When Tiger Woods won the 2019 Masters golf tournament this weekend, CBS headlined his victory with the words, “The Return to Glory.” At age 43 and 11 years since his last major victory, along with a life filled with disappointment and injury, some sports announcers are calling Tiger’s comeback one of the greatest in golfing history.
As an 11-year old boy, I remember walking the 18th hole at Pebble Beach with my father when he won the California State Championship for his handicap division. I still have the trophy handed to my father in front of the clubhouse on that day 58 years ago. What was unique about my father’s win was the fact that 9 months prior to his victory was the first time he ever held a golf club. He won the championship with a cheap set of ancient clubs he bought at a pawnshop. He was a natural.
Both Tiger and my father did something the doubters would say was not possible. I have come to realize, having walked with God for so many years, that He loves to do what seems impossible. For Tiger, he returned to former glory. For my father, he experienced golfing glory for the first time.
The glory of God is different. It is available to all believers, not just those who stand in the winner’s circle. We carry the glory of God and in some instances of life that glory will become what has been termed the manifest glory of God. This is when the glory of God is released in a tangible way during worship or in the midst of human conflict and it becomes obvious that God is present and working beyond our natural ability or our wildest imagination.
As I read the caption from CBS news about Tiger’s return to glory, I sensed the Lord speaking to me about something more than a sporting victory. We are in a moment of history when God is calling, and in some cases calling back, believers who have been written off as too failed or too fragile to be trusted with a shot at victory. While the world, and unfortunately some in the Church look only at the rising stars, God has not forgotten those who failed or were never even considered as candidates for something new.
When the glory returns, those who step forward in obedience to the call will experience unusual demonstrations of God’s presence. When this happens it will be obvious to all the glory has indeed returned.