I recently celebrated my 24th Birthday here in Montana, which is something entirely different than what I’m used to in Long Island N.Y (shout-out). My best friend Patrick (also, shout-out) kindly took me to go golfing. Being the old man that I am now, this sounded like the perfect day. Just my best friend and I on the course, perfect weather, great conversation, and the excitement of driving a gas powered golf cart for four hours. Patrick has a strong background in golf, with over 50+ golf games under his belt, top notch clubs, and the kid lives on a golf course back in Florida. Me? I’m a master at mini-golf and this one time I drove the ball over 150 yards. Anyway, I thought I could hold my own. I mean, how hard could it be?
So the time was finally here and we get to the course after finishing our homework for the week. I remember the anticipation being overwhelming. We practice for a few minutes, retrieve the keys for our cart, drive to the first hole, place the ball on the tee, wind up and….WHAM. The ball slices far right and nearly hits the couple on the next hole.
I slowly turn around and BAM, the beauty of God’s creation hits me.
It’s fine, it’s fine…first hole, right? I brush it off, we head to the second hole. I place the ball on the tee wind up and….DING. Ball slices far left. This goes on for the rest of the game. At this point I’m furious, and begin to question why I would ever want to go golfing, is it even worth it? Yeah the golf cart is fun but, after a while, I contemplated driving it into the creek. Finally after 4 hours of torture, mean words and a thrown golf club or two, we arrive at the last hole. Same scenario, I walk up to the tee, place my ball down, wind up and…”Wait, look at that view!” I slowly turn around and BAM, the beauty of God’s creation hits me. Mountains and mountains, big blue sky, large crystal clear lake and in the midst of it all…the presence of God.
It wasn’t until my first real tribulation that I realized this walk with God is hard.
Christianity seems to have a similar theme. When first becoming a Christian at the age of 16, this was the expectation I had – that it would be easy sailing from then on. A golf cart ride everyday, peaceful, exciting and easy. It wasn’t until my first real tribulation that I realized this walk with God is hard, and the golf cart isn’t going very fast. I was ridiculed for my faith, family situations were a constant issue and questioning if this is what I actually wanted had become routine. Was it worth it?
There will always be hardships in life, things that push you past your comfort-ability and question your faith. There will always be people that are more skilled than you or have different gifts and there will always be times when you simply want to quit. Being a Christian never came with promises of an easy life, rather Jesus warns his children to expect the opposite. For example, John 16:33 says “in this world you will have tribulation…but take heart, I have overcome the world.”
That small encounter of God’s presence on the golf course changed everything about my day. I can only imagine what eternal life with Him will be like.
You may be on this golf cart that seems as if it’s going nowhere, you might be playing the game of life thinking that it’s just way too difficult to go any further. But, if there’s one key thing that I learned on the golf course, it’s that the end is worth it. Yeah, I may have had a couple of bad shots but who doesn’t? If we define our lives by the bad shots that we take, we miss the fascinating message of grace and love. That small encounter of God’s presence on the golf course changed everything about my day. I can only imagine what eternal life with Him will be like. If you feel like you’re on this same ride, please, please, please don’t give up! Because I promise you that the view at the end will be everything and more. It’s worth it.