit you in all circumstances. It has been my experience over and over again, that God uses all things to work for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

The Lord’s first and foremost goal is to grow us deeper in our intimate relationship with Him, even if that means experiencing unfairness. People have often said, “Don’t pray for patience, because the only way to develop patience is through adverse circumstances.” I agree 100 percent. The way I look at the development of patience on the golf course for my kids is that one day they will be parents with kids. Do I need to say more?

I think of Joseph in the Bible and how God used extreme unfairness, jealousy, prison, false accusations, and alienation to develop Joseph and prepare him to be mature enough to forgive, and, eventually save hundreds of lives, including his own family.

Take away for me is that life is unfair at times . No one can escape it, but we can choose to allow God to teach, grow, and mature us for our greater good. It is all a matter of how we choose to look at things and open ourselves up to embrace the challenges that come our way and apply scripture always.

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