It’s Not In Me

white golf ball on green grass field during daytime


Anticipating the ball rolling into the cup, the word left my lips with force. A few moments earlier, the line on which the ball would roll was clear to me. All I had to do was commit and make the best stroke I could with my putter, not forgetting to strike the ball with a proper force so the speed of the ball would match the line.

The ball left my putter with a familiar touch experienced before in practice. Thought, feel and action melded in those seconds and minutes. I struck the putt perfectly. All I had to do was watch the ball roll with joy and anticipation, suspending breath in the hope some imperfection on the green would not deter my effort. Control is a passing illusion in golf, but the goal all golfers seek.

My faith has worked the same most of my years. There were those days when I thought I controlled and dictated the outcomes and the consequences of the myriad intentions of my sought-after gratifications. Then, there were those days reminding me I had no control, and all seemed against any desire I had for my own happiness. Cynicism, doubt and frustration ruled my perspective on those days.

Learning life is a teacher’s grading curve, measuring not against a standard, but against one’s fellow students. In life, our attention mediates our mutual misunderstanding of control. Faith never works that way. It never intends solely to satisfy the immediate until desire is relinquished to the eternal, the peace that all is in God’s hand, learning to love God first.

“So, Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, ‘It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace’ “(Genesis 41:16).

In the space between seeking God and dealing with life, God entered my dilemma existing in my self-deception about fulfillment. While the days oscillated between confusion and clarity, the constant drip of God’s love toward me eroded my illusions. It was a hard and long truth to knowing God’s peace was unattainable by my hand.  But following my winding journey, God’s posited image in me claimed me and reclaimed me. And aren’t we all claimed and reclaimed?

The world offers us buttons of illusive control, placeboes for peace by our hand. Insecurity and fear drive our need to control, a symptom embedded in a faithless life attached to a headline world. After all, doing something feels better than doing nothing. I now know God never relinquished his claim on me. He waited for me to hear his answer.

“It’s not in me,” Joseph said. The idea dropped into my subconscious, in the space between seeking God and dealing with life. Relinquishing control is not the journey into chaos we believe it to be, but the ever-present assurance the answer is not in us, a sort of counterintuitive realization peace arrives through reliance on God and his never-ending love.

“Those who have ears to hear, let them hear” (Matthew 11:15).

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