A bunker or a sand-trap? Different people call it different names. But its meaning is never different! There it is: Whatever you choose to call it; it is a small, sand island on a golf course!
I am not yet a golf player; someday, I hope to nurture into life, that secret ambition. However, I do visit golf courses regularly to either observe my walk or jogging exercise in the tranquil atmosphere where I am offered the serenity to meditate or pray as I observe my exercise. As I gently progress in my soul-searching efforts, sometimes, I MUST admit that I am nonetheless distracted. Distracted by "wannabe pro-players" ... You can very easily tell them apart from the majority of the golf-users: They often urge their player-mates - or in some cases, companions - to watch them display extemporaneous skills as they attempt a strike at the miniature ball, from within the BUNKER!
The other day, this young player had invited along his girlfriend - and had tried to impress her with his amateurish skills!
"Oh, bunkers ..." she'd exclaimed as the dry summer's wind had driven some soft sand onto her flowing maze of blonde hair!
Only the wanna-be star wasn't laughing!
DON'T MAKE A FOOL OF YOURSELF!
While we may all be embarrassed at times for displaying inexperience or foolishness, it would nonetheless be worse if we either deliberately or unknowingly make a fool of ourselves! There must be a reason - if not more - for the erection of a man-made bunker (or sand-trap) on golf courses! Just like in every sport that calls for professionalism, resistance objects are created both to tone the athletes' muscles and possibly also acutely hone in on their skills!
Bunkers (or sand traps) are shallow pits filled with sand and generally incorporate a raised lip or a depression from which the ball is more difficult to play than it is on the 'smooth' grass surface!
In the spiritual realm too, all that pertains to righteousness and Godliness WILL face obstacle-erections or barriers! That's a certainty! Father-GOD allowed it so to be!
Barriers, to a spiritually dead or a spiritually immature person, are a pain. Painful to conceive and even navigate. "If God were a good God, why would He allow this and that to happen to me?" That is the kind of question that agitates such souls in crises, at crises' calls!
But for the spiritually enlightened, the perception that gives birth to their response to the presence of sand-traps or bunkers on their life's golf courses is remarkably different! 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 comes to mind: "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." When the GOD had allowed the devil to wreak chaos and calamities in Job's life, his spiritually ignorant wife had urged him to "Curse God and die!" Whether Job followed her advice or not, she was determined to abandon him in his pain and anguish any way! thankfully, the spouse in pain was steeled in his faith in God: Job had answered her thus: "Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips" | Job 2:10.
One thing is certain: When suddenly our golf courses grow sand-traps/bunkers, we are tested by God. We are summoned to "Come up higher" | Revelation 4:1 The demands of honing in our skills and sharpening of focus are called into operationality! If we prepare to pass, fortunately for us, we hit the hole in one! An ace, so to speak! Our ball has ended up in the cup! Unfortunately for the devil, he tempts us to draw us away from our Father's love. Never ever had he any idea of what glory was about to be revealed in us! Father-God's tests, therefore, are resistance, muscle-growing elements specially designed by Him for the healthy bulging, curl-formation of our spiritual muscles! The writer of Hebrews made mention of a phrase in light of this truth: "ARM YOURSELVES WITH THE SAME MIND!"
"Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;
That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God."
1 Peter 4:1-2
Jesus the Master categorically warned His disciples to expect trouble, persecutions, and indeed tribulation as they endeavor to follow Him. The truth is that your bunkers will certainly be different from mine, and indeed, someone else's.
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." | John 16:33.
Ought we not, therefore, request from our great High Priest, grace to walk with Him daily even in the face of the grit and the drifting sand of the sand-trap/bunker?
Written by Sammy Joseph.
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Photo credit: Sammy Joseph Ministries, U.K. This is a copyrighted photo that must not be reproduced, stored, or altered without the written permission of the owner!