I REMEMBER A DEVOTION a coworker used once in a meeting; it started with a story about monkeys and golf. As I remember it, when the British colonized India, they built a golf course for recreation. As the story went, there was a unique challenge to playing the course. After hitting their drives, which sometimes landed in the fairway and sometimes the rough, golfers would walk to where their ball was supposed to be, but it wouldn’t be where it originally landed. Monkeys would come down out of the trees bordering the golf course, pick up the golf balls, and throw them. A ball in the rough might end up in the fairway. A ball in the fairway might end up behind the spot it had landed or ahead of it. I imagine the monkeys enjoyed watching the golfers getting frustrated.
They tried different things to get rid of the monkeys, but nothing worked. Finally, the golfers adopted a local rule agreeing to play the ball wherever the monkey dropped it. Some days a golfer might greatly benefit from the monkeys, others not. What changed was their attitude. They just accepted it would happen and moved on. To be successful on the course, I imagine you had to embrace the challenge and say, “How well can I benefit from this bad break?”
Hear these words from Psalm 26:2,
Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind.
This journey through a time of unemployment is a test for us. God wants to see how we respond, what we will do moving forward. Where do we place our trust? In ourselves and our abilities, or in him?
Too often in life, we try to make everything “perfect” and when we do, our frustrations increase because we’re trying to make perfect what can’t be made perfect. Right now, the monkeys have thrown your golf ball (your life) somewhere you didn’t expect. They certainly did for me. The question is what we will do about it? Will we “whine,” “cry,” “gripe,” “complain,” “be angry,” etc. about what happened? If so, what will it change? Nothing. In the end, we are still unemployed.
Instead, can we embrace what’s happened? Can we learn to enjoy this opportunity? Can we figure out how to make this the best experience possible, even though it’s not what we wanted? The answer is “Yes!” We can. I believe it’s what God wants for us. I’m not saying it will be easy, but let’s be positive about this and move forward.
When you talk with others about what’s happened, share what’s positive about what you are experiencing. Smile when you say it. Sometimes you might feel like you’re faking it, but the more you say it, the more you’ll believe it.
Embrace the journey and have some fun!
This week’s blog is an excerpt from How Long, O Lord, How Long? Devotions for the Unemployed and Those Who Love Them , by author Dale Kreienkamp
Really good one today and very relevant for me. Thanks for your work. Tim
Sometimes it’s the monkey; sometimes it’s me! Well said, Dale. Let’s take another whack at it again today!
Dale.. At times I wish we had monkeys in South Dakota so they would throw some of my bad shots back into the fairway but don’t think they’d much care for the climate up here. Appreciate the good story and the sound wisdom.