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If I had to choose between my wife and my putter... well, I’d miss her.

Gary Player

Character

We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4

I am sure you have heard the joke about the person who prayed: “Lord give me patience – and hurry up about it”.

In the ancient world suffering was often seen as a result of the gods being angry with the person. The Stoic philosophers saw suffering as something to be endured with fortitude. As Christians, suffering can be a means of blessing as it develops our character and drives us forward to the hope we have in God.

I recently spoke to an athlete who got a serious injury at a bad time of the season (is there ever a good time?). He shared how he had gone from disappointment and self-pity to praying about it and asking God what he was meant to learn from the experience. In this way a potentially very negative situation became a much more positive one – an opportunity to grow, not just a situation to be endured.

Another athlete I know battled through a situation where – in her words – “you feel everything is against you”. She said the experience had changed her perspective completely. In future she would not be phased by setbacks as she would draw on the experience of battling and not giving up this year. Her character had grown in what had seemed a frustrating and negative situation.

Whatever challenges you are facing, in sport or in life, try to see them in this context, as an opportunity to grow and for God to shape your character. (I don’t mean that to sound trite as this type of situation can be really hard). Remember God is with you

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