By Kay Hardin, Senior Chaplain, Baptist Health Medical Center-North Little Rock
I like summer a lot. I know there are those who don’t because of all the heat and humidity. But I love the long days, the katydids singing at night, the opportunities for playing outdoors, wearing shorts and sandals, all the flowers, the gentle rumble of thunder in a rainstorm and homemade ice cream, just to name a few of my favorite things.
The summer season can also be a teacher to me. For example:
- Flowers don’t need two kinds of fertilizer when first planted in the ground (that is if you want them to live).
- Just because the brown place on the ceiling has dried up doesn’t mean the leak in the roof is fixed.
- Watch where you weed-eat in your yard during baby-bunny season.
- Feeding the neighborhood homeless cat one time guarantees you have a friend for life or while the Meow Mix lasts.
- If you are going for the look of having been in a fight with a tiger, trim boxwood hedges in a T-shirt and shorts.
One benefit of the longs days of summer is getting out on the golf course in the evenings where I played golf several times with a fellow chaplain who offered to help me with my game. Hole after hole, she drove the ball down the middle of the fairway very close to or on the green. My drives off the tee sent me searching for my ball in tall weeds or on another fairway or under trees or fishing for it along the water’s edge.
I asked my friend how she could remain so positive when she was playing with such a clumsy, elementary partner. She responded that she simply loved the game and enjoyed helping those who wanted to play, no matter what.
Her “no matter what” got my attention. It helped me comprehend that no matter how bad, trying, unchallenging, or lousy I was at golf, she still enjoyed playing the game with me and found value in me as a player. Those three words — no matter what — can carry power, energy, and hope. The following Scriptures use this compelling phrase daring us to believe, to hope, and to move forward.
“We are able to hold our heads high no matter what happens and know that all is well, for we know how dearly God loves us…” (Rom. 5:5).
“Be filled with his mighty, glorious strength so that you can keep going no matter what happens — always full of the joy of the Lord…” (Col. 1:11).
“From one disaster after another he delivers you; no matter what the calamity…” (Job 5:19).
“I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of His glories and grace” (Ps. 34:1).
No matter my lack of skill and discouragement, my chaplain-golfer friend inspired me to press on even when others around me were doing the game better. Press on when the elements were against me — too hot, too windy, too humid, too buggy. Press on when I repeatedly messed up and wanted to give up. Press on because she saw my glass as half full and encouraged me to view it that way too.
As the fall and winter seasons are soon to approach, I’m better equipped with some treasured guidance for those days when I feel my cup is half to two-thirds empty and when my game goes in the sand trap of life. Saint Paul tells us in Philippians 4:19: “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” –– and you can practically hear Paul adding, “no matter what.”