When Doing Right Ends Wrong
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-5).
Sports can teach us lot of valuable life lessons if we’ll let it. I played sports growing up and was a golf professional for three years in the 1970s. Sometimes we buy into the idea that if we will do all the right things and execute the perfect golf swing, or the perfect baseball pitch, or the perfect whatever, we are guaranteed success. The problem is that sometimes it really is true. The outcome matches the execution and the goal. However, in sports, as well as in life, success is not guaranteed.
Sports psychologist Bob Rotella says, “If you bring a smothering perfectionism to the golf course, you will probably leave with a higher handicap and a lousy disposition, because your game will never meet your expectations.”*
You can make the perfect golf swing and end up in a divot or sand bunker, or make a great baseball pitch and the batter will hit a homerun. The analogies are limitless.
So what do we do when the outcome is bad? We must accept that in sports, as in life, outcomes don’t end the way we always hope.
Jesus came to be Savior of the world. He was a perfect human being without sin. He did all the right things. The result was death on the cross because a short term positive outcome was not God’s plan for the situation. He had a bigger picture in mind.
You and I need to keep the big picture in mind when short term outcomes don’t turn out well. The Bible calls this perseverance. “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).
Ask God for the grace to accept bad outcomes even when you have done all the right things.
Bob Rotella, “Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect”, Simon and Schuster, New York, NY 1995, p. 117