I might have said I couldn’t find words for what one of my all-time favorite athletes, Tiger Woods, did by winning pro golf’s most revered Masters Tournament last week.
But I’m a believer.
So, alone in my room, as my television screen showed Tiger’s final shot hit the bottom of the cup on the event’s final hole, I closed my tear-filled eyes and whispered aloud: “Thank you God.”
And moreover, I felt my faith soar.
Because for the longest time now, I’ve had a spiritual investment in Tiger, whom I can’t help viewing sometimes as a son:
I keep praying for him and sometimes, I can almost see the Holy Spirit leading him closer and closer to Christ.
I’ve talked about this, even written about it in a couple of these columns before.
And Tiger’s winning the Masters, in its way, seemed to sharpen my view and further validate a couple of a Christian’s most fundamental lessons:
In both their ways, prayers and the Holy Spirit work.
To me and, I’m sure, to other Christians, Tiger’s winning the Masters wasn’t just a great sports feat.
It was yet another strong signal that maybe his time to finally answer Christ’s call is yet closer than anyone can imagine.
Surely, as an athlete, Tiger soared to some of the greatest heights in his sport. And through injury, pain and some poor decisions, he also fell to some of the lowest depths.
And indeed, to the world, his Masters victory is the stuff of which fairy tales and undying legends are made.
It is, to them, the climax of a tale involving a man who, through perseverance, hard work and determination picked himself up and beat the odds against him. It is truly the stuff of dreams.
However, the Holy Spirit won’t let me forget a recent time when I and a lot of other Christians sent up prayers for him, not the athlete, but the foiled and humbled man.
Tiger, to me, seemed clearly confused and clearly in search of answers.
And mainly because he and I seem to have some similar physical thorns, I strongly empathized with him.
I also prayed longer and harder for him than I had ever.
In the days, weeks and months leading up to the Masters, too, I’d noticed a more humble public Tiger, who seemed more genuinely giving.
This version of the man seemed, to me, more of the stuff of a Christian.
And somehow now, after that once improbable, incredible victory, he still seems to look like a man on the verge of yet more change:
Like a man ready to admit Who and what truly got him over; like a man truly ready to come to Jesus.
Oh I know how our own carnal nature and the carnal nature of others can conspire to fool us.
And because of that, I may be seeing more of what I want to see than what may truly be there in Tiger Woods.
God knows; and I know that what He has allowed me to see in all of it inspires me.
It makes me the more strongly persuaded that our Great Comforter can and will do some things in unimaginable ways to help us believers through.
Jesus said: “I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you” (John 14:18).
April 21, 2019