Cease from anger, and forsake wrath. Don’t fret, it leads only to evildoing. (Psalms 37:8 WEB)
I like to enjoy life. I like staying home with my family, even if we just sit, talk or read in the same place I enjoy it. I enjoy a good meal with friends, chatting about the day, about life and about how God is working. I enjoy games of all sorts with just about anyone if there’s a chance to laugh, relax and no one takes the outcome seriously.
I enjoy the outdoors including golf, the carts, the talking and the interesting things which can occur on the links. One time, while golfing with my father in law, I hit the ball into the rough. When I looked for the ball I was greeted by an alligator guarding his new found treasure. I let him keep it.
I remember playing golf with my father many times but one time in particular. We were behind another foursome taking our time and enjoying the beautiful weather. Three of the four men playing ahead of us appeared to be having a great time. The fourth man was losing his cool hole by hole.
By the time we reached the 18th hole the man was furious with his progress. They chipped on the green and motioned for us to tee off. We took our first stroke and sauntered down the fairway toward the green. As we drew closer we watched the first three men putt. Finally, the third man took a stroke and missed the cup. He took another and another before he dropped the ball in the hole and let out a few expletives.
He turned toward the lake beside the green and he tossed his ball in the water. With tensed shoulders and a running barrage of comments he walked to the edge of the green and picked up his bag, cart and all, walked to the other side of the green and heaved it into the lake. As the ripples spread across the small lake the man turned and stomped across the green toward the club house. His friends stepped back to clear the way then followed him toward the parking lot.
Dad and I chipped onto the green. As I was lined up my shot Dad caught my attention. The angry golfer stomped toward the green. We stepped aside as he apologized for interrupting our shot and crossed the fine cut grass.
He marched across the green, down through the rough and right into the lake. Soon he was splashing around looking for his golf bag. We figured he had second thoughts about tossing his good clubs into the lake.
He splashed around for a couple of minutes until his hands located the water logged bag and cart. With disgust on his face he lifted the bag until the top of the bag poked out of the water. He reached around the bag, opened a zipped pouch on one side and extracted his car keys. He dropped the bag back into the lake and stomped across the green, with apologies for the interruption, and headed toward the parking lot and his car. Dad and I chuckled, finished the hole and headed home. Golf is a game of control. This man lost his.
I wish I could say I’ve never behaved like our wet golfer. Unfortunately my temper has always been a bit of a problem. Sometimes, I remain calm and cool in the face of things going wrong and other times I lose it, to my own shame.
I could laugh at this man’s predicament. I could also feel his inner turmoil. I don’t know his relationship to God. I do know mine. If not for the presence, strength and guidance of the Holy Spirit I might spend more time in anger than joy.
God continues to teach me. Sometimes I get an “A” in class and other times I don’t want God to give me my report card. Like my parents, he already knows, long before I have the courage to fess up and reveal my shortcoming.