Links Daily Devotional

Every Blade of Grass

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NASB)

Every time a golf ball comes to rest, a combination of blades of grass, pine straw, dew droplets, sand and clumps of mud can make up the lie of the ball. The number of possible amalgamations is endless! Playing the ball as it lies contains all the adventures a golfer could ever want—and many you wouldn’t want.

Interestingly, the sensitivity to the nuances of the lie only grows with time. For example, when observing beginners hitting balls on the range, you will often see the strangest phenomenon. After taking a few divots, they will proceed to place the ball irreverently in the previous divot, or just rake another ball without even thinking about the lie. Then they just hit it, sometimes well, sometimes not, while remaining uncaring about the lie.

This is the point where I break every time. Out of pity for them, for the sake of the topped shots that could have benefitted from a lift, I am unable to restrain myself.  Sometimes even moving their ball for them, I say, “Here, give yourself a good lie.”

But now I see that I might have ruined the game for them! Now they recognize that there is a difference between a good and bad lie. They start to enjoy the good lie, and they start despising the bad lie. They have lost the joy of liking every lie. What is worse: now they might start thinking that they deserve a good lie. With the frustration that this type of thinking brings, they are now altogether ill-prepared for the reality of varying lies the course brings.

In the same way, I think we are to a great extent ill-prepared for the course of life. Life presents us with some intricate, bad and evil lies along the way; we are sure of that by experience and by the Word of God. But we have been telling ourselves and others, “Here, give yourself a good lie” in so many different guises—about career, family, health, finances, relationships—all for the sake of giving momentary lift to the trajectory of our lives. We hope for favorable life circumstances and therefore we have been taught and we teach that we deserve better and that good lies are better.

Our own sinful nature has been enticed by the popular philosophy that the Christian life leads to “good” things in this life. The Christian life may have wonderful things in store here on earth, but we have to remember that its best, eternal things are yet to come. We should be quick to trade in the momentary lift for the resurrection promised, and the temporal wish for a certain eternal hope! The opposite exchange is injurious to the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus; if temporal blessings outweigh the eternal in our hearts, then we are captives to our circumstances. Where then is the freedom that Christ bought with his unblemished blood?

None of the Apostles and early Christians had so-called worldly prosperity; martyrdom was a more ordinary condition for where their ball ended up. The life of the Son of God culminated in extreme suffering and death, so it is no surprise that suffering is so familiar, if not essential, to the common Christian experience. But through him we know that God allows suffering for eternal good. When Jesus suffered and died, ultimate, everlasting, immutable good—redemption—was achieved and purchased. The story did not end in defeat: Christ was resurrected, and by that same power so will all who believe in him.

The real Christian life has trouble but eternal life, tribulation but rejoicing. Biblically speaking, and including today’s passage, Jesus and the writers of the New Testament speak of tribulation or trouble as something to be expected, to take courage in, and even to rejoice in (1 Peter 4:12-14). Because Jesus has overcome, our hearts have an anchor to rejoice in, something more splendid and certain than anything else.

No matter what the amalgamation of your life, take courage! There is no evil blade of grass, no clump of mud that the Father does not know and intends for good, in the eternal and the glorious end he has prepared. And there is no perfect-in-the-middle-of-the-zoysia-fairway-teed-up-lie in this life that will not look like a buried ball in the lip of the bunker in comparison to the magnificence of Heaven. O my soul, nothing else will do. Wait no longer; Jesus is your Savior!

Isabelle Beisiegel
December 18, 2013
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