Thankful for Bad Golf

It occurred to me while playing golf Saturday that I needed to be just as grateful for my bad shots as I was for my good ones. I was having the best game in a long time, making shots that I was not able to make the last time I went out. I even scored a par on the 14th hole. That is rare for me.

It was in one of those moments of thankfulness, thanking the LORD for giving me the ability to make such a shot, that I felt like the Holy Spirit was tapping me on the shoulder saying: “Yes, but what about the bad shots? Should you not be thankful for those as well?”***

When the Holy Spirit makes such an impression, or calls something to mind like that, it’s best to ponder it. Should I not be just as grateful for the bad shots as I am for the good ones? Are we to only be grateful for the good things?

The real reason this came to mind was because I read another great article entitled 5 Things Christians Should Never Say. Jason Johnson has several great points, but it is this one that came to mind on the golf course:

2. “God showed up in the end.”

We say this to put the power of God on display – to show that His will was accomplished and He came out victorious. The problem, however, is that it represents pretty narrow thinking on our part. The truth is that God doesn’t just show up for us in the end –  He walks with us from the very beginning. Faith doesn’t just celebrate the outcomes of God’s involvement in our issues, it learns to see and savor His presence in the midst of them. It demands we trust Him in the process, no matter the outcome, believing that whatever He may allow to unfold He has both orchestrated from the beginning and planned to be glorified through in the end.

God is sovereign over all things, not just our successes, or our good days. He has sovereignly ordained our bad days just as much as our good days. According to Scripture, we are to be thankful in all things, including the bad days. Listen to Paul’s words: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

This is one of those passages that clearly spells out the will of God for believers. What is the will of God? Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks. We are to have lives filled with a spirit of thankfulness. This means we need to be grateful for the bad shots in golf, bad marriages in life, hard jobs, bad health, disappointments, etc. All things are ordained and ordered for us by our Savior. He is not silent or absent in our lives just because we are not making the shots, or making them. He is always present, always active, working in our lives because He loves us dearly as His children.

Johnson also points out the bilge about God giving us nothing more than we can handle. This too is not true. Sometimes God gives us things we cannot handle so that we turn to Him and trust in Him all the more. Our complete trust in Him through both bunker shots and excellent putts in life is far more important than making par for the course. It means that in the midst of the trial, we are looking to Him to be delivered. As one family member reminded me recently, God will always deliver His children, and sometimes that means through death. We get so caught up in the world thinking the it is the quality of our lives that makes us who we are. But it is not. It is who we are in Him, and His Spirit working in us is far more important that what the score card reads at the end of the day.

After all, since we believe in the fullness of the gospel, it won’t be my scorecard that is read off after it is all said and done anyway. The scorecard that will be read on that day that is most important, will be Christ’s scorecard in place of mine. And He always shoots a perfect game.

***Before I’m accused of having special revelation from the Holy Spirit, I’m phrasing this in a way that makes sense for my readers. But the Holy Spirit did NOT actually audibly speak to me. I don’t think He really cares for golf.