Links Daily Devotional

The Sweet Spot

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Psalm 42:5, NIV)

Most golfers know what it is like to hit the sweet spot—the perfect vibration in your hands, the weightless yet solid contact, and the beautiful trajectory that usually ensues. And most golfers expect that feeling to be there every time. When it isn’t, we ask why. Why did the ball slice? Why was it hit poorly? What went wrong? And from there we spend a lot of energy trying to find answers with our golf teachers, magazines, and even the odd remark by an announcer during a televised event.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? This is how the psalmist related that something went wrong. In fact, because of sin, something has gone wrong in all our hearts. But it is not only sin that resides in our hearts, or else we would not know that something is wrong.

The Bible tells us that God’s law is written on our hearts and through Christ we come to know God’s love. A heart surrendered to God is the sweet spot. This is where we are filled and satisfied and lack nothing, for God completely fulfills and his fulfillment can never be taken away. This is where we are happiest.

But why are we not there all the time? Perhaps it is because we spend the wrong kind of energy when we recognize something wrong in our hearts. Do we ask God? Do we feel like we shouldn’t feel bad, sad, or angry? The psalms are full of emotion; yet they are more than just expression of those emotions. They are conversations with God. They help us present our emotions in front of a most holy yet most merciful God.

I think that the answer David gave himself (and us!) in Psalm 42 is quite telling. “Put your hope in God” presupposes that he had put his hope in something else; or else why command his heart in this way? Often, the reason why our hearts get broken, disturbed, and angry is because our hope is in something other than God: things we look to in order to give us what only God can give (such as love, purpose, meaning, forgiveness, redemption). And things to which we give excessive attachment or devotion are idols.

Idols are more than little golden figurines when it comes to our hearts. I used to be so quick to judge the people in the Old Testament for bowing down to the golden calf. Thankfully, God is always quick to humble! I qualified to play the U.S. Women’s Open earlier this month. I missed the cut. One look at my heart after my disappointment over that result, and it was easy to see that I had broken the first commandment: “You shall have no other gods before me.” One thought about the sadness and anger I might feel if my husband were to pass away and I can see how easily idols can spring up. Money, family, career, children, performance, relationships—these can all be idols. The idea is not to love good things less, but to love God more.

While discernment and wisdom from God can help us identify and break down idols in our lives, this is clearly a problem of the human heart. I do not know how we can completely guard our hearts against future violations of this kind. Like the apostle Paul wrote, “I do what I do not want to do.” But I know that forgiveness and reconciliation are forever ours in Christ. Paul later affirmed: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

After David commanded his heart to put his hope in God; he continued with praise to God. Why does he say “my Savior”? He had to have known his deep need for grace. And nothing will strike you with more guilt than when you realize your hope has been in something other than God. Thankfully, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, grace is given to us! And a relationship with God is restored. Praise be to him, our God and our Savior!

Isabelle Beisiegel

July 23, 2012

Copyright 2012 Links Players International

The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday-Friday at www.linksplayers.com.