It was hard to watch. It was probably worse to experience.
This collapse is not unique to this golfer. Many athletes have found themselves within reach of victory only to squander it in the last few minutes. Why? Because when the prize is finally within reach, the pressure not to mess it up is immense.
In the first round, first inning, or first quarter, though the nerves may be playing up, the pressure is minimal. No one is really watching and there are a lot of factors and competitors standing between you and the prize.
But when that victory is in sight and everyone is watching and so much is riding on so little, we often forget what actually got us to this point.
Satan knows this strategy all too well. Right when victory (in whatever life venue we are competing in at that moment) is in sight, he moves our focus off of what got us there (God’s grace, power, strength, and love) and firmly places all the responsibility for success or failure on us, planting in our minds all the ways we can mess it up. And sometimes it doesn’t take much.
Many Biblical characters felt pressure, and some held up while others collapsed. It all depended on whose strength they were relying.
Though saved by God’s grace through his mother and sister’s actions, Moses thought it his responsibility to free his people, so he murdered an Egyptian, was then called out by a fellow Hebrew, and finally ran into hiding . . . for forty years.
Though sold by his own brothers into slavery, Joseph always remembered who was in control. He had plenty of opportunities to collapse under pressure: the seduction by Potiphar’s wife, the unfair prison sentence, the forgotten promise to recommend him. But he didn’t.
The good news is, there is life after collapse. There is always another chance to get it right. Moses did. As did Jonah and Peter, many athletes, and . . . you and me.
It’s not easy to live as a Christian in a very unChristian world. There is tremendous pressure to concede and conform. But remember God’s faithfulness to this point and rely on His strength, and with that renewed perspective watch that pressure begin to disappear.