Legendary Canadian professional golfer Moe Norman had a saying about most amateur golfers, “Hope and fear. That’s all these golfers are bringing to the golf course, hope and fear.”
The 17th hole on our golf course is ranked as the least difficult hole in the course. It’s a straight par three requiring a 150-yard shot over a fairly large pond. For the average golfer, a tee shot at this distance is no great challenge. But the presence of water plays tricks in the mind and, having played the hole many times myself, I can tell you that the psychological challenges are significant. More than once I’ve stood over the ball on this tee and said to myself, “Fred, old friend, I sure do hope you make a good shot here,” only to have old-Fred reply, “I hope I do, too, but to be frank, there’s quite a wind blowing and I’m afraid it’s going to pose a problem for us.” The minute a golfer’s confidence is challenged, he’s in trouble. It’s rare for that golfer to hit a good shot with that mindset. One thing I’m sure of is that there’s not a member in our club who’s not hit a ball into the water from this tee. You’re right, Moe. It is a matter of hope and fear.
When it comes to golf, we can smile at these frailties. But what is really serious and sad is that that’s the way many people lead their entire lives. They sure do hope their circumstances will improve but they have plenty of fears about the reality of this happening. And if you’re able to speak seriously with them, they’ll tell you all they do is hope they’ll get to heaven when they die but they’ve got no real assurance that they will. That answer indicates an underlying fear.
That’s not the way that God wants us to live. He’s done something for us that makes living this way entirely unnecessary. Speaking of the Lord Jesus, one verse tells us, “he died, that he might deliver those who through the fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.” Another verse confirms that “those who placed their trust in Him as Savior have a hope that is an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast.”
There’s no chance that I’ll ever be able to hit a golf ball the way Moe Norman did, and I’m resigned to that fact; I’ll have to keep on playing golf with my two partners, Hope and Fear. But I am happy to say that I’ve placed my trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and He is my hope now so I no longer need to live in fear. Neither do you when you place your trust in Jesus Christ and say, “Thank You, Jesus, for dying for me.”