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by Rubel Shelly
Im not a golfer, but my sons have gotten me onto the links a few times. They even put me a set of clubs together from some of their rejects. Theyve taught me how to address the ball, keep my elbow straight, and search through high weeds and dense undergrowth! Ill never be a threat to Tiger Woods.
There is at least one lesson about life, though, that is illustrated perfectly by the game. When a ball misses the fairway and lands in the rough, youre supposed to play it where it lies. You cant pick it up and place it back in the smoother fairway. Its cheating and taking unfair advantage to improve your lie by moving it to an easier spot that is free of obstacles.
Get the point? You cant always take the easy way out.
This thing called life has some rough areas, too. Financial reversals, job insecurity, cancer, difficult people, unreasonable demands these things present serious problems for us. Most of us have been heard to whine about how unfair life is. We contend that these things shouldnt happen to good people. We sometimes even blame God for creating the world so hardship and pain can flood into our experience.
In our better moments, though, I think we all know that these rough times form and strengthen character. They call out the best in us. They teach us to be honest about ourselves. They take the edge off our arrogance. They invite us to trust God. It is the person with no hardships to face who is to be pitied.
Spiritual novices are prone to the mistake of thinking we would be better off without constant challenge. But the easy way out isnt always a worthy path. Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors (James 1:2-3, The Message). If youre playing in the rough right now, dont give up. Play through.
Author: Rubel Shelly
Publication Date: August 7, 2001
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