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Reflections as You Walk the Course Before Your Game
Divine Master, thank You for offering to be our caddie in life and allowing our friendship to be based on winter rules.
As we walk the course today, we look forward to Your company, especially as we search in the woods and wander off course.
Each hole is a time to reflect on Your presence.
No matter how badly we play, help us get past the red tees.
We will try to face ourselves honestly and not be discouraged by our handicaps or the hazards that haunt us.
As we go from one fairway to another, may Your presence become more intimate so when we reach the end of the game,
whether we win or lose, we will feel ourselves closer to You than when the game began.
Psalm 139 for the Golfer
Divine Master, You have watched me and You know me.
You know when I duff and when I divot.
You understand my plays from afar.
My swings and my putts You scrutinize, with all my strokes You are familiar.
As soon as the ball takes flight, behold, Wise Master, You know its destination.
Behind me and before me, You help me swing, and rest Your hand upon mine.
Such comfort is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to comprehend.
Who knows the course of the ball in flight?
If it goes into the waters, You are there.
If it sinks into the sand trap, You are there.
If I wander into barren wasteland, even there Your hand shall guide me, to help me score my best.
Probe me, O God, and know my heart, try me and know my thoughts.
See if my way is crooked, and lead me, if not to a hole in one, at least to a praiseworthy finish.
I will lead the blind on their journey; by paths unknown I will guide them. I will turn the darkness into light before them.
Divine Master, every now and then we meet extraordinary people. Greg Matthew, a golf pro and owner of the Pine View golf course in Kalamazoo, allowed us to take blind students cross-country skiing on his course.
Greg became a pro in 1956. He was always a par golfer, but when he lost his sight in 1970 from diabetes, he continued to golf and broke an eighty-six or better every time. In 1980 the doctors amputated his right leg. Still he continued to play, happy to break one hundred. In 1996 he had a heart attack while golfing but that, too, didn't stop him.
On December 11, 1998, he was hospitalized for numerous complications. By his bedside were his wife, Jan, his children, Lisa and Tim, and Tim's wife, Lynn. Greg was lying peacefully when all of a sudden, he took off his oxygen mask, looked up at his family, and smiled. He saw them for the first time in twenty-eight years. He then asked his wife to kiss him and, after a deep sigh, breathed his last and went home to the Divine Master.
Afterward, his wife told me, "For the first time in twenty-eight years, he could see us. His eyes were no longer covered by a gray film, but were as clear as a blue sky. I know it was a miracle."
God, You continue to bless us with miracles, most of which pass unnoticed.
Shield us from discouragement when tragedy knocks at the door.
Give us the courage as you did Greg, to go on when all seems hopeless.
Pray for us; we are confident that we have a good conscience, wishing, as we do, to act rightly in every respect.
O God, it's not easy to be honest when we think we may lose what we aspired for most in life. Bobby Jones showed great integrity in a situation like this.
In the 1925 U.S. Open, his ball moved when he addressed it. No one else had seen it move, but Bobby did and he had to be honest. He called the penalty on himself, which cost him the championship.
When asked, "Why did you do that?" he responded, "There's only one way to play the game. You might as well praise a man for not robbing a bank as to praise him for playing by the rules."
Divine Master, it cost him the game, but he was admired by millions for his good sportsmanship, even today.
Teach me always to be honest with myself and others.
Help me to let go of what is not of my doing, and accept what is my fault.
Thank You, God, for accepting me and loving me when I make mistakes.
Help me to forgive myself.
A wise person said, "If you're honest, you'll have the inner peace which so many seek."
God, I want that inner peace which comes from being honest.
What the wicked one fears will befall him, but the desire of the just will be granted.
Divine Master, Tony Morrone and Larry Bertoli, two good friends and golfers, love to tell stories. Here's one you'll enjoy.
This incident took place in 1915. It made us aware that You most probably had a hand in it.
The president of the Lakeside Country Club, in Tacoma, Dan McDonald, was playing his first hole there. He had a good drive, but the mashie pitch went wild and struck the side of a cow that had wandered onto the course. Smarting from the blow, the cow kicked and struck the ball just as it hit the ground, sending it onto the green. One putt won the hole. Justice DeWitt M. Evans was there to witness the incident.
God, we so often see Your humor as we live each day. You enjoy surprising us with bizarre situations like this.
They bring joy to our weary spirits.
What happened to Dan was more than he anticipated.
Thank You for the delightful little surprises You send our way.
I pray that I may always be grateful, because it is in those unexpected blessings that Your presence becomes real.