Links Daily Devotional

A Lesson in Kingdom Patience

“For [the Son of Man] will be handed over to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon, and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him; and the third day He will rise again.” But the disciples understood none of these things… (Luke 18:32-34, NASB)

Who knows why these things happen, but for some reason I’ve struggled off and on with chipping for almost two years. During that time friends would smile sympathetically and try to cheer me on, pros would offer helpful advice, I would watch videos and read articles and practice, practice, practice. Of course I was fine in practice, and sometimes I was even good on the course, so I came to think this must be mental.

Then early in December I went to a golf lecture put on by two extraordinary teachers, Stan Utley and E.A. Tischler. At the end of that time I said to Stan, whom I knew slightly, that I would see him the following Monday for a lesson along with some others. He said he was glad I’d be there and I said, “Me too! I’ve got issues with my chipping and I hope you’re part psychologist.”

Having never seen me hit a chip he replied, “It’s not mental, it’s technique. You’ll see.” So I went, hoping to find the formula that would free me from the bondage of whatever had me in its grip.

There were four of us in the lesson, and when we got to chipping Stan explained what he wanted us to do. I had some success with it and he corrected a couple of things in my setup and sequence, and he kept telling us to “stand up.” Then we moved on to other things and my chipping wasn’t quite healed.

A week later, I was going over a paper Stan had given us as a reminder of what he taught and I read the word “pivot.” Suddenly, a thousand light bulbs came on and I could clearly see what he had been telling us to do. I knew what stand up meant, along with other things he had said in our lesson. I got it, and when I got it I knew the healing had begun.

And that, I suppose, is exactly how Jesus’ followers felt when they finally understood who he really was. “Rise again” finally made sense to them, just like “stand up” finally made sense to me.

Sometimes we modern day Christians will read that the apostles, who walked with Jesus for three years, were a little slow on the uptake and we’ll look down our collective noses at those dummies for not “getting it” sooner. We imply that we would have understood, but if I couldn’t understand a simple golf lesson, what makes me think I would have understood one of the greatest mysteries of all time?

We need to be kinder to the apostles (as if they need our approval), but mostly we need to be patient with our friends who don’t quite see the truth of Jesus. One friend I worked with in high tech years ago liked to say that every answer is obvious once you know it. The answer to my chipping woes is now obvious to me, just as the fact that Jesus is the answer to my distance-from-God woes has been obvious to me for years. But just because it is obvious to me does not mean that it is obvious to all. My chipping lesson will help me remember that.

Lewis Greer
January 19, 2015
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