I’m horrible at golf.
I’m horrible, despite the fact that I took 12 private lessons from a golf pro when I first started so I could learn to play the correct way.
Even though I didn’t have any preexisting bad habits that the coach had to break, his best efforts only improved my game enough to ensure that I’ll continue trying to play and practice until I can’t swing a club.
Despite my horrible golfing ability, I still enjoy playing.
One of the interesting things about golf is that the “handicap” scoring system allows dreadful players like me to play proficient golfers on a somewhat equalized footing so that we can both enjoy the game – despite my horrific inability. Good amateur golfers have a low handicap in the single digits or zero, while lesser golfers have high handicap scores in the double digits.
Then there are golfers like me (in the loosest definition of the term golfer) who need slide rules and scientific calculators to determine a reasonable handicap.
However, by virtue of my career in corporate public relations, I’ve had the chance to showcase my pathetic play at many charity golf events along side of professional golfers.
Every time I’m on a golf course I have complete freedom to control every aspect of my game: my grip on the club handle; the type of ball I use; the height of the tee; the club I want to select; my stance; head position; the strength and speed of my swing; my estimation of the distance to the green; the direction I’ll try to aim the ball; whether or not I wear sunglasses…plus hundreds of other decisions during a round.
Bottom line, I am in complete control, fully exercising my free will.
However, when I’ve played against professional golfers or amateur golfers with a very low handicap – the reality is that the outcome is already determined before I step on the first hole.
No matter what I choose to do of my own free will on the course my loss is predestined and the victory of the pro is assured.
This poorly conceived metaphor for the game of golf makes we wonder if there isn’t a similar correlation to the “game of life” and God.
God gives us the ability to oppose His will and freely rebel at any moment in this life, yet my free will and choices don’t affect His ultimate designs. God wins in the end – just like the pro wins every time on the course despite my best efforts, actions and choices.
This forces me to look at the tragedies and triumphs in my life differently. The bad things such as loss, failure, death, illness and addictions can be offered to Him to redeem and renew – since He “…makes all things new…” toward His ultimate purpose. While the good things such as my family, health, abilities and material blessings must yield to His fait accompli designs.
The parallal of this truth on the golf course and my course in life is striking.
It seems that all my freedoms, decisions, failings, successes and actions – regardless of what they are – all work towards His plan. As odd as it sounds, I’m comforted by that.
Question: How do destiny and free will intersect in your life?