In the Sand Trap


By Debra L. Butterfield

“She’s a tough old bird,” my father often said about my mother. He was right. Not even seven surgeries sidelined this octogenarian. With her first knee replacement, the doctor told her she’d never golf again. She was 74 and still determined to be a player, not a spectator. Five months later she stepped onto the tee and drove her first ball of the season at the local golf course. At the age of 81, she won a ladies golf championship for women 35 and older just six months after having a mastectomy of her right breast. I would do well to take a lesson from her—in life, not golf—for she is a woman of quiet perseverance.

When we step up to the tee to drive the ball down the fairway, we intend to hit the green, maybe even make a hole in one, but we all find ourselves in the sand trap now and then. Getting out of the sand takes perseverance.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance” (James 1:2-3, NIV).

It took intense physical therapy three times a day, seven days a week for my mother to gain back the mobility of her leg. She faced discouragement often and pain daily, but she kept at it. When she scheduled her second knee replacement six years later, she was prepared to do it all again. Removal of her gallbladder nine days after the knee replacement blindsided her though. Nothing she ate would stay down. The pounds were slipping away like melting snow on the parched Colorado prairie. Even a slice of her favorite chocolate cake looked revolting. She felt like giving up. Still, she persisted.

To persevere doesn’t mean you never feel discouraged or like giving up. It means steadily persisting to reach your goal despite how you feel, despite the obstacles that get in the way. The apostle Peter, in 2 Peter 1:6, admonishes us to diligently add perseverance to our faith. That is accomplished through fighting the battles with God’s help, confident that he will do what he promised he would do (Hebrews 10:23, NLT).

Mom is the middle child of seven. She was four years old when the Crash of 1929 ushered in the Great Depression. She served in the Marine Corps during World War II and lost many of her childhood friends to that war. She raised two boys and twin girls—her first child was stillborn. Mom has seen her share of grizzly-bear battles, yet I don’t remember her ever telling me “You’ve got to persevere.” I learned from her example.

This year saw the loss of Dad. After 63 years of marriage, Mom, now 85, stands strong, trusting God, just as she has throughout her life, to bring her through her grief one day at a time. She is a model of perseverance to her children and grandchildren and to her widowed friends. And, yes, she still plays golf.

When you find yourself in the sand trap, remember God is with you through your troubles. He will never leave you nor forsake you. His strength to help is readily available. Ask and he will provide. Keep your focus on God, persevere and you will reach the green.

Copyright © Debra L. Butterfield, used with permission.

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