Play it as it lays

We always pray for you, asking that our God will make you worthy of his call and will fulfill by his power every good resolve and work of faith, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. – 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

1-IMG_2759Yesterday my friend George and I drove around to the other side of Raleigh to play golf on the Campbell University course. It was a perfect fall day (55-60 degrees), and the site is beautifully laid out – interesting, challenging, unique, tricky – lots of fun.

I played – as always – with a predictable inconsistency, demonstrating everything from classic “hacker” technique to shots that made me convinced I should be on the next Ryder Cup team!

My big “ah-ha” moment came at the hole pictured above, driving over the water and down almost 100 feet to an inviting fairway. I hit a poor drive that made it safely across, yet left me short and in the rough. I teed up a second ball – provisional in case the first was lost – and it sailed perfectly down the middle, a long way, leaving a short pitch to the green.

I found the first ball, but my friends said, “Just use the good one, we don’t mind.”

1-IMG_2765-002But I didn’t. I pocketed the provisional ball and went all the way back to the first one. The situation was bad but my shot was perfect, sailing long and high, right over the bunker in front of the green, and landing softly by the flag. And, yes, I made the birdie putt and followed it up by paring my way in for a back nine 38.

Here’s the thing. We’re often afforded every opportunity to skip the bad breaks, take the proffered second shot with no penalty, and take the easy road forward. But life is so much more satisfying when we do well anyway, having “played the ball where it lays.” What’s required is belief, tenacity, creativity, faith, patience, and – most importantly – the best effort that we can muster.

Sure, I acknowledge that golf is just a game, and the point is fun, not philosophy. But sometimes, at least when I’m thinking clearly, God uses even the disposition of a little white ball to teach me something about my life.

If that is, I’m paying attention. – Derek



faith Live Like You Mean It photogrpahy The Life That Truly is Life

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Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at, and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

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