The Back 40

By G.P. Avants

“We are the clay, you are the potter; we are the work of your hand.”

                                                                        Isaiah 64:8

            “Somebody sure took a lot of time and care to get this golf course looking good.” He said. “It’s almost picture perfect.”

            She squinted past the manicured lawns and the smooth surface of the man-made lake. Her eyes fell towards the line of trees bordering the course.

            “So what’s out there,” she wondered.

            He shuddered. “That’s no man’s land. It’s the wild; the back 40.”

            “So, it sounds like a place I don’t want to my ball to land in.”

            “Right. That’s what you call way out beyond the safety zone.” He removed his hat and held it to his chest. “That’s the graveyard of golf balls that never will see play again.”

            She laughed.

He frowned. “I’m serious.”

            “I can tell.”

He set himself ready to swing as she continued her train of thought.

            “So, it could be a really wonderful place it someone took the time and made the effort to keep it maintenanced?” She began.

He nodded with one eye closed, held his breath and shot. “Why are you so interested in that wild place?” He watched his ball land near the green. “Yes!” 

“I just had a word picture pop in my head.”

            He rolled his eyes. “You’re always thinking of a spiritual aspect to everything you see, Dear.”

            “I can’t help it, Sweety. That’s how the Lord speaks to me.”

            He leaned on his iron. “So,” He motions with a gloved hand.

“What?” she responded back.

            “So, go ahead and tell me what God told you. You’re going to tell me anyway. I was just saving some time.”

            She smiled. Her husband was still new to this Christian life. He still had many questions and wanted to understand how this whole walk of faith worked.

            “I thought about the unkempt places in my life.”

He guffawed this time.

            “What’s so funny?”

            “You are the neat freak in our family. What mess are you talking about?”

            She pointed to her heart. “I think that I give God my best but, He wants the worst things in here too.”

            “Really?” He sounded truly interested.

            “Yes. God can take our wild places and make them what they should be. He is the gardener that can reclaim land that others have given up for lost.”

            “God can even do something with places in my heart that I have given up any hope of changing?”

            “If I understand the Bible correctly, then yes.” She looked out toward the belt of trees. “With God all things are possible; nothing is impossible.”

            “That really does give me something to think about.” He switched gears. “Are you going to hit you ball or just contemplate the rest of the day.”

            “Right.” She lined up her shot. “Let’s see where you end up.”

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