Links Daily Devotional

Hope Over Defeat

Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4, AMP)

The USGA Open Championships are hard—plain and simple. As I watched the men battle Chambers Bay last week, I felt the frustration and feelings of defeat as flashbacks erupted within me from past rounds at the Women’s Open. I remember moments of angst that left me ready to give up. And if I’m honest, I did give up a few times. A course like Chambers Bay, with its tricked-up fairways and greens, only exacerbates the struggle to remain steadfast until the last putt drops.

I watched Tiger Woods and Rickie Fowler shoot 80 and 81, respectively, during the first round. You could see the frustration grow as each miscued shot led to a bogey or higher. For a professional golfer, this can feel like an out-of-body experience. When not one positive thing occurs over a long stretch, a feeling of helplessness enters in, even for the best golfers in the world. Externally, you do everything possible to keep your emotions even-keel. Internally, however, live fireworks pulsate through every vein in your body.

Failures on the golf course feel big in the moment, but when each one is met with steadfastness and patience, these same failures have the capacity to help any golfer mature, both on and off the course. Tiger and Rickie have faced many failures in their tenure on tour, and what I saw while I watched from behind my computer screen is that they never gave up. In the third round of the Women’s Open in Rhode Island years ago, nothing was going my way and I felt extremely defeated. My attitude was bad, my body language was pathetic, and I wanted to be done. It took everything in me to finish the round. The endurance, steadfastness, and patience I chose to keep present over the remaining 36 holes did a thorough work in me and I left with a deeper fortitude as a golfer and woman.

The struggles the players experienced around Chambers Bay are representative of what life can feel like. Many of the people I love and care about deeply have been bombarded with unexpected bounces and unlucky breaks. I too have felt the weight of the hazards lurking in this broken world as of late.

Life is hard—plain and simple. In today’s passage, James didn’t say if we encounter trials; he said whenever. Embracing the trials of life is often not easy, nor is staying steadfast and patient through the journey to the other side. As each new day dawns, we have a choice to trust James’ encouragement and “let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you (we) may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.” This is where hope wins over defeat.

Tracy Hanson
June 25, 2015
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