Saturday, April 18, 2009

Looking to the One who's always calm

Last weekend's 2009 Masters tournament certainly provided an exciting fourth round. And I know that even if I could golf, there's just no way I could've handled the pressure of it all! The crowds intently watching a player's every move, the huge purse of prize-money at stake, the consequences of one slightly wrong move in every swing of a club. How do those guys do it?

Then I think of how much sports mirrors life. The goals we shoot for, the pressures we face, the persistence required, the mistakes we can make, the ways we respond to those mistakes -- it's all part of life in far more significant ways than in a mere game of golf! And anybody who knows me knows that routine pressures can sometimes cause me to lose my composure in ways that make me look no better at life than at golf!

And though I do believe there must be many lessons about life that we can learn from golf, I'll leave it to those who know the game to explain them to you. I simply want to share an old newspaper article written about Mike Weir after he won the 2003 Masters. Here's a excerpt from the article...

"Yesterday [fourth round], Weir found himself suddenly in the lead after the third hole, when Maggert suffered a two-stroke penalty for having his ball bounce back from the lip of the bunker and hit him in the shoulder. Maggert made a triple bogey and Weir led by two.
"As the round progressed, however, Mattiace caught fire and passed Weir on the back nine, leading the Canadian by as much as two shots. Weir, however, held his nerve and focused on his own business, making important birdies at the 13th and 15th holes.
"His support group, as it turned out, lent a big hand. In the gallery were his wife, Bricia, his brother Jim and his father, Rich.
“'My dad is such a calm guy, an even-keeled guy,' Weir said. 'I was actually thinking about that today when I was walking around. I saw him out there and I think that calmed me down.'”

Now there's a sports metaphor I can apply to my life. There's always stuff going on in life that causes me stress. There's plenty I can get worked up about, and plenty of it is pretty serious in nature. How am I supposed to combat that?

Keep my eyes on God my Father, that's how. I can see in the Bible that He's not stressed. He's calm and in control, and He's working out His eternal plans. To see Him with the eyes of my spirit, calmly seated and ruling from His heavenly throne, ought to calm me down and give me peace in every situation.

King David, who needed God's help in many tough spots, said, "My eyes are continually toward the Lord, for He will pluck my feet out of the net" (Psalm 25:15). "For my eyes are toward You, O God, the Lord; in You I take refuge; do not leave me defenseless" (Psalm 141:8).

So to adapt what Mike Weir said to fit the context of our lives: "I saw God out there and I know that calmed me down."
He's always there. Not just in the galleries, but in life's fairways where the action is. And He wants us to look to Him to find the hope and strength and reassurance we need in every challenge we face.

© 2009 by Ken Peters

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