Friday, June 29, 2012

Thy Club and Thy Staff

Thy Club and Thy Staff
Thy Club and Thy Staff tees up twenty-one devotions bringing together the basics of good golf and the fundamentals of strong faith. These insightful reflections give readers guidance for honing their skills on the course and on their walk of faith. Meredith Wright Kirk brings passion for God and a lifelong love for golf to these approachable and inspiring meditations.

Even the most seasoned golf professional knows how the mechanics of one’s swing quickly can go awry and how the smallest changes in angle and arc yield frustrating slices and trips into the rough. Living out one’s faith in God presents the same sorts of challenges; small changes in the hidden recesses of one’s faith result in drastic turns in one’s path of discipleship. Thy Club and Thy Staff brings together the wisdom of faith and sport to strengthen both, whether the practitioner is a beginner or a seasoned veteran.

When your game is at the top of its form and you are swinging straight and true, these devotionals provide wisdom, helping you seek God’s help in living your faith with the same kind of rhythm and timing and flow. When you enter rough patches, and both your swing and your faith feel erratic and off-kilter, the simple truths in these devotionals, gleaned from the word of God and the wisdom of golf will guide you along the path leading to renewed trust in God’s grace and to refreshed technique on the golf course.

Check out this sample of one of the daily devotions:

Day 9: The Umbrella of God

I have always been a fan of the legendary golfer, Ben Hogan. His pursuit of the perfect swing and sheer determination to become one of golf’s finest players, even after a devastating injury, has always been a highlight of his persona. In fact, Ben Hogan made such an impression on me as a young adult golfer that I named my Labrador retriever, Hogan, and my firstborn son, Ben, after him. I’m sure you can imagine some of the looks I received from endearing parents at the park as I said, “Ben … Hogan … get over here.”

In 1949, Ben Hogan was in horrific car accident that nearly crippled him. He was thirty-six years old and at the peak of his career. I can’t imagine what he was thinking when the doctors told him that he would probably never play golf again. In his humanness, he had to have felt a sense of utter despair and loss. His devotion to golf became irrelevant. In one brief moment, a lifetime of devotion was snatched away.

Maybe you have suffered from a physical accident or ailment or have been through a situation that has radically altered your life. Or you may even feel that something was snatched away from you. The best place to be in this situation is under the umbrella of God.

Please understand and know that God does not do things to harm or hurt you. In fact, everything God does is good: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good” (1 Chronicles 16:34). We live in a fallen world, period. Bad things happen to all people. The Bible says that it “rains on the just and unjust.” The good news is that God has the power to turn evil and bad into good. He created the world, and he ultimately controls it. He can do what he wants, when he wants, and how he wants to do it.

God is good to those who seek him (Lamentations 3:25), and he brings good out of bad circumstances (Romans 8:28). God is the gentleman who holds the umbrella for you in the rain. We all have trials. If you don’t, just wait; one will come. Trials are like storms; they vary in size and magnitude. Some pass quickly, while others are like a monsoon. It is how you choose to live during these times that will test your strength, endurance, and character. “That is why we never give up. Though are bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! So we don’t look at troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever” (2 Corinthians 4:16–18).

Ben Hogan made a choice after his near fatal car accident, and that was to stay under the umbrella of God. With that attitude and will, he won the U.S. Open at Merion sixteen months later. The most classic picture of him is when he teed off on hole sixteen at Merion, his back to the camera and his pelvis perfectly parallel to his target. Who, including his own doctors, would have thought he would be in contention again, much less in that physical position?

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. And this expectation will not disappoint us” (Romans 5:3–5). Now we all may not be as fortunate as Ben Hogan, but all things will work for good, either here or in eternity—or both. God promises it, and he cannot lie. Never give up on what God is calling you to do. Prepare for the rain, and stay dry under the umbrella of God.

About the Author:
MEREDITH KIRK is a USGTF level three certified golf instructor and is passionate about teaching golf to all levels of players. Her teaching methods combine golf mechanics with a mind-body-spirit connection. She holds a BA from Coastal Carolina University in Public Relations in the Church and is a graduate of Trinity Bible College and Theological Seminary with a degree in Biblical Counseling. She and her husband have three sons and live in Murrells Inlet, SC.

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