Recently, while taking a week of vacation, my wife, daughter, and I tried our hand at miniature golf. Miniature golf is usually a part of our activities while on vacation in Colorado; so, having decided to stay in Oklahoma this year (due to covid-19), we wanted to include this in our week of "at home" activity together. We played at a very nice miniature golf course in Tulsa. It had lots of fun "twists," "turns," and "obstacles." From a competition stand point we didn't do very well. But we did, at least, have fun. But in addition to our personal golfing experience, we also had fun watching and visiting with other families.
One of the families, that was just ahead of us, included: parents, three children, and a grandmother, (whom I'm guessing might have been in her late 70's or early 80's), who was doing very well. That is, until she came to hole 11 which started off with a significantly steep sloop and a dramatic turn to the left. The slope was so steep that when I had my turn I had to "tee off" three times just to get my ball up the hill. It was no wonder "grandma" was having so much difficult getting her ball to the top. Every time she hit it, the ball would roll half way up then come rolling down again. But then something wonderful happened...
After three attempts to hit her ball to the top of the slope, her family began to encourage her; "Grandma, just carry your ball up to the top and hit it from up here." But grandma was determined. She, "teed off" a fourth time, but her ball didn't make it. "Come on grandma," one of the grandchildren called, "I'll carry your ball up here for you." But she tried again. Her fifth effort also failed. Now the rules of the golf course are that one can only have 6 strokes on each hole so she only had one stroke left. She set her ball down (on the "tee off pad"), moved her putter back and hit the ball with all of her strength. To everyone's surprise, her ball went to the top of the hill, bounced off the wall, made the sharp left turn, and went into the hole! On her sixth, and last, attempt, she made a "hole in one." Everyone in her family (and all of the surrounding participants) began to clap and cheer!
There is a lesson for us all, which was exemplified by "grandma" that day; persistence counts. When you are frustrated; even when you think the cause is lost, don't give up. Your "hole in one" may only be one stroke away. Sure, there are times when marriages must end, businesses must close, and projects must be terminated. But in many cases, we give up way too soon.
There are many verses in the Bible that encourage us to practice the discipline of persistence:
Galatians 6:9 - "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
Luke 11:9-10 - "So I say to you; Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; those who seek find; and to those who knock, the door will be opened."
Proverbs 24:16 - "For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again,"
Sometimes, what is needed for success is simply the willingness to "hang in there" and try one more time.
Thank you "grandma" for your persistence and faith. You provide a lesson for us all. (Plus you are very fun to watch!). May you all have a blessed day and remember: Hang in there and keep trying!
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.