The rough – its a destination for which my golf ball never needs to ask directions.
Recreational and professional golfers alike, end up in it.
It can be a place of intimidation or immortality.
Some of the most memorable victories in the PGA or LPGA are of pros who made improbable shots out of the rough.
In golf, championships are won not by avoiding getting into the rough but by successfully getting out.
Life is much the same way.
Life’s UnFair Way
To be in the rough is to be off the fairway. The rough feels unfair, frustrating, discouraging, and stands in the way of success.
All too often, life resembles golf: our lives end up “in the rough” and we face the improbable task of getting out.
There is a chapter in the Bible – Hebrews 11 – that profiles people who ended up “in the rough.”
Some of their accomplishments are characterized as those “who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.”
This is the kind of stuff we think of when we think of “men and women of faith.”
Then you read verse 35b.
There is a different tone to 35b.
“There were others…”
“They were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.”
Talk about being “in the rough.”
“The others” experienced a different result to their faith.
The others’ lives are not the stuff that dreams are made of.
However, the others’ lives were no less a result of a life well lived by faith.
The Nameless Ones
Names are used in the first half of Hebrews 11 – Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David. When it gets to “the others” they are nameless.
Perhaps they are nameless because there were so many of them.
You may feel like you could add your name to those nameless others.
You may feel that life hasn’t been fair recently…that you’ve landed in the rough…and you’re having a hard time getting out.
Not Plan “B”
Verse 35b is not God’s “plan B” when things go wrong.
Just like being in the rough is no surprise to a pro golfer, being in the rough is no surprise to God.
Don’t be intimidated…and don’t give up (or throw away your clubs!)
1. God will give you grace – “My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:8
2. Choose your club well…take a hold of hope. “Hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts…” Romans 5:5
3. Make the necessary adjustments to your approach. “Humble yourself under God’s mighty hand that He may lift you up (and out) in due time. Cast all your care upon him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
4. Swing away!
APPLICATION: When were you last in “the rough?” Please leave a comment below.
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My mom is in the rough. She is struggling these days and needs to have ears to hear God calling her name. It breaks my heart. But I know that God has a plan, purpose, and destiny for her. I wish she would know that she is worth more than gold. I pray she will know her worth in God, the Father, who holds us all, who is tender with us, who calls our names. So I remember Hebrews 12, “Let us throw off everything that hinders…fix our eyes on Jesus…consider him who endured such opposition…so you will not grow weary and lose heart.” There is a line from the song “Burn Bright” from Natalie Grant that says, “I’m believing you’ll come running into the arms of Jesus”. This is my claim for my mom. Acts 16:31 says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.” This is where I put my hope.
You have my agreement in prayer for your mum. I was reading today that no one comes Jesus except the Father draws them. I know the Father is drawing your mum to Jesus.
Thank you Pastor Bob. I certainly appreciate your prayers.
when my husband suddenly died. I went through shock, & grief. I had a horrible job that had no choice but suffer through. I was all alone. Most people expect you to “Get over it by 2 months” so they vanish. Only a few true friends remain. Each day is “what’s the point”?
Gen 6:6 And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
I am right not and with every swing I feel like I keep landing in the rough… but because of my faith and the people God has placed around me I know I’ll get out… but I am struggling to get out
You’ll find you get better and better in getting out and better and better at staying out.