Friday, December 05, 2008

Riding With Arnold Palmer

A very good friend and I were at the same conference recently in Florida. We were playing golf in two different foursomes at a private country club. Between us was a foursome that contained golf legend Arnold Palmer. I saw him several times but was content not to hit him with my ball or with a club swinging wildly out of my hand.

My friend Gary played the first nine holes, then bowed out of the game and went for a walk. He began following quietly Arnold Palmer's game. Eventually he saw they’d noticed him following at a distance, so Gary went to Arnold and boldly asked permission to follow just to watch him play. The response was gracious, and my friend hugged tree after tree in order to watch a great athlete play a great game. At the final hole Arnold motioned for Gary to come over. After they’d introduced themselves, Gary asked if he could take Mr. Palmer's picture on his cell phone. "No, I want my picture taken with you." Another player snapped the shot of my friend with a toothy grin, his arms wrapped around the great Arnold Palmer. Then Arnold looked at my friend and said, "Gary, do you want to ride with me back to the clubhouse?"

When I heard the story I admit I felt a twinge of envy. Why hadn't I thought of that?

Well, let me tell you what I see in this simple and great little story. All too often, I, like Gary, feel drawn to the Lord. I sometimes get bold and watch Him from a distance. It feels safe watching as a fan of His amazing swing, the perfection with which He moves in this imperfect world. I sometimes feel my prayers would only be an interruption to a great and busy man. I would be overwhelmed if he posed in a picture with me. It would be enough to simply ride to the clubhouse with Him.

But every day He wakes me for our life together. Every night He meets me in the darkness with His comforting presence. Every noon hour His faithfulness guides me in perfect wisdom and love. God is with me. That is an overwhelming thought. It is also thrilling in its truth. The reality of Jesus coming as my Emmanuel weighs profoundly upon my life. I worship Jesus. He is God in the flesh. He came not to play a game but to break the curse of sin and death. He’ll never leave or forsake those for whom He suffered and died. He is alone worthy of my love, devotion and praise.

Ed Litton


Martha Schmidt said...


MessickMom said...

Awesome story! I envy those who can see spiritual significance in simple, everyday life happenings. That is what attracted me to Mark. Those devotional stories can win a woman's heart over!

Anonymous said...

Praying for you and your family; love the story and the analogy. He called out to this star struck guy hiding out in the trees. I imagine the look on your friends face when he called out to him-bet he turned into one oversized kid. Thanks for sharing it with all of us.

Anonymous said...

This analogy has gotten stuck in my head and really made me think ... I must confess, Pastor, that I often feel just as you describe here. I'm ashamed to admit it, but it's true. My wish for 2009 is to curb my busy schedule and put my Savior first again in my life. Lately, I seem to break my neck to make time for everything and everyone -- except Him. My quiet time gets scuttled when I get overwhelmed, and then I wonder why my day feels so out-of-sorts. Thanks again for this blog, and for your humility and transparency. We love you more than words could ever express.

Eleanor Ransburg
(emailed from Shreveport LA)

Kelli said...

I ran into your blog via someone else's blog, and realized that I recognized your name. It didn't take long for me to put two and two together. I have friends who attend your church (I have visited as well) and they let me know about your wife's passing. There were many tears and prayers going out on your behalf that week and beyond. I pray that the peace of God is with you and your family always. I look forward to reading more of your blog.


crickl's nest said...

Ed I am so sorry about Tammy. I just found out from reading your blog and Facebook. I just barely knew her and so long ago, but she was the most joyful person. Radiant. I hope you're doing well. I can't imagine the journey you've been on, but wow, I can see the strength God's given. God bless you and your family.


jlitton said...

Great story and application. Looking forward to seeing you @ the Men's Converence in North Richland Hills.

John Litton

Anonymous said...

Nice to see you here again. I have been reading since I found you a few months ago.

You certainly do a wonderful job at making lemonade and serving it to others. Blessings in Jesus!

Anonymous said...

Wow, thats a great story. So much spiritual application there as well... - Kevin