It took a while. Had circumstances meted a different outcome, The Masters golf tournament and Augusta National may have died as but a dream to its founders, Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts. Fate can be a dance partner capable of two-stepping to a tune chosen by the will of its whim.
Consider the following early struggles forming Augusta National. Their efforts began during the Great Depression and thousands of letters were sent inviting people to join and only 76 agreed. The plans for residential development, a Greek Revival clubhouse, a second golf course, tennis courts and bridle paths were scrapped. Alister McKenzie, Augusta’s course architect, unable to visit and make inspections as contracted because he was short on funds, sent Marion Hollins, a U.S. Women’s Amateur Champion, in his place to lend her ideas.
To salvage their enterprise, Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts invited the United States Golf Association to host the 1934 U.S. Open at the club. After an inspection by Prescott Bush, the U.S.G.A. turned them down. Jones and Roberts then birthed the idea for The Masters, known initially as the Augusta National Invitation Tournament. Following the first tournament, the field dwindled until 1939. Beginnings humble our best good intentions.
My faith life struggled in its infancy, too, and humbled me. Life flailed my inabilities and good intentions, sieving them through time and experience while my confusion reached its place upon the threshing floor. The very harsh task of God’s love began, separating me from all attempts to live life by my own will and preconception. Hindsight became God’s way of allowing me to say to Him, “Oh, is that what you meant?”
How many hindsights would I have to endure before I loved God more than sin? How many before I desired His presence more than today’s bleeding heart cause? How many before I realized I did not own time and made peace with an unpromised tomorrow? Hindsight meanders toward insight and clutters an enlightened soul.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2, NKJV).
Whim is not a method God uses. On this Christian journey we call sanctifying grace, severability from our earthly will is marked with pain, confusion, doubt and misunderstanding over shallow, inept and cursory concepts about God. Our problem is not in being last, it’s wanting to be first, and worse, a false and empty first. But then, transformation dispenses many realizations before a gratitude toward grace consumes our soul. Isn’t this our everyday Easter?
If a feeble faith is to become a humble faith, a witnessing faith, we must become as one who shreds from all desire any self-understanding.
It takes a while.
“Those who have ears to hear, let them hear” Matthew 11:15, NKJV.