Links Daily Devotional

Rub of the Green

…the race is not to the swift and the battle is not to the warriors, and neither is bread to the wise nor wealth to the discerning nor favor to men of ability; for time and chance overtake them all. (Ecclesiastes 9:11, NASB)

Rule 19-1 in the USGA Rules of Golf says, “If a player’s ball in motion is accidentally deflected or stopped by any outside agency it is a rub of the green, there is no penalty and the ball must be played as it lies.” Exceptions are given, but none of those applied in the case of Michael Weaver vs. Steven Fox, when Weaver had a putt of approximately five feet to win the U.S. Amateur last month. That putt was deflected by an outside agency, just enough that it veered slightly off line, caught only part of the hole and lipped out, sending the match into a playoff, which Fox won.

Without the benefit of high definition cameras, we wouldn’t have known about the mysterious bump that diverted Weaver’s ball from the back of the cup. To those on the scene it simply looked like a missed putt, which, according to the rules, is what it was. Weaver did everything right on that putt and still missed it.

No fancy cameras were needed to see a golf ball I recently hit curve too sharply to the right and head straight for a watery grave in a lake, then miraculously bounce off the iron frame of a long abandoned dock and come back into the fairway. The frame was no more than two inches wide (half the diameter of a golf hole), and I couldn’t have hit it on purpose had I even known it was there. I did everything wrong on my shot but was rewarded. Rub of the green.

If you’ve played golf for more than ten minutes, you’ve experienced both sides of the golf balance. It might even be fun to check with your regular foursome to see who has been “rubbed” the wrong or right way the most dramatically.

You’ve also experienced what some might call the rub of the green in life. “Lucky shot” becomes “lucky break” becomes “lucky life.” But is that the case? The writer of Ecclesiastes apparently thought so when he noted that sometimes slower runners win, weaker warriors excel, fools dine, and the inept are lauded. That is what life looks like to those who live “under the sun.”

To those who live “under God,” life looks very different than a daily race with time and chance. It looks like God is in control, even of the smallest details. Proverbs 16:33 reads, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” Does that mean that God was the outside agency who kept Michael Weaver’s putt from going in? Though that thought did cross my mind when it happened, that is not the right question.

The right question is: Do we recognize God’s control in what looks like the “luck” of our lives? Do we truly believe that “all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose”? Can we see the practical side of that like Joseph did when he said to his brothers, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good”?

One thing I know is that the more I see God’s hand in the little things of my life, including the rub of the green, the more amazed I am at his wisdom, the more awed at his power, and the more overwhelmed by his love.

Lewis Greer

September 6, 2012

Copyright 2012 Links Players International

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