Last weekend, I had the privilege of witnessing one of the greatest comebacks in sports history. It was the win by Tiger Woods at the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia.
You had to be there to really know how powerful and emotional it was. We all felt the momentum crescendoing until the second that 1.620-ounce golf ball rolled into the 18th hole and every person in the stands erupted in cheers.
Even the toughest and manliest of us had trouble holding back tears. Woods had not won a major tournament in over 11 years, and seeing him burst in a shout of celebration — eyes shut, arms up in the air — made all of us who were present realize just how much he had to overcome to get to that moment.
But I have to admit it: I was a doubter.
Two years ago, Woods could barely walk due to paralyzing back issues. His personal and very public failures over the years had taken him to the bottom and left him with deep emotional wounds and scars. He had four back surgeries and in the process became addicted to pain meds.
Many people thought he was done winning major tournaments. At one point in 2017, he even admitted to Jack Nicklaus, who is widely regarded as the greatest golfer of all time, that he had given up on himself.
Even when you’ve hit rock bottom, you can make a comeback and find forgiveness.
Yet somehow he persevered through the pain and rose to the top of the sports world again. Today nobody talks about him as if his career was dead. Instead, they are talking about how he is one PGA Tour win away from matching golf legend Sam Snead’s record and three wins from catching up to Nicklaus’ majors record.
“He’s got me shaking in my boots,” Nicklaus said Sunday after Woods’ win.
But beyond being one of the most incredible moments in sports history, I believe Woods’ comeback is actually a reflection of an even greater comeback story.
Easter is the day Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. People in my church, along with millions of Christians in America and across the world, will gather to remember and reflect on the story of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection and its significance in our lives.
Easter is the greatest comeback in history, because Jesus’ resurrection gave all of us a chance of redemption.
No matter how terrible your mistakes are or how deep you think you’ve fallen, there is always hope in Jesus. His resurrection reminds us it’s never too late for a new beginning — as long as you’ve got breath in your lungs, your story is not over. Even when you’ve hit rock bottom, you can make a comeback and find forgiveness.
If you are struggling to endure the pain in your life, I invite you to find a church near you and go to one of their Easter services. Just like Tiger Woods at the Masters last Sunday, it could be the day you make the greatest comeback of your life.