Links Daily Devotional

Perseverance on the Links

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:12, NASB)

Probably no comparison between golf and life is more appropriate than the idea that it is necessary to persevere under trial.

When life starts giving us bogeys, our perseverance and endurance can carry us through to see the birdies and eagles.If you have played golf for any length of time, you know trouble is just one stroke away. It could be your fault or it could be a bad break. On the “your fault” side, it could be a tee shot hit out of bounds, a fat iron shot from a perfect distance, or a missed three-footer. On the “bad break” side, it could be your ball landing in a divot, a perfect 3-wood plugging in the soggy fringe, or a 10-footer hitting a spike mark and just missing the hole. Some days are tougher than others.

Jordan Spieth’s victorious Sunday performance in The Open Championship was the perfect example of persevering under trials. Spieth, as you know, produced a flurry of excellence after yet another bogey threatened to undo him at the thirteenth. You may not have heard the story, though, of Mike Heinen at the Senior Open. On Friday, in the heart of the literal storm, Heinen stumbled to five triple bogeys and three doubles. He shot 50 on the back nine. And Heinen is a seasoned professional! But here’s the thing: he birdied the last hole. Spieth or Heinen, there’s more than one way to display perseverance.

The comparison between golf and life related to perseverance is so appropriate because just as with trials in golf, trials in life are right around the corner. James told his readers to “consider it all joy when we encounter various trials” (James 1:2) and Matthew recorded Jesus’ words: “Do not worry about tomorrow because tomorrow will care for itself—each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34).

When trials come we can be reassured because God has told us they would come, and ultimately they are for our own good, “knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (James 1:3).

But we don’t persevere only for perseverance’s sake. Paul expressed to Timothy the beautiful end result of a life lived enduringly: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

Like Spieth and Heinen’s performances across the pond, each year we see examples of perseverance in professional golf. But more encouraging than these are our friend’s victories through trials in life—battles with cancer, losing a loved one, struggles at work and at home. We can learn from their examples. When life starts giving us bogeys, our perseverance and endurance can carry us through to see the birdies and eagles.

Bill Euler
July 31, 2017
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