Links Daily Devotional

What God Has Planned

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9, NASB)

According to Chesson Hadley’s web site, the three other players in his ideal foursome would be Ronald Reagan, Ben Hogan, and Jesus. Maybe it was being picked for the group that caused Jesus to throw a little extra love in Hadley’s direction a year ago. Let me tell you what happened, and you can decide.

Hadley, who is now 26, has been a very good golfer since his age was in single digits. He dreamed of turning pro and started practicing his signature against the day that it would be requested often. He was a standout student/athlete in high school. He earned a degree while competing for Georgia Tech, where he was a three-time All American. The path was obvious, and after two years on the mini-tours it was time to qualify for the Big Show. That’s when he hit a bump in the road.

To get all the way to the PGA or Tour, he’d have to get through pre-qualifying, then first stage, then second stage of Q-school. And when the first-stage finished, Chesson was one shot shy of moving on. Five others joined him there. For Hadley, it was back to the mini-tours, trying to make enough to support himself, his wife, and the child they hoped to have soon.

In that same first-stage of Q-school in October of 2012 Blayne Barber—a good friend of Hadley’s and fellow follower of Jesus—made it through with ease. He did so even though he had assessed a one-stroke penalty on himself for touching a leaf in a bunker. He was the only one who thought it might have moved. His caddie, who was watching intently, was certain that it didn’t move. Later Barber learned that the penalty should have been two strokes, and when he ultimately disqualified himself, six men who had been out, including Chesson Hadley, were back in.

Hadley went on to qualify for the Tour for 2013. In September he won the Tour Championship and earned his PGA TOUR card. In October, one year after Barber’s leaf, Hadley finished fifth in a PGA event (playing in the final group at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open with fellow North Carolinian and fellow believer Webb Simpson, who won). Oh yes, Chesson’s wife also gave birth to their son, Hughes.

Was it all because Hadley wanted to play golf with Jesus? I don’t know about that, but I do know that God is in control of Chesson Hadley’s life, and Blayne Barber’s life, too. The shining example they have been to each other, to their fellow competitors and to the world at large can hardly be overstated, and the glory and honor they have brought to Jesus in the process is magnificent.

It is beyond me to explain why the one who seemed to have earned his card, lost it. Blayne Barber will be back at Q-school tomorrow, trying to nail down exempt status on the 2014 Tour, while Hadley prepares to extend his early success on the PGA Tour. All I know is that God’s thoughts and ways are higher than mine.

Can we give our lives to Jesus so completely that we could face a loss like Barber’s by calling it “a blessing,” or accept a victory like Hadley’s by giving the glory to Jesus? When I ponder this, all I can do is fall on my knees and thank God that he is in control and that Romans 8:28—And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose—is still true. I humbly admit that God’s ways are higher than my ways, and I once again fling myself into his arms to do with me as he wills.

May we all be Chesson Hadley, and may we all be Blayne Barber, and may God continue to use and bless those two servants through golf and life for his glory and their good.

Lewis Greer
December 11, 2013
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