Links Daily Devotional

The Bounceback Stat

O Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. (Psalm 130:7, NIV)

We might suggest that the modern tour landscape is overgrown with the weed of statistics. Everywhere you look (or listen), someone wants to rattle off numbers that teeter between adding interest and leaving us befuddled.

You may look at your own life and see only big messes or just little successes with no marketable value.Last week, I flipped to the Golf Channel and came across the 1974 PGA Championship, won by Lee Trevino over Jack Nicklaus and the 62-year-old Sam Snead. There’s so much story in those names alone that you don’t need me giving you any statistics about this event. I won’t. In fact, what fascinated me most was that the players were required to use local caddies. None of the leaders received any help in pulling their clubs or reading their putts. There were no complicated yardage books and no Stimpmeters to tell us how fast the greens weren’t (by which I mean they were quite slow). No lasers fed the broadcasters information about how far the player had to the hole and the lengths they supplied for putts were rough estimates. In such a context, only one number mattered: your score.

Stats, we might then say, aren’t very necessary. But a few do get us talking. Those that measure distance highlight the bombers. Proximity to the hole reveals the better ballstrikers. And then there is a stat that may measure competitiveness as well as any other: the bounceback.

The bounceback stat tells us how often a player follows an over-par hole (bogey or worse) with an under-par hole (birdie or better). It would also be revealing to know how often a player follows an over-par round with an under-par round. All these birdies may be a bit rich for your golfing blood, but you know how nice it feels when you follow a bad hole with a good one.

You might be surprised to know that the Scripture captures the idea of bounceback as well. It’s known there as redemption and it is a major theme of God’s work.

You may be old enough to remember the Blue Chip and S&H Green Stamps that various retailers would provide after you made a purchase in their stores. You would gather these stamps, lick and stick them into your collector’s book, and eventually take them to a redemption center and trade these valueless little pieces of paper for something of value, maybe a toaster or an ironing board.

Those stamps are a great way to visualize what redemption really means: taking something that is worthless and giving it worth.

When the writers of Scripture addressed the way God redeems us, this is what they meant. In our sins, we have no claim on eternity with God. It’s like trying to say, “Here’s a double bogey. Now can you put me in the Hall of Fame?” We just don’t have the ability to redeem ourselves. But over and over, the Scriptures point to God as the Redeemer. To Isaiah, the LORD announced, “I am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob” (Isaiah 60:16).

You may look at your own life and see only big messes or just little successes with no marketable value. The error there is looking at your life. Look to God. See what he can do. He can take that unsung life of yours and redeem it through his unfailing love.

Jeff Hopper
August 7, 2017
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