“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” – 2 Corinthians 4:8
There’s but a fine line, so they say, between the best amateur golfers and the professionals who play on the tour. Both have tremendous command of the game, hit the ball straight and far, approach the greens with consistent accuracy, and able to putt with great precision. In spite of that, however, neither group completely avoids occasional bad shots that leave them in difficult predicaments – sand traps, rough, behind trees, and the like. And that’s where the difference lies between pros and amateurs, the pros do better job at recovering from adverse circumstances. The same can be said about any competitive sport. The main difference, for example, between the NFL teams that make it to the Super Bowl and those who don’t, has less to do with a team’s overall talent and ability as it is how effective they are at scrambling out of bad situations.
What is true about sports also applies to other professions. Consider the recent incident with Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 where an engine fan blade failed and flying debris damaged the left side of the fuselage and a side window causing the plane to decompress. Tragically one passenger was killed, but the plane’s captain, Tammy Jo Shults, managed to save everyone else on board by skillfully and miraculously maneuvering the aircraft – that was literally falling out of the sky – to a safe emergency landing. Among the thousands of people perfectly capable of flying an airplane, only a small percentage have the confidence and competence to do what Tammy Jo Shults did, demonstrating that fine line between amateurs and professionals.
No one escapes adversity, some certainly experiencing more than others. But we all find ourselves in the rough from time to time, behind a tree or in a sand trap. And we’re all vulnerable, God forbid, to those circumstances when it seems we are falling out of the sky. Have you ever noticed, though, how some are able to handle adversity more calmly and gracefully, never without hope of solutions, possibilities, or even opportunities? Others, though, become paralyzed by their problems. Here again there is but a fine line between pros and amateurs, the distinctive difference being faith. For as the Apostle Paul says of the faithful, “We are hard pressed on every side; but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed.”