Unbridled Exuberance

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14, ESV)

Today I am sitting around the table at Mission Viejo Country Club with our Links Players staff for a time of planning and fellowship. It’s guaranteed that many stories will be shared about where God is working to change the conversation at our golf clubs. I am usually the quietest at the table, and honestly it’s hard to compete with a masterful storyteller like Randy Wolff, but today I have a story.

Last week I was in Boynton Beach, Florida, playing my first rounds of the year with my dear friend and Links Players supporter, Mr. Swaney. I wouldn’t say my game was in peak tour performance, but I did hit the ball well and was competitive with the different guys we played with over the course of our four days together.

On my last nine holes for the week, one of our Michigan friends, “Komo,” challenged me to an eight-hole straight up match-play competition. Of course, I willingly accepted his challenge and quickly had him two down. He announced his first press (which starts a second bet), and I quietly continued my steady play while Komo chattered insistently down the fairway. Two more holes passed and a second press was added. As we walked to the eighteenth tee box (our ninth hole), Komo was five down, three down, and one down on our three bets in play.

Before teeing off, Komo pressed again. This one he called the “hog” press and along the way he also had been talking about a birdie accelerator (I think he was making up his own rules). I hit my tee ball and told him to tell me how it all shakes out at the end. Our balls rested within a foot of each other on the eighteenth green with a 40-foot putt for birdie. I putted first and had a kick-in par and felt good about it, thinking no way Komo was going to make his putt. And then the unbelievable happened–his putt careened into the bottom of the cup. You would have thought he won the US Open as he danced around the green leaving the rest of us bewildered!

This one putt cancelled all four bets on the table and my two-under-par performance meant nothing. It was a great way to end as we laughed and enjoyed one another.

If an unexpected 40-foot birdie putt to cancel meaningless debts can bring such exuberance, what should our reaction be to the wildness of God’s love in “canceling the record of debt that once stood against us” (past, present, and future), but instead was nailed to the cross by Jesus?

Personally, I am easily wooed into believing that I need to continually perform to be forgiven, by God and other people. It’s very easy for me to feel that whatever I have to offer falls short from being enough. Even though I know this isn’t actually true, it is the landscape where the enemy of my soul attempts to lead me off course.

The phrase that I am holding onto this year is All in. As I look for where God will ask me to be All in, today’s passage is a wonderful reminder that my debts have been paid, once and for all. As I choose to be All in to this truth, I have the freedom to be all of who God created me to be as I walk my journey this year.

Jesus made the one and only putt that ever needs to be made and our debts are nailed to the cross. Will you join me today in dancing with exuberance?

Tracy Hanson
January 26, 2017
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