It’s funny how God teaches us lessons in unexpected ways and places. One day last week I decided to sneak out of the office a few minutes early and play a quick round of 9 at a nearby golf course. It was a beautiful day. I grabbed my clubs, confirmed that I had a few golf balls for the round (3) and headed out confident that I was going to shoot a Phil Mickelson-esque round of golf.
I was right on at least one count: it was a beautiful day.
I dropped my first two tee shots into the water. Normally, when I botch the first shot of the first hole, I keep shooting until I get a nice “first shot” -- usually my second tee shot works fine. But since I was down to just one golf ball, I decided to take a safe drop on the other side of the water and continue my round. One ball should probably make it the rest of the way, at least that’s what I confidently assured myself.
While setting up for my very next shot, I found another golf ball. Perfect, now I have two. Then I proceeded to hit my 2nd shot…straight into a ravine that might have been a set for the re-release of Jurassic Park! Seriously! I found the only patch of tropical rainforest in all of northern Michigan! Ball lost.
Thankfully, my newly discovered golf ball gave me one more target to strike and I safely finished the first hole.
The whole round was terrible. But every time I thought I shot my last ball, another one just happened to show up.
For example, on the fourth hole I stroked a sweet 2nd shot with just a slight fade, right down the fairway. Or so I thought. When I got to where my ball landed, it was nowhere to be seen. There was no place for it to hide, it was just missing! But while I walked around looking for it, what did I step on? Another ball, and I was able to finish the 4th.
Every time I was out of golf balls, I found one more to help keep going. In fact, as I walked to the 5th tee box, I had a life lesson hit me upside the head like a well-swung 9 iron (a swing I did not achieve my entire round!): God doesn’t promise to give us a surplus, but He promises to always supply exactly what we need.
Surpluses are nice, and they are indeed a gift from God. I am thankful for the seasons of life where we lived with more than we needed, and where God’s supply could hardly be contained.
And just as surpluses are from God, so are those moments when He supplies ‘just enough’ for that season. that day. that moment. As I was finding golf balls at the exact rate I was losing them, I was reminded that God gives us exactly what we need, precisely when we need it. Paul says it well is 2 Corinthians 9:8:
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
Two more times during the last five holes, I shot away my last golf ball. And two more times I ‘just happened’ to find one more ball to keep going. And when the 9th hole ended, I wrote a very forgettable “54” for my final score and tossed my last golf ball into some thick grass near the green. I figure someone else will be down to their last ball one day, and be glad to discover a new one.
God is a great supplier. He gives us more than we deserve and often, more than we can contain. But I cling to His promises and His sure Word that He will always give me precisely what I need, precisely when I need it. When I pray and seek His provision (physical, financial, spiritual etc…), I can be confident I that I won’t go without my needs being met. And if I don’t have it, God must know that I don’t need it. Yet, when the time is right according to His divine clock, I will find the next golf ball.
Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!
And for those of you scoring at home, after I finished hole number 9, my next 24 shots were nearly perfect. Long straight shots, that were easy to find. In fact, for the rest of the day, I didn’t lose another ball. I just wish I’d had learned my lesson after hole one!