One sultry summer evening, a room full of hopeful parents gathered…
“Okay, folks! Listen up! Here’s the schedule of our team’s matches and tournaments. You’ll also see dates where it’s your turn to bring Gatorades, water, snacks, etc.
…Additionally, you’ll need to get a Parks’ Pass for your son. Make sure the uniform shirts fit. Someone please coordinate carpools for the ones who aren’t old enough to drive to these courses…”
The Golf Coach rattled on and on, and on, the information overflowing somewhere, no longer connecting in our brains, evaporating outside of them…
Remember the snake in Disney’s cartoon movie, The Jungle Book? He had those scary, hypnotic, swirling eyes? Such was the glazed-over look for us Moms of these boys on Christian Academy of Louisville’s High School Golf Team. The Dads were excited. We Moms were already mentally managing schedules. Frantically filling in our calendars, thinking, “Oh boy….here we go…”
Golf season is fun, just busy. Hard to adjust from a slow summer’s pace, to a several-match-per-week-during-the-school-year schedule. Especially if you have more than one child, you’re presented with more hurdles to jump.
Most sports are gearin’ up this time of year. (This applies to you football and soccer moms, and any-other-team-sport or vocation mom.) If you’ve got that schedule or schedules in hand, I’m praying right now you’ll have one of your best seasons yet.
Allow me to share with you a lesson I learned a few years ago:
God is on the golf course, (football or soccer field) and anywhere else you look. But, you must look.
Walk with me for a few holes on Iroquois’ course…
Better than scorin’ an eagle on the golf course, several years ago God orchestrated a meeting of someone who’s become a dear friend and mentor in Phoenix, Arizona named Naomi Rhode. Wise woman.
In one of her visits to Louisville, over lunch one day, Naomi could tell I was beyond frazzled. She assessed my emotional health as if she could see into my soul. She could tell I was simply going thru’ the motions, in a fog, and not enjoying much of anything.
This could parallel a slice into the woods. (Hunting for wayward golf balls is not a talent of this Golf Mom.)
Getting me “out of the woods”, Naomi gave me a prescription. “Read this book. Do what it says. Call me when you’re finished.”
The book? Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ by John Piper. It’s a small, almost pocket-sized paperback book, easily tote-able wherever you go.
Think an “even par” for a final score and you’ve got the essence of this book. Think “seven under”, or “a miracle” (!), and you’ve now grasped and absorbed the aim of the book.
John Piper says, “The question I’m trying to answer is ‘Who is Jesus Christ’? “Seeing and savoring Jesus Christ is the most important seeing and savoring you will ever do.”
The aim of the book: “…is that you see Him as solid truth and savor Him with great joy.”
Piper helps us see with the eyes of our hearts, with spiritual eyes. Additionally, he helps us savor Jesus Christ as the treasure He is, one whom we cherish, admire, and prize.
All ten chapters are full of Scripture, pointing us to seeing and savoring Christ. Throughout the book, you’ll see how Piper, thru’ God’s Word, teaches and transforms us the readers, with Jesus as our role model.
My favorite chapter is called, “The Indestructible Joy—The Gladness of Christ”. Jesus tell us, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11 and 17:13)
Piper also has a sense of humor: “It is not glorious to be gloomy.” You’re not spreadin’ joy if you look like you have a weather system hovering over your head.
One of Piper’s best, most often seen quotes is: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” That fateful day at the lunch table with Naomi, it’s an easy guess I was gloomy, not glorifying the Lord in any way, shape, or fashion.
Piper adds Hebrews 12:2, “For the joy that was set before him he endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Therefore, joy in suffering…
The Apostle Paul tells us how: “You become imitators…of the Lord, for you have received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit.” (I Thessalonians 1:6)
I’ve since given this book to countless friends. It’s well worth your time. My copy actually has some of our middle son’s, Gordy’s, golf scores in it from that day I traipsed over the course at Iroquois, and later several other courses.
John Piper taught me to savor the fairways, the greens, the trees, and the time with Gordy, watching him master the game of golf. Rather than groaning, which I confess I did more than once, God opened my eyes to my surroundings, and His presence, all thanks to Naomi’s wise counsel and Piper’s insight of seeing and savoring Christ.
Do I sometimes forget God’s always with us? (Notice the bracelets the girls are wearing in the picture near the beginning with Naomi. They’re engraved with Matthew 28:20: “And lo, I am with you always…”) Not to mention forgetting His many blessings He’s showered me and my family with? Absolutely. But because of God’s grace and mercy, He keeps pursuing us.
One more favorite aspect of Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ is a prayer at the end of each chapter. Here are a few pearls from the chapter on indestructible joy:
“Father, it is a great comfort to us that you and your Son are never glib and never gloomy. We stand in wonder that the light of Jesus’ joy makes a rainbow in the tears on his face. We want to be strong and unshakable in the joy of our faith. O God, fulfill in us the purpose of your Son in promising that his joy would be in us and that our joy would be full. Make the fruit of the Spirit—joy—flourish in our lives. Waken our slumbering souls from the sleep of listlessness. Take away the lukewarmness of our hearts. Fan the flame of zeal for the glory of your name. May Christ so dwell in our hearts with his indestructible joy that day by day we are conformed more and more to his glad image. And so may we be a place of refuge and eternal refreshment for a hopeless, joy-seeking world of people who do not know they are starved for the glory of the gladness of God in Jesus Christ. In His name we pray, amen.” (You can learn more about John Piper by visiting his website at: www.desiringgod.org )
May we find God on the golf course, or any other sport or vocation your child may be practicing for,or if your children are out of the nest, may you find Him with you throughout your day, along with JOY in Jesus Christ.
‘Til next time!
(This post has a two-fold dedication: First, to our middle son, Gordy. He’s still a great golfer today. He’s all grown up, living in Lexington, working in commercial real estate, for Block and Lot Real Estate. www.balrealestate.com He has the patience of Job which is what makes him such a great golfer. He loves the Lord and spreads the Gospel wherever he goes. Dad and I are so proud of you, Gordy! God Bless you. See you soon!
Second: To my dear friend and mentor, Naomi Rhode, whom I don’t see often enough, but in whom I find great joy. I’m forever indebted, as are so many of us, for your dedicated, devoted, discipling discernment which you share with effervescent JOY!!! Hurry back to Louisville!!!