Originally published on May 19, 2020
We recently watched a documentary series on Netflix called “Losers,” about athletes who failed and the aftermath of that failure. Most of them learn from their failures, find new passions, grow in character, etc., and I highly recommend the series. But that’s not why I mention it here.
One of the subjects was Jean Van de Velde, whose name is familiar to all who play or follow the sport of golf. In 1999, Van de Velde was about to win the British Open, the first Frenchman to win a major tournament in decades. He had played near-perfect golf all weekend and arrived at the 18th hole leading by 3 strokes. He needed only a double bogey to win (6 shots on a par 4 hole). Even I can make a double bogey (well, sometimes). He had birdied the 18th on his two previous rounds and no one doubted that he would finish as the winner.
But disaster ensued. He hit an errant first shot; his second shot ricocheted off the railings of the grandstands, landed on top of a stone wall and bounced fifty yards into knee-deep rough; on his third shot his club got tangled in the rough and the ball flew into the water; he took a drop for a fourth shot penalty; his fifth shot went into a bunker; his sixth on the green; and his seventh in the hole for a triple bogey. He lost the tournament. It’s an understatement to say that he didn’t finish well.
I’ve been thinking a lot about finishing well. It seems as if our stay-at-home season is ending, at least somewhat. Will I finish it well? I started well: spending my extra time in worship, lingering over God’s word, trusting Him with this uncertain season. I’m not sure that I will finish as strongly as I started. It’s been easy to shorten my worship time, to move quickly though my reading and meditating, to trust my own logic and plans.
I’m reminded of these words in James 1:6: Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. I don’t want to waste this time of perseverance. I want this season to finish its work in me.
The way we finish this season of life will determine how we enter the next season. (I know the way I eat in December determines how I squeeze into my clothes in January.☺) How are you going to finish this season of respite from the busyness of life? What habits have you developed to help you grow? Have you cultivated rhythms that deepen your faith in Jesus? Did you add any skills to enhance the next season of your life?
Lest these questions discourage you, remember these words: he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6.