Although I'm not very good at it, I enjoy playing golf from time to time. My father and I play at a local public course. Although it's not a very fancy course, it is plenty challenging for me due to one reason.....the creek. This blasted creek is a continuous hazard on the course as it meanders in play on several holes. It slithers in and out of holes like a snake and it is noticeable throughout the course. By my count, this creek comes into play in nine out of the eighteen holes if we played the regular or white tees. As a result, it is rare (and I mean rare) that I finish a round without having to retrieve at least one golf ball out of the creek. Just like the tree would snatch up Charlie Brown's kite in the "Peanuts" comic strip, this aqueous monster gobbles up my golf balls on a regular basis and wreaks havoc on my score.
As a matter of fact, if the creek were nonexistent, I would probably shoot a fairly good score on the course. There would be no worries about errant shots landing in the drink. Yet, come to think of it, playing would not be quite as much fun or rewarding. You see, when I do have a good round and somehow avoid this watery grave, I am ecstatic as I come to realize how I have beaten the challenge. The watery menace has been reduced to a trickle. It did its best to humble me, to destroy me, but yet my limited golfing ability and my simple Spalding clubs overcame it. Take that, you aqueous monster!
Of course, life is like that also. If we didn't have tribulations or trials, life would be relatively easy...and perhaps a little boring. Yet, when we overcome tribulations, there is a great sense of accomplishment, an ecstasy that we did it, we overcame, we were victorious.
The Bible in several places talks of the value of trials and tribulations. Romans 5:3-5 says that "...tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint...". James 1:4 says that trials make us "perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." So, the struggles, the tears, the disappointments, ultimately have the benefit of developing our character and conforming us to the image of Christ. No wonder the Bible says earlier in James 1:2, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials."
I may still end up in the creek a time or two the next time I play golf. But, the times I do get over it unscathed, just like overcoming tribulations in life, will make me extremely happy.