Links Daily Devotional

The ‘Promise’ of Success

The Lord is my strength and my shield. My heart trusts in him and he helps me. (Psalm 28:7, NIV)

Links Player Mark Wilson did it again on Sunday. Not only was he a PGA Tour winner for the third time in 372 days, but every win has required extra effort on Sunday thanks to goofy weather. Maybe Wilson needs to start seeking out tournaments where the adversity reaches beyond the normal pressure of a Tour round!

Actually, as many of you are about to learn via the cover story in the 2012 Links Players Magazine that will release over the next several days, Wilson—who toiled in mini-tour obscurity and PGA Tour failure for too many seasons—has as excellent a handle on struggle as any tour pro out there. Telling his own story, Wilson writes: “It’s hard to welcome hardships when they come, but I try to welcome them now, because I have so much experience in the past of those things helping me the most.”

Oh, how trouble has a way of teaching us! And one of the things it may teach us best is that “success” the way the world views it may not be what God has in mind for us at all. Not even when we serve him righteously.

Joseph made a stand for morality, resisting the siren’s call of Potiphar’s wife. He landed in jail, forgotten for years.

A young David exercised the ministry God had given him, playing his music to soothe the soul of King Saul. For his efforts, he dodged the king’s spear and spent several years of his life running from the king’s men.

The apostle Paul gave himself over to the mission God put before him. He left his academic comforts behind, and faced just about every hardship a man can face—all to serve the Lord. His reward? Persecution, imprisonment, death.

And our Lord, Jesus of Nazareth, the one called to be Messiah of God’s people, Savior and King—for his messianic commitment to the will of the Father, he was led to a Roman crucifixion, as horrific an execution as man has devised.

Somehow, we have to get it out of our system that God’s earthly itinerary for us is always a sweet deal. That perspective erases some of Scripture’s best stories, accounts of men and women who didn’t get what their flesh sought but what God intended for them instead. After all, if we really do dare to call him “Lord of my life,” what we should want most is what he has for us—even when it is extremely hard. What we should do most is trust him.

Jeff Hopper

January 24, 2012

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