Links Daily Devotional

A Thankful Heart

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ESV)

The game of golf is a microcosm of life, just like any other sport. Sports have their ups and downs similar to life, but the ramifications are generally far less significant in sports. No one will literally live or die based on if this putt goes in or that basket is made. Rather, sports give us a channel to enjoy community and the bodies the Lord has blessed us with.

When you’re struggling, you stay and finish regardless of how well or poorly things are going. You can’t get benched or sit out a hole during competitive golf.As any golfer can attest, there are days when things seem to click. You trust your gut and things work out, even on that shot where you are in between clubs. The putt you backed off of and then re-addressed drops anyway. You visualize the chip shot you want to hit and you execute it just like you saw yourself doing. On and on I could go, but you get the point—when things are going well out there, sometimes it seems like it’s “your day.”

Yet even during those rounds when things are going your way, challenges are bound to present themselves. The wind picks up right over that testy par-3 with water down the left. You hit your drive down the middle of the fairway and it takes a funny kick thanks to a yardage marker, ending up with a tough lie. The mom of a player I once coached aptly said, “There’s no place to hide on the golf course.” When you’re struggling, you stay and finish regardless of how well or poorly things are going. You can’t get benched or sit out a hole during competitive golf. Similarly, we can’t hide from a bad grade in school, the sudden job loss, a phone call about a loved one. God sees and knows, and in Isaiah 43:5 he reminds us that regardless of the circumstances we are not alone: “Do not be afraid, for I am with you.”

Every day is different. Praise God that he is the great Creator and able to make each day brand new! Each round of golf is different too. Some days you wake up feeling refreshed and energized, looking forward to what the day will bring. Other days you wake up feeling sick or filled with anxiety about what has recently happened or what you fear may happen in the future. Yet somehow God’s Word says, “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).

So what will our response be when challenges come or we have success?

My prayer for us today is the verse that starts this devotion:

Rejoice always. We always have an eternal hope and we have been given a clean slate.

Pray without ceasing. We have a constant and open line to communicate with our loving Father.

Give thanks in all circumstances. This shifts our focus off ourselves and back onto God. “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21).

For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. He has plans for you; your Maker and Redeemer deeply desires to be close to you!

The next time you’re on the course, I encourage you to think of it as time to love another person by getting to know them, to enjoy the different shots that present themselves, and to take time to talk with God.

Aimee Neff
August 18, 2016
Copyright 2016 Links Players International
The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday-Friday at www.linksplayers.com.