Today Tiger won his 80th tournament. It was a great comeback. I cried. You see, golf has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. Even though I’m not very good at it, I still love it. There’s two reasons why. One is that I spent many hours on the course with my dad who was an “ok” golfer but loved the game so much that whenever I was out with him it was a good day(also the rare time I heard a 4 letter word from him). We laughed, we shrugged, we complimented each other on our good shots and encouraged each other when we had the bad ones. It was a time when my dad was in his element and when we were father and son enjoying life together.
The second reason I love golf is because it brought me and my son together. I couldn’t teach Max much, but I could identify with the frustration that the game brings. I loved watching him. I loved seeing that satisfaction on his face when he “put it close.” I loved being there the first time he broke 80. I was disappointed with him that day when he was on the verge of 80 and didn’t get it. I walked with him when he was brought to tears because he had one of the worst front nines of his life and then celebrated with him when he had one of the best back nines of his life.
Golf is often a “come back” sport. Many golfers go through slumps and then suddenly they come back for a big win. It’s so unpredictable. Like life. So today when I saw Tiger win after such a long struggle to be healthy again, it struck something in me. Yes, Tiger has a rough past, but don’t we all? I don’t claim to know his heart but I witnessed today an amazing comeback.
So why did I cry? It wasn’t for Tiger, win or lose, he has accomplished more than most athletes. I wept for the moment. I wept because of the image of my little Max when he was 3 yrs old wearing a t-shirt that said “Tiger.” I wept because I wasn’t witnessing this moment with my son because he would have been screaming and high fiving and celebrating with all those fans on the 18th green. I wept because of those moments I miss with my dad. I wept because there is still a piece missing from this moment. But I know I’m not the only one. Everyone has something missing from their life that they can’t get back. I hate that I do. But these moments like today remind me of the great comeback. There is a kind of comeback that only Jesus can give. It’s not a comeback from a slump that leads to winning, it is a comeback from hopelessness to hope, from sorrow to joy, from pain to healing, from hurt to forgiveness, from “not enough” to grace and from death to life.
Tiger reminded us today that comeback is possible. Most importantly, Jesus reminds us that comeback is possible. Not in sports, but in life. In God’s world, there is never a moment when we can’t be forgiven. There is never a moment when we aren’t loved. There is never a moment when God doesn’t know our pain and loss. There is never a moment when God can’t change the direction of our lives.
Today, you can be the comeback story. It’s ok to weep. Just know that those tears can be wiped away by the loving embrace of a God who knows your pain. Meet God where you are, not where you think you should be. You can come back.