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Augusta National and the Master of Masters

February 15, 2009

My caddy, Freddie.

The face of God?

Last Thursday was a day I’ll remember for the rest of my life.  No question.  And, there are so many parallels I could draw between my God and the life He’s created for me, and my time on the indescribably beautiful course at Augusta National – home of The Masters.  But, the one that really struck me, I think, was that of the trust I’ve developed in Him – and the guy to the left … my caddy, Freddy.

Allow me to explain.

In the last few years, we’ve really struggled through some things.  Layoffs, financial difficulties, loss of a home, stresses of a new baby, new jobs, new cities … and all the difficulties that come alongside them.  In that time, He stripped us bare.  He stripped us of everything we’d put before Him.  And, for the first time, we put Him first.  It was in that time that we – I – learned to trust in God.  I mean really, really trust in Him.  There were so many situations in which, without Him, I would really have had absolutely no idea where to turn … what to do … where to go.  So, I  let go of the wheel.  I gave it all to Him.  And He pulled us not only closer to Him than we’d ever been, but through those fires.  Because we sought his counsel, trusted in Him and did our best to follow His will, He provided for us.

Like so many others, left to my own devices, I’d made a mess of my life.   I mean, why shouldn’t I let Him drive, right?  All those times – hundreds, if not thousands of them – I’d done what I thought was right … what I thought was best for me and my family.  It’s human nature, after all.  I always know what’s best for me, right?  There were times, sure, when I’d asked for His guidance, only to overrule it, because, you know … it wasn’t what I wanted to hear.  Turns out, what I was looking for was affirmation – not guidance.

But, a funny thing happened.  After I realized what a wreck my life had become … once He’d stripped me bare and I, the prodigal son, came crawling back and began to not just really listen, but DO, what it was He’d have me do, I discovered something …  Hey! He really knew what He was doing!  And, I believe He’s blessed me, in many ways.  One of those blessings, I believe, was this dream trip to play the world’s most famous (and beautiful) golf course (which, I have to imagine, btw, MUST look more like Eden than any place on earth).  So, in acknowledging my continuing trust in Him and His gift to me – a nod to Him, if you will… a tip of the cap – I decided that, as I’d let Him bring me through an impossible round or two, I’d let my caddy Freddy do the same.  What Freddy said, went.

Now, Freddy has probably walked this course several thousand times.  He’sdownloaded-2-14-09-augusta-boys-0411 been caddying here since 1973 – the year I was born.  He’s seen every shot.  Every weather condition. Every pin placement.  Every bad lie. Golfers with the ability of Tiger Woods. Golfers with the (limited) ability of Jason Jones.   He knew every kick, every bounce, every break, every deceptive pin placement or yardage marker.

But still … as it had with God, so it did with Freddy.  The urge to take the wheel took over.  The urge to regain control.  To listen, despite his credentials, only to myself.

But, as I had with God, I fought it off.  I listened and didn’t question.  Now, am I good enough to actually execute the shots Freddy suggested? Not even close.  Freddy tells me to hit a fade to the back left of the green (as if, right?).  I do my best, but somehow hit a draw to the front right.  Freddy tells me to hit a putt six cups left of the hole, with just enough speed to get it moving … I hit it straight at the hole, and it comes off my clubface like a drag racer.  I’m doing my best to do exactly as he tells me.  I’m just not good enough to pull it off.  Now, a few times,  sure … I executed perfectly.  But, more often than not, I didn’t.  It’s that way with God and I.

Freddy was alot like God that day.  He gladly gave me thoughtful counsel.  And, though I wasn’t good enough to follow it as he’d have liked, did that stop him from, five minutes, 160 yards and four pine trees later, again, counseling and encouraging me?  Absolutely not.  I was doing my best to follow him.  And when I failed, again and again, he’d just smile and say “that’s a’ight, that’s a’ight … we’ll git ya up there.  C’mon. You a’ight.  We gonna git there.”  He walked beside me every step of the way.

But that’s not all he did.  Like Christ, he served me – gladly, humbly.  He searched for, found and washed clean each ball.  He scrubbed the face of my club after each swing.  He raked (numerous) sand traps, cleaning up the mess I’d made. He moved impediments on the green that could have obstructed my path to the hole.  And he provided.  He provided me with what I needed to execute his will, when he’d hand me a 6-iron despite my wanting to hit a 7.

God does all of these things for us … He gives us counsel, He provides for us what we need, He removes things from our path, He encourages us and despite how mightily short we fall of His plan for us, as long as we listen and allow his voice in our lives, He walks with us, every step of the way.

What a day.  I’ve posted pictures … the link is there, to the right. Love to hear from you and hope you’re well, friends.

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10 comments

  1. Jason,

    I’m a fellow avid golfer and committed Christian in Tucson, AZ who stumbled across your blog through a Google search for pictures of Augusta National. Thank you for your inspirational words about making God a more integral part of your life. As a busy college student, they were timely for me to read right now.

    I too am just in awe at the beauty of Augusta National golf course. It would be a dream come true for me just to attend the Masters tournament, and I can’t even describe what it would feel like to me to get the chance to play there someday. How did you get the opportunity to play there?

    I loved your pictures of the course. I think I’ll make one of them my desktop background!

    Thanks again and best wishes!

    – Adam W.


    • Adam –
      Thanks so much for your comments. Great to know that people out there are reading and I’m thankful that what I wrote spoke to you at a particular time. God speaks to us in so many ways and through so many people/circumstances. The key, obviously, is being tuned in and seeking His message each day. It’s there, if you want to find it.

      Would love for you to come back, drop in from time to time!

      All the best and God bless-
      Jason


      • Thanks Jason. How right you are.

        Forgive me for asking again, but my curiosity is just killing me! 🙂 How did you get the opportunity to actually PLAY a round at Augusta National?


        • I’m a literary publicist and one of my authors (a very, very generous and appreciative one!) is from Augusta, GA … she has a very close friend of the family that is a member and to thank me for my work, she had him take us out for 27 holes and lunch.

          Absolute dream come true. An item to mark off the bucket list, to be sure …. !


  2. What an amazing picture of our relationship with Jesus. Thank you for sharing. Interesting that the fight of your own will was still there with a flesh and blood person. I always want to say it would be easier to obey if I could just see Jesus…to really hear His voice. But the truth is that my stubborn will would find a way to do what I wanted even standing in the glory of His very presence. Thank you again…you gave me a lot to think about. 🙂


  3. True confession: I spent 20 years of my life in Augusta, GA, worked with a catering firm across the street from The National, regularly attended practice rounds during the April tournament, and never really appreciated the beauty of my hometown and its crowning jewel like you’ve described. Thanks for the reminder–despite the cursed “Masters Traffic,” it was a pretty cool place to grow up. So glad you got to experience the course!


  4. What an awesome story Jason! What an incredible life lesson you can share with your youngsters! If only I, like you, had embraced these truths earlier in life. Now, where are my car keys…?


  5. What a great story! Well, written and well played. I am so proud of you Jason. You speak truth into my life and I am grateful for you. (But I’ll probably never ask you to play in a scramble with me.)


    • Thanks, Mike … Lookin’ forward to Thursday morning. Missed our time together last week.

      jpj


  6. Great blog Jones. I am glad you got to have this experience.



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