JULY 13, 2018


Dear Church,

Disappointment.  This is what Willem experienced on a steamy Monday afternoon at Harborside Golf Course at the “Drive, Chip & Putt” local competition.  This is a competition like “Punt, Pass and Kick,” where kids go through three stations and can earn points depending on how well they do.  At each station they get three tries at driving, chipping and putting. Each shot is scored with a combined score at the end.  Will loves golf and is pretty good at it.  We’ve been practicing, and anticipation has been building for the day of competition.  Will was in the “Boys 7-9” age group even though he is only six, because by the date of the National Finals at The Masters, he would be seven.  And while I tried to temper his expectations, we both knew Will had a good chance of being in the top three of the 40 kids in his division and would advance to the sectional qualifier at Cog Hill in August.

We got there an hour before his “tee-time” and warmed up a little bit. Of the three, driving is his best, and while on the range, he was smoking tee shots well over 120 yards.  I knew chipping would be his worst and who knows with putting.  He practiced and then we headed over to the driving area.  Three volunteers were gathered by the driving range and chairs were set up about twenty feet behind for parents to watch.  Then we heard, “1:12 time - Willem Waterstone.”  Will walked out there all by himself, put the tee in the ground, and the ball on the tee.  His feet were spread.  His knees were bent.  He took the club back nice and slow.  He swung hard and opened his hips way too early.  He shanked his first tee shot.  Literally, the ball went so far to the right that he didn’t even make it to the fairway.  He didn’t cry or yell or throw a fit.  He just hung his head.  His next two were better, but nowhere near what he did on the range.  As he walked back to us, I could see the disappointment in his eyes.  He ended up getting 10thplace out of forty kids.

This was Will’s first of many public disappointments.  And while we all can say, “You did your best and that’s what counts,” it doesn’t matter how old or young you are – you know what disappointment feels like.  My guess is that you, too, know disappointment.  Maybe it was not being selected for the job.  Maybe it is doing all the right therapy and taking all the right medication and still experiencing the same health challenges. Maybe it is putting forth your best effort on a project at work only to have it all go sideways.  Disappointment is a part of life.  As a good friend of mine said, “It’s not the fun part, but a part of life nonetheless.”

I’m thankful Will had his experience with disappointment on Monday at Harborside.  Sure, I wish he would have smoked three drives all over 125 yards and crushed the field, but that didn’t happen.  And while we know it, sometimes we need to be reminded that it’s often in times of life’s disappointments when we can learn the most about ourselves.  We can see our true character.  We can witness our honest self.  In disappointment, we can look back, so that we can look forward. In disappointment, we can assess if something within our power can change or if we could have done something differently.  In disappointment, we can also forge a steelier faithfulness and determination.

Last week Sunday, I reminded us that Noah was faithful for 100-years between the time God told him to build the ark and the time of the first drop of rain. I can’t help but think that there had to have been countless times in those 100-years when Noah was disappointed. Thankfully, Noah persisted.  He was faithful and steadfast.  Whatever experience of disappointment you’re facing today, take a moment and ask yourself, “What can I learn from this experience?”  And then keep going.

Grace & Peace,

Pastor Matt