Did Not God Say?

photo of man swinging golf driver

Routine is the habit of the mindless, the unthinking, rapid perceptions symptomatic of an unintentional life. And don’t we too often treat God in like manner? If we stopped our mindlessness or were stopped, the question lingering and waiting for our attention is, “To whom and what do we give ourselves?; To whom do we belong?” It is a question best answered by remembering.

My life spent teaching and playing golf is explanatory. Swallowing the spewed teaching during my formative golf years, I rested on the idea that if I practiced enough, pounded golf balls for hours and days for enough years, my golf swing would become automatic. This in itself would make me an accomplished player. This I set out to do. This was the spewed message. In this, I persisted, mindlessly. Likewise, I encouraged my students.

After years, I stopped. I thought. I questioned and listened. The answer came. Every golf swing begins with an intent filtered through the hands holding the club. The force and direction required to hit a golf ball was a decision formed by the shot at hand, the conditions of the moment demanded by the field of play. Execution relied not on some automatic response but on a practiced understanding of how to influence a golf ball, a knowledge waiting on my arrival.

God waited, too. He waited while I swallowed what the world spewed until I knew worldly emptiness offered me nothing. He waited until I stopped, thought, listened and remembered. And somehow I remembered my baptism, not because of anything I had done, for nothing I had done warranted the peace I found in my arrived awareness. I found rest in my baptism because of what God had done for me, before me. He was always there and would always be there, waiting for me to rest in Him.

“For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Psalms 103: 14).

A rising clarity focused my thinking. My faith evolved from a sort of haziness to an intentionality seeking religion’s framework – obedience, doctrine, worship, sacrament. Church fashion no longer swayed me. My intentionality followed the deep understanding God would and should always be the audience as long as I abided in Him and remembered.

I desire the discipline of the devoted life for such a life is a devotional life, one intent on abiding in God’s word, listening to the conversations of a mindful remembrance of His covenant and giving my attention to His instruction. For this, I needed a frame steering me constantly back to His covenant. I needed His church and all its form.

“Therefore, know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments” (Deuteronomy 7:9).

And now, when I hear the question, “Did not God say?,” I am abruptly lifted from my routine and arrive into a place of thoughtful remembrance.

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

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