I got my first set of golf clubs at age 11 after my dad had given up fishing and started taking me to the course. I fell in love with the game. It has now been 19 years since I have been able to play, but I still love watching on a day like Sunday when the pros were hitting their shots with the dogwoods and azaleas of Augusta National in the background.
Maybe you have heard what happened. Jordan Speith, the 22-year-old American phenom, was trying to repeat as the Masters' champion, and birded four straight holes. That put him up by five strokes with with nine holes left. For seven straight Masters' rounds dating back to last year, Speith had never trailed and he was on his way to making it eight.
Three groups up ahead, Danny Willett, a British player many viewers had never heard of, was quietly having a steady but brilliant round. He was in Augusta only because his wife, Nicole, gave birth early to son, Zachariah. While the Georgia crowds were giving their roars of approval to Speith's streak of birdies, Willett stayed focused on his business and made great shots of his own. But the story at 5:05 ET was Jordan Speith.
Then Speith surprisingly bogeyed two holes in a row before an astonishing turn of events. He hit two balls in the water on the 12th hole leading to something he had never had in 46 rounds on the pro tour: a quadruple bogey 7. In just three holes, 2015's player of the year had lost six strokes to par. All the while Danny Willett was making two birdies to give him a lead he would never give up. To his credit, Speith tried to come back, making two birdies, but after 5:55 ET the story was all Danny Willett who left for home sporting a famous green jacket.
Sometimes it may not look like we are winning. Success and victory may seem to belong to others. But we never know what lies ahead. We still need to be faithful and take care of the business God has called us to. In our case, we don't need someone else to have a meltdown, and we don't hope for that. But we can never be sure how God is weaving the pieces together or what turn of events he has in store. Danny Willett had no promise his perseverance would bring a victory, but that is exactly the promise we do have. Anyone who gives up on God, always gives up too soon.