Links Daily Devotional

Swift and Strong

The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. (Ecclesiastes 9:11, NIV)

Weather permitting, this day begins in golf’s birthplace with a field of women teeing off at St. Andrews’ Old Course. Not just any women, of course, but the best players in the world. And sitting atop that list is the putting genius, Inbee Park, who has already captured the first three 2013 LPGA major championships.

Success in women’s golf in recent years has thrown open its loving arms to a parade of ladies sure to cause Annika Sorenstam to fade in our memory.

First came the friendly and gracious Lorena Ochoa, who surged to number one and rode the victory train right up to the point at which she said, “Time to get married.” She was Rolex Player of the Year for four consecutive years, 2006 to 2009, and captured two majors among 22 victories in that short stretch. Then she was done.

No problem. After a little tussle for the top spot, the dynamo who is Yani Tseng emerged as nearly unbeatable. Tseng won 13 times between early 2010 and early 2012, adding four major victories to the one she had captured at the LPGA Championship in 2008. She hasn’t won since.

And now Park marches in, three large trophies on her 2013 shelf, and three lesser ones to complement them. Come Sunday, she may well be celebrating a Grand Slam—or not.

It’s that “or not” that confounds us all. Just when we seem to have gained momentum, trained for excellence, even captured success—whoosh! It can be spirited away on the unlikeliest of winds.

The writer of Ecclesiastes filled the pages of his wisdom book with a host of observations on such vagaries of life. His prevailing theme: “Earthly good is only temporary. Enjoy it while you can.”

What in chapter 9, verse 11, this writer (likely Solomon) called “time and chance,” we might equally call “the providence of God.” Semantics are not so important. What is critical is to recognize that we are not in control, as much as we’d like to think so. We work with purpose, revel in what we are given, praise God for the work of his hand, and “wholly lean on Jesus’ name.” That combination should do well in getting us to tomorrow—or not. And if in this case the “or not” prevails, we can count on Christ’s saving provision to move us from here to eternity. It’s our only enduring hope.

Jeff Hopper

August 1, 2013

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