The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
If it were up to my dad, you wouldn’t be reading this devotional because it wouldn’t exist. Now, before you get the wrong impression let me reassure you that he isn’t anti-religion or faith; he is just that much of a golf fan. His dream for me was to make the PGA Tour and to spend my days on the links. There was only one problem: the game of golf and my perfectionist tendencies were a recipe for disaster.
Slicing and hooking my opening drive into the woods. SIGH. Hitting a shot in the water. MUTTER UNDER MY BREATH. Ending up in a sand trap. GRUMBLE. Barely missing a makeable putt. THAT’S IT! My dad soon realized his dream wouldn’t become a reality when I wrapped my putter around a tree in frustration (true story). Over the years, I’ve learned how to handle my mistakes, screw-ups, and failures with a bit more class. However, coming face-to-face with my shortcomings is never comfortable.
Just like many of you, I had all these intentions that 2018 would mark “a new year, a new me.” This mantra might have meant working on your anger, eating better, sticking to a budget, devoting time to prayer, or being more patient. And just like me, you are probably standing here halfway through the year dealing with not measuring up. Your hope was met with typical behavior, not-go-great attitudes and regretful actions.
In golf terms, you stood at the tee post, looked down at your ball and took a swing. Unfortunately, your ball went sailing in the wrong direction. Just like on the golf course, my drive to do everything correctly the first time causes me to experience a case of the “spiritual yips.” I get in my head and over think things. One wrong move, one poor decision and I feel like there’s no point in playing the game. Things will always be the same. So, I take my club and go home.
I need to remind myself over and over again that change is indeed possible. But, it won’t come easy and will require me to fight. It's filled with two steps forward and one step back. Adversity, setbacks, and roadblocks are part of the game. And, most importantly, I’ve got to extend myself a bit of grace because the God I worship extends it to me in more ways than I can comprehend.
Christ's unconditional love offers each one of us a mulligan – a second chance. The power of the cross gives us much more hope than just another shot. The old system of religion demands perfection, the new one centered on Christ rests in His grace. He's not only the God of second chances; Christ is the one who offers unlimited opportunities to experience grace, forgiveness, and mercy. His mercies are new every morning which means that the mistakes of the past are left there – in the past. Take another shot today.
- In what ways are you dealing with discouragement and feelings of futility? Why have you lost hope?
- Where do you need to extend yourself a bit of grace and realize that transformation takes time?
God, remind me during those times of struggles and failures that my mistakes aren’t the end of the story. Open my eyes to the abundance of Your love, grace and mercy. Speak into those places where I’ve lost heart and hope. Give me the courage to try again and rely on Your strength to guide my steps. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.