"It's natural to swing harder when you're playing with Dad."
He was making excuses for my poor play on the golf course. I needed excuses. A week earlier, I was a self-proclaimed driving champion. Seven days later I had returned to form: a shanker. The game of golf is miserably captivating. I might write a devotional on it some day, if no one else takes up the challenge. (Too late.)
My parents had come to town to meet their new granddaughter; a perk of returning to the Midwest is more frequent grandparent/child interaction. More spoiling and babysitting, too. One afternoon the men of the house took a golf trip. I was determined to impress: sons are bred with the impulse. However, the only shining aspect of my game was my being teachable.
Widen your stance. Keep your head down. Follow through. Stir vigorously for 30 seconds.
I tried the same advice the following day from the pulpit. I'm sure my father noticed because he told me he was proud. Any son likes to hear this, regardless of play or performance. And not simply because we're desperate for approval, but because a father's pride says something about him. Being my father gives him joy.
I suspect God relates along similar dynamics (Mark 1:11).