The Solheim Cup was played this past weekend, as the best women golfers from the USA and Europe locked horns in Ireland for a fierce battle on the links. These cup competitions (like the Ryder and Presidents Cups for the men) are fascinating to watch, because athletes who normally play individually are suddenly thrust into the mindset of a team game—and it is fun to watch. There was nothing fun for the USA on Sunday, however, when the final day began very unfortunately. Cristie Kerr, one of the team leaders for the American squad, had to withdraw from her match before they even teed off. Why? Because of a wrist injury she had incurred earlier in the week while in the simple, normal act of handling luggage. Make no mistake, Kerr is one of the top women golfers in the world and a terrific athlete, but the greatest of athletes can be derailed by even the most common things in life. Her disappointment was palpable as she walked off the practice ground and her match was forfeited. But no amount of skill, training, or preparation can protect us from the realities that confront us when the simple things of life happen.
In life, we face myriads of challenges, hardships, and struggles. We can’t predict them, anticipate them, or fully prepare for them, but they come nonetheless. And when they come, they often surprise us greatly—but should they? The ancient patriarch Job, writing from his own pain, said, “Yet man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7).
Indeed. That is the reality that comes along with living in a fallen world. Arguably, the only really surprising thing about life’s difficulties is that we are so often surprised by them. We expect what we do not get and get what we do not expect, in spite of the fact that life, experience, and the Scriptures point us to the realities of a world of struggle. But, more importantly, the Scriptures do more than warn us. In the Word of God, we find hope and help in those seasons of disappointment. Peter wrote, “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
When life happens, handing us pain or grief or loss, we have someplace to turn and Someone to turn to. We have a God who understands our frame and is strong enough to carry the loads too great for us. When life happens, we don’t have to merely endure it, helpless and hopeless. We embrace the God who embraces us
. . . in all our pain and struggle.
Bill Crowder, Sports Spectrum Chaplain