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’s 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.