When fairy tale stories come true, sometimes Hollywood is criticized for an unbelievable ending. Yet, what Nate Lashley accomplished last weekend can only be described as a win for the ages. Lashley’s wire to wire victory at the Rocket Mortgage PGA Tour event in Detroit, Michigan seemed surreal. Entering the final round with a six shot lead, commentators suggested that a collapse might come, causing Nate to fold under the pressure. Instead, a Tiger Woods esc domination ensued as Lashley finished 25 under par, breezing to win this PGA event. The context of what happened leading up to this victory makes Lashley’s accomplishment a real life Cinderella story and likely Disney movie in the making.
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us, Romans 5:3-5.
Fifteen years ago, Nate Lashley was a rising college star playing for the Arizona Wildcats. While competing in an NCAA qualifying tournament, his parents and girl-friend flew out to watch Nate play in the west regionals. On the return flight, the plane piloted by Nate’s father crashed during a storm killing all three aboard. This tragedy eventually caused Nate to leave golf, making a career as a real estate agent. When Nate’s love for golf returned, nagging injuries prevented Lashley for reaching his full potential. Playing on what is called a major medical exemption, Nate was running out of time to make enough money to keep his PGA tour card. Thus, Nate attempted to Monday qualify for 4 spots in the Rocket Mortgage Tournament. Lashley finished two shots out of a playoff, but a last second withdraw opened the door for Nate to become the last player in the field.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing, James 1:2-4.
As a viewer of this amazing feat, Lashley’s rise to the top is a story of courage, faith and perseverance. In the back of any mind, doubts whisper “you’ll never amount to anything; you’re not good enough or you don’t have what it takes.” These inner demons prevent most people from fulfilling their dreams and purpose in life. Yet, Nate Lashley’s win for the ages inspires me to not give up hope on accomplishing my own dreams in life. Just as Jesus’ earthly brother writes about how trials strengthen faith, may God fill you will perseverance to fear any face and climb any mountain, no matter how high, in the future.
by Jay Mankus