Links Daily Devotional

On This Course You Will Have Tribulation

“In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world (John 16:33, NASB)

“The Black Course is an extremely difficult course which we recommend only for highly skilled golfers.”

Thus reads the sign before the first tee at The Black Course, one of five courses at Bethpage State Park. If you’d like to get that message online rather than going to Long Island, NY, to look at the sign, visit their website. There the wording is slightly different: “The Black Course is a difficult and challenging course that should be played only by low-handicap golfers.”

Life is a course that is extremely difficult and challenging and should be played only with Jesus.The authors of those statements about The Black Course are clearly masters of understatement. “Extremely difficult” and “difficult and challenging” are mild descriptions of The Black, which will host The Barclays this August as part of the FedEx Cup playoffs.

Do you want to play it? Of course you do, because you’re a golfer and therefore obviously nuts to begin with, just like me. We see those warnings as challenges to be overcome, and if not overcome then bragged about to our golf buddies when we emerge beaten and worn, and about a dozen balls poorer.

What Jesus said in today’s passage, however, is not a warning designed to entice us. Both parts of his statement are factual. We believe the first part (“in the world you have tribulation”) because we experience it. The apostles certainly believed it, having already known both the highs and the lows of following Jesus. So how do we survive?

The victory is ours through Jesus, who tells his apostles to be courageous, because he’s already won. Romans 8:37 and other scriptures underscore what Jesus said. We overcome all the world’s tribulation because Jesus himself overcame every kind of tribulation the world brings us, including death.

Even though I qualify as a “low-handicap golfer,” I can’t imagine playing The Black at Bethpage without a caddie who knew the place and could guide me around. Perhaps then I could enjoy it, though I know I could not conquer it. And life is even tougher.

So perhaps I should put a sign at my door (kind of like the first tee) as a reminder. Life is a course that is extremely difficult and challenging and should be played only with Jesus, who played the course perfectly, by your side.

Lewis Greer
June 29, 2016
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