GOLF & GOD (5): Water Hazards

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Don’t be intimidated by the 15,000 sq. ft. putting surface as it beckons your challenge, quietly floating 150 yards off the lakeshore. Confidence is your key to success. Board the Putter Boat shuttle, and enjoy the short ride over to finish the most unforgettable island golf green in the world. Don’t misread your putt… remember, everything breaks towards the water.

The Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course of Idaho is the proud home of the world’s first floating green — an intimidating target with water on all sides.  But remember, “everything breaks towards the water.”  Ka-plunk! Splash!  Ever have one of those rounds where it seems as though if there’s water to be found, your ball will find it?  My dad seems to be one of those unfortunate ones.

picDiversWhile the OB stakes try to keep your ball on playable ground and sand traps merely slow your game down a bit, water hazards are placed on the course with a more sinister purpose of swallowing up as many victims as possible.  Yes, underneath those blue, sparkling innocent-looking waters lies a cold, sunken graveyard of every kind of golf ball .  All golfers agree: Water hazards are evil.

The ancient world of the Bible portrays the “waters” and “the sea” as a dark, perilous and forbidding place.  In the Bible, the seas often symbolize the evil forces of “chaos” in opposition to God. Psalm 74 mentions God crushing the heads of Leviathan, a sea monster personifying cosmic chaos.  In Genesis 1 we find God’s Spirit taming the watery chaos as He orders creation by his superior power.  The exodus displays in vivid detail the salvation of God who redeems His people by providing a way through the sea and onto dry land.

Elsewhere, the psalmist cries out to God, “Rescue me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters.  Do not let the flood sweep over me” (Ps 69:14-15).  And again, “Stretch out your hand from on high; set me free and rescue me from the mighty waters” (Ps 144:7).  In the Gospels, the disciples are about to be swallowed up by the stormy sea, but are rescued as Jesus exercises his divine power by walking upon the waters and then calming them.  Finally, when John describes the glorious new heaven and new earth it is a place in which, alas, “there was no more sea” (Rev. 21:1).

0721_Jesus_calms_storm_christian_clipartThe spiritual lesson: Steer clear of Evil’s abode.  Avoid the water hazards in your spiritual walk with God.  The world is not always a safe place.  There are places in our lives — in our relationships, our behavior, our ambitions, our thought life — that bring us directly to the shores of a cold, bottomless sea of destruction.  We should not tread lightly near the water’s edge.

Yet, we cannot totally escape the stormy waters of life.  We will all find ourselves up to our neck at times.  Fortunately, like the Putter Boat shuttle at Coeur d’Alene seen above, we too have a safe and secure vessel to bring us  safely to God’s glorious Green.

Besides, why should we be afraid of the waters when our Caddy has the power to calm the seas and walk on water?

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

1.  What types of “water hazards” threaten to sink you most often?  What kinds of evil temptations come knocking on your door?

2. After your first shot gets sunk, do you wisely humble yourself and take a free drop?  Or do you stubbornly keep hitting shot after shot into the same hazard?

3. Do you trust that God has the power to calm your seas, to rescue you from sinking, and to provide you a safe shuttle to the His Green?

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