The Centenary Heights State High School Year 12 student was baptised on August 11 this year, marking a significant milestone in his journey with God. He’s now in a very different place than he was 12 months ago.
“About a year ago I was in Sydney standing proudly on the first place podium as the Junior Men’s Gymnastics National Champion,” he said.
“By the age of seventeen I had won 14 national gold medals, represented Australia in three major competitions in Austria, Hungary and the US, and was a member of the Australian Institute of Sport Olympic Squad.”
“I felt like I had the world at my feet.”
However, Lachie also felt something else – considerable pain in his lower back.
“Two weeks after being crowned national champion I met with the doc who reviewed my scans and congratulated me…I had just competed with two complete fractures in my L4 vertebrae – broken beyond repair – with a third starting to develop above.”
For the next three months Lachie was not allowed any activity that would put stress on his back. He was then given the all-clear to return to training – but things were not the same for the driven athlete.
Lachie said the setbacks made him angry and depressed, and began to affect his relationships.
“One night, feeling particularly desperate, I reached to my bedside table, blew the dust off my Bible and searched for this supposedly ever-caring God,” he said.
“After years of pursuing my ambition, God was nothing more than a fondly remembered character from my childhood.”
That night Lachie read Matthew 16:24-26, a passage that would change his life.
“Anyone who intends to come with Me has to let Me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow Me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, My way, to finding yourself, your true self.”
Lachie said reading the passage was like being woken up by an ice-cold bucket of water.
“I certainly wasn’t letting Jesus lead, because my whole existence was self-centred: winning gold no matter what,” he said.
“So that night I prayed the shortest but most genuine prayer of my life. I simply asked God to help me.”
It was a life-altering moment, and in the months since Lachie has gone from victim to victor.
“I can honestly say in the past eight months I have lived better than ever before.”
A year ago, Lachie never expected to lead at youth group or help out at homework tutoring.
“Yet that’s what I do,” he said. “I finally realised the value of investing in others. I’m experiencing the immense satisfaction that comes from trying to live like Jesus.”
“I don’t see myself losing by surrendering control to God. Instead I am filled with excitement for whatever comes my way next.”