Generally Speaking: Woods a true redemption story


­It was fitting, in a way, that Tiger Woods’ redemption story happened on Palm Sunday.

Most Americans love stories about a fallen hero making a great comeback.

At least, we used to love stories like that before a certain cynicism invaded the news cycle. Lee Habeeb, a Newsweek columnist, wrote an inspiring column for their online blog this morning, and I found myself cheering.

I say “cheering” because he pointed out a few close-to-my-heart things that were about more than the technical fact that Tiger Woods had just won $1.9 million and received his fifth green jacket.

Habeeb talked about a different Tiger than the one who used to play more like a machine than a person, the one who did not connect with people, the one whose personal life was a total train wreck, and the one whose destructive choices hurt the people around him.

The Tiger who sank that final putt seemed different —more connected and real.

I wanted to believe he was different, but Habeeb thought so, too.

The emotion was all over his face when he grabbed his caddy and hugged him, opened his arms and lifted his jubilant little boy who came running toward him.

There was humility and gratitude in his comments when he was interviewed. It was a great moment, and I just thought it was fresh and good and wholesome. I wish there were more public moments like that.

I love a scene like that one in Augusta yesterday. I have no idea what Tiger’s view is on God, but it appeared to me yesterday that God’s grace was evident. I am not a big believer in coincidence.

In the final scene of the movie Titanic, the camera sweeps over the dark, silent, ocean tomb where the eerie ghost ship rests.

Suddenly the music crescendos, the pace quickens, and light and color bring the rusty shell to life. Once again, the deck gleams, the chandeliers shimmer, and a wedding celebration reunites Rose and Jack.

If you’ve seen Phantom of the Opera you recall the sepia toned scenes when an aged and ashen Raoul, now an invalid, returns to the deserted Paris opera house as its contents are being sold at auction.

Debris littering the floor, cobwebs everywhere – there is a lonely sad sense of death and loss. And then, like magic, light, color, music, pageantry!

Life replaces death, and all is restored in splendor.

Movies like those stay with me for days.

I rush to buy the soundtracks, relive the stories, put myself in the roles and wonder what it would have been like to experience such an era.

But it’s the transformation, the moment of rebirth that grabs me most.

The vision of death becoming life – the contrast of light replacing darkness - the thought of burdens being lifted and chains being broken, the joy of  reunion and the sounds of laughter reclaimed – those are the things that capture my imagination and strike a chord of longing in my heart.

I wonder if the first Easter was something like that. Death. Darkness.

A tomb. And then, music, lights, color and a Resurrection – the REAL Jesus throws off the grave clothes, walks and talks and even sits down to breakfast with those He loves. Can you even imagine what God’s production must have been like?

Better than cinemascope, I am sure. After all, it was not make believe.

Most of us have a few restoration stories of our own – moments when we were drowning in a sea of problems – and then the light dawned, and a miracle came forth.

A cancer that defied the odds, a diagnosis of doom that turned into a clean bill of health, a severed relationship that found a way to heal, a loss that felt like the tears would never stop - little glimpses of resurrection power up close and personal.

Those small epiphanies remind me that the God of the Bible is still writing the script, and no matter how dismal the picture appears, there are no hopeless situations.

After all, we have a Father who turns night into day and death into life – and we have a Savior who put on skin to show us exactly what our God is really like.

It takes just one glimpse of the outstretched arms and a splintered wooden cross to convince me that there is no price so great that God would not be willing it pay it that you and I might experience life…with meaning and abundance.

And one look inside an empty tomb reminds every one of us that no matter what impossible road we travel today or tomorrow, the victory is sure and the battle is won.

The Resurrection tells us once and for all that there are truly no impossible situations when God is writing the script.

Hallelujah! He is risen. Christ has come.

Christ will come again. And it’s going to be bigger and better than any movie and any golf tournament you’ve ever seen!.



Basketball practice has already started for some at North Sunflower Academy.

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