Links Daily Devotional

The Garland

FOURTH IN A SERIES ON THE GOSPEL JESUS PROCLAIMED

“The spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted…” (Luke 4:18a, ESV)

Lorraine and I arrived Caves Valley just after Bernhard Langer teed off on twelve of the final nine at the Senior Players Championship. He held a commanding lead over Brandt Jobe and Scott McCarron.

Sometime, sooner or later, we end in the pits, brokenhearted. You may be there today.In the following six holes, my wife and I saw what we’ve never seen before. Bernhard failed to make a short birdie putt on twelve, three-putted thirteen, stubbed his pitch on sixteen and did the unthinkable on seventeen, missing his shot in the wrong place—the lake that bordered the green—and then missed a four-footer.

I ached as I watched Bernhard walk off seventeen, but the ache deepened as I stood behind the eighteenth hole with Lorraine and Tour chaplain Larry Moody and his wife Ruth. Together we watched Bernhard’s six-footer lip out.

Bernhard said later. “At seventeen I hit it exactly where I didn’t want to hit—in the water. Anywhere else, you know I would have had a chance. That was the killer.”

One fan near me said something of minor comfort. “Well,” he said, “we know Bernhard’s human.”

Can the Good News of Jesus speak to us, this tribe of golfers around the world, when we experience “the killer?”

Yes. Our Father, like a master weaver, has conceived a strategic plan whereby everything that happens threads together for good for those who love God. Bernhard lost a major battle. But he follows a Sovereign King who has won the war. Jesus suffered the worst defeat possible when he was crucified for a crime he did not commit. His followers fled. But he rose, victor over death itself.

Some writers and broadcasters called Bernhard’s last seven holes a “collapse.”

Jesus collapsed and his followers felt his collapse. But within three days, Jesus had made the most startling comeback in history. He rose from the dead, a fact more certain than Alexander the Great conquering the Middle East. And woven into that victory was a promise that still today grasps heartbreak and flips it to joy.

Sometime, sooner or later, we end in the pits, brokenhearted. You may be there today. You may have been there for years. It may not have hit you. Either way, this Good News is for everyone. Especially those who are in the Company of the Brokenhearted. We don’t have to stay there long. The Good News, the Greatest News ever heard, is unveiled for us today as was in yesteryear: Jesus still turns “the killers” into victory.

Jesus claimed, “The Spirit of God was upon me… he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted… to comfort all who mourn… giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of fainting…that He may be glorified” (Isaiah 61:1-3, NASB).

I think I know Bernhard well enough through our 25-year friendship to be assured he has not forgotten what happened at Caves Valley, but has already been comforted by the Good News of Jesus.

The garland the prophet Isaiah wrote of represents God’s gift and way of life that he has planned for you and to me: “God so loved the world he gave his one and only son… (John 3:16, NIV). “By grace you are saved by faith, it is a gift of God…” (Ephesians 2:8,9, KJV). It is for anyone. It is for you.

If you are not sure you understand this message, or have not experienced this Good News, please write us at Links Players. We would be pleased to share our experience and help you see Jesus.

Jim Hiskey
July 25, 2017
Copyright 2017 Links Players International
The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday-Friday at www.linksplayers.com.

Other devotions in this series:
1 A Large Mistake
2 The Key Fundamental
3 After the Humiliation: Good News
5 Much Ado About Much
6 The Living King and His Enduring Kingdom
7 The Kingdom Message
8 Responding to the Good News
9 Resting in Jesus