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Daily Devotional: Friday, December 3 - Keeping the Faith

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” — Hebrews 11:1

The 2021 PGA Championship surprised us all. For Phil Mickelson, after a seven-year major drought and a two-year gap since his last PGA Tour win, a victory for the 50-year-old seemed unlikely. Many fans of golf wondered if his best days were behind him. Oddsmakers were favoring the younger Brooks Koepka going into Sunday’s final, figuring Mickelson wouldn’t be able to close it out. With history not on his side either, having only been five others over the age of 45 to ever win a major, Phil had the odds stacked against him.

Entering the last round, Mickelson clung to a slim, one-shot lead. Fans anxiously watched as a rough start to the final round for Phil emphasized people’s doubts that he had what it took to win. But, as each hole went by, Phil was still in it and, some four hours later, he stood on the 18th green as the crowd chanted “Phil! Phil! Phil!” as he held the PGA Championship trophy. It was truly an improbable win, further underscored by the fact that it symbolized not only Mickelson’s return to the top of the game, but also the triumph of humanity in the face of a hard last year dealing with COVID. It was a real, honest-to-goodness comeback story for the ages. And nobody could believe it happened. That is, nobody except Phil.

One of the commentators said it best following the trophy presentation: “Even when others didn’t believe him, he still thought a moment like this was possible.” Phil later mentioned that idea himself when talking to the press. As year after year ticked by with no major wins, as more and more people said he’d passed his prime, as rising stars in the game appeared to be passing him by, Phil still kept the faith and dreamed he’d find himself a winner once again. Perhaps more so than any other victory he’d ever had, this one felt special for him and everyone else — because of what it took to get back there.

We all have our share of doubters and we have our seasons where it just feels like we can’t win — can’t win in sports or can’t win in life. The odds appear to be stacked against us. When we hit times like these, we have to remember that, with Jesus, we are always fighting from a place of victory: “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). That means that we can believe in ourselves because Jesus believes in us and chose us and cares for us. Knowing this can empower us to live a life of confidence because, regardless of what happens along the way, we’ve already won since He won for us.

When others try to shout down your goals or convince you that you don’t have what it takes to succeed, remind yourself that your win is coming. Tell yourself that it’s only a matter of time … because it is! Like Phil Mickelson, you may be kept waiting for it for a while, but if you keep the faith and work hard and are patient with the process, God will get you there in due time.

— Katherine Singer

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