During this week’s practice rounds for the 2011 US Open Championship (which begins tomorrow at Congressional Country Club near Washington DC) there was a very strange sight—caddie Stevie Williams carrying the bag for Adam Scott. This is unusual, of course, because the highly-recognizable Williams has been the caddie for Tiger Woods for the last 12 years. The Woods-Williams partnership has certainly been a successful one, with Stevie being Tiger’s caddie for all but one of his major championship victories. With Woods being sidelined with leg injuries, however, Williams will be marching Congressional’s fairways with a different bag—and no matter how you slice it, it seems very strange indeed to see him alongside a golfer other than Woods. It just seems abnormal to not see them together, despite the fact that this is a temporary move and the reality that golfers change caddies on a regular basis. As we are going through life, we can get so accustomed to seeing things as they are that we are shocked when something happens that feels strange or out of place. This is especially true of trials. We go through seasons of life where all is well and life is good, and can find ourselves shocked when hardship visits us. That is why Peter reminds us:

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you…” (1 Peter 4:12)

While hardships and trials may sometimes surprise us, there is nothing strange about them. In fact, trials are the real “normal”! And, we do not enter those seasons of trial left to ourselves. Christ promised us:

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

As we make our way through life, Christ can carry us through these challenging times—no matter how strange they may seem.   Bill Crowder, Sport Spectrum Chaplain