“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” — Hebrews 11:1
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A while ago, tennis great Rafael Nadal was asked about the secret to his success, especially when it came down to the big moments in his career, and particularly the comeback wins. His reply? “I just try to trust my daily work and believe in my chances.”
The world got to see this same mentality displayed at the 2022 PGA Championship. Golfer Justin Thomas began the day seven strokes back of the lead, looking to be all but out of the mix for a second major title. The leader, Chilean Mico Pereira, along with others in the chase pack, such as American Will Zalatoris, appeared to have a far greater chance of victory than Thomas.
The final round kicked off, and Thomas went to work on the scoreboard, slowly chipping away at his stroke deficit, getting himself back in the mix. With just a few holes left, he was within one shot of the lead, tied with Zalatoris for second place behind Pereira. Thomas finished his round first and headed into the clubhouse, hoping for a chance to get to a playoff if Pereira couldn’t close it out.
Sure enough, Pereira tightened up on the 18th hole and double-bogeyed, dropping him out of the lead and leaving Thomas and Zalatoris to head to a three-hole aggregate playoff to decide the winner.
Hours before, it had seemed unlikely — odds had Thomas at a less than 1% chance of victory. Yet here he was with an opportunity to steal a surprising win. Three holes later, Thomas tapped in to seal the deal. Tears flowed as Thomas hugged his family and his caddie, stunned at what just happened. As he hoisted the Wanamaker Trophy, commentators said his victory was tied for the third largest comeback ever in golf major history.
The way to prepare for the big moments — the way to handle the pressure when you’re pushed to the brink — is to fall back on what you know from your daily work, and then believe that you have a chance. The great athletes know that if you are not confident to the very end — if you don’t remind yourself that it’s never over until it’s over — you can sometimes bring defeat on yourself before you ever begin. And all comebacks are evidence that, in sports as well as life, anything can happen. Things can reverse and change at any second.
The hope that carries you through the challenging moments is to remember that God is in the business of comebacks. Hard moments and bleak outcomes don’t last forever, and momentum can swing in your favor at any point. The key is to weather the storm by relying on past experiences with God, recalling His faithfulness, and trusting that things will turn around in time.
Even when things look bad and impossible, you have to trust your training and believe in your chances. Just keep doing the next right thing. Because you never know when God just may pull off something amazing, and apparent defeat may give way to victory.
— Katherine Singer
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