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- Format: Folded Tract
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- Size: 3.5 inches x 5.5 inches
- Pages: 8
- Version: NIV
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In the fall of 2007, my husband, Gavin, and I met my Aunt and Uncle at beautiful Bandon Dunes Golf Course in Bandon, Oregon for a weekend of links style golf. Bandon is one of my husband’s favorite courses, and after several visits he wanted to take me along to enjoy the unique landscape of “buried Volkswagens” and never-ending greens. Uncle Dennis and Aunt Codie were a wonderful and logical choice as golfing companions since they lived within driving distance of Bandon and were avid golfers. Avid golfer, I am not. I’ve hit my share of balls and worked on my swing, but I’m a fair weather golfer who would rather just play nine and head off for some chips and salsa. So, eighteen holes climbing Volkswagens seemed daunting to this out-of-shape mom who was more accustomed to short stints chasing a toddler than the long marathon of walking the course. However, I looked ahead with shared enthusiasm with my husband and relished the thought of a weekend away. Then, as Gavin reassured me of my abilities, the beautiful landscape, and the sheer joy of golfing this incredible course, he mentioned that I would have a caddy. A caddy? Really? Why? Oh, sure, I wouldn’t mind someone carrying my bag and maybe giving me a tip or two, but watching me play? I don’t think so. It was bad enough that my family would have to endure my errant shots, flubbed irons, skidding woods, and let’s not even talk about my putting. I certainly didn’t want anyone else to witness this display of inability. Then I met my caddie.
I can’t remember his name, but I will never forget our relationship. Aunt Codie and I shared a caddy since we teed off together from the ladies’ tees. I was never quite sure how he knew us, but he did. Maybe he was warned of our abilities ahead of time, but one would never know. From our first meeting, the caddy was comfortable, he knew the course, knew the ups and downs of the Volkswagens, and what that meant for a tee shot. He knew the gorse bushes, the boundary lines, and the greens. He knew when to chip, and when a long sloping putt would work best. He was clearly in his element as he chatted with us ladies and asked a little about our games. Then it was time to tee off.
I’m not sure if I teed off first or if it was Aunt Codie, but what happened next has never left me. Our caddie, having each hole in mind, told us where to aim. He directed Codie over the left side along the hump that would roll back into the fairway. I was to aim down the center to keep it in play or just over the first hill and let it roll. It was never the same. Not the same for each of us. Never the same for each hole. The truth is that what I remember is that my Aunt hit the ball pretty much where he told her to each time. And I rarely did. I remember cringing after my first shot. “It’s not where he told me to hit it,” I thought. I waited for the huff, the sigh, the look of disappointment. But, what I noticed is that my caddy just picked up our clubs, mine on one shoulder, Aunt Codie’s on the other, and started walking. Much to my surprise, when we got to my ball, he handed me a club and said, “Now, what I want you to do is this.” I could see the flag. We looked at it together and he had a plan. For the next 17 holes, I did my best to follow his direction and guidance. I don’t know what I shot that day (although my husband could tell you), but I do remember settling into the comfort of having a caddy, the laughter of my Uncle’s never-ending jokes, and the spiritual lesson I will hold with me forever.
I trusted Jesus as my savior when I was ten years old (much because of the prayers and influence of my Uncle Dennis and Aunt Codie). From that moment on, I knew that God was with me. I saw Him as the overseer of my life, the Big God in the Heavens, the One that gave me direction and gave me His word to follow. I knew that God had a plan for me and I should seek Him to find out what that plan was so that I could follow that path. My experience at Bandon Dunes helped me to see how my view of God has changed over the years.
I used to see God looking over me on the golf course of life, seeing the humps and bumps, the flag, the hole, and the goal. I imagined Him looking down, urging me in a direction towards some goal (some I would be concretely aware of, others I would not). I saw myself floundering at times, hitting the “ball” in one direction or another, all while God sat on His throne. I thought maybe He was shaking His head, or maybe He was cheering me on—it depended on what I was doing at the time. Then I met the caddy. The caddy, he was there—he got to know me, he made me feel comfortable, he walked alongside me. Best of all, he knew the course, he knew the path that was best for me, and he carried my baggage.
I see Jesus as my caddy now. He knew me before I got started on this course of life. He knows which direction I should aim. He knows my name and my game, my abilities and my weaknesses. When an errant ball is hit, he picks up my bags, walks alongside me, hands me a new club, and points me in the right direction. When I don't go in the direction He wants me to go, Jesus never shames me or gets frustrated with my “bad shots.” He’s just right there beside me enjoying the landscape, and the experience, as He teaches me to trust Him on this course that we call life.
Seek the Lord while he may be found;
all on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways
nd the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
nd to our God, for he will freely pardon.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
either are your ways my ways,”
eclares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
o are my ways higher than your ways
nd my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
low to anger, abounding in love.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Search me, God, and know my heart;
est me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
nd lead me in the way everlasting.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
nd lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
nd he will make your paths straight.
for he guards the course of the just
nd protects the way of his faithful ones.
In their hearts humans plan their course,
ut the Lord establishes their steps.
written by Michele L. Powell, MS
Dedicated to my uncle
Dennis Charles Powers