My daughter says I overthink everything. She is right.
I watched Tiger Woods walk through the throngs of adoring fans this past Sunday. Thousands were lined up along the fairway to get a glimpse of greatness. Restrained by golf etiquette, for the most part, they held back their cheers as the other competitors took their turns. But immediately following Tiger’s swing, the applause would erupt and flow down the gallery. I was mesmerized by the scene as he approached the 18th green and the tension escalated with every step. I could feel the desperation of the crowd through my tiny iPhone screen. They wanted Tiger to win. They needed him to win.
I realized I was watching this event on Palm Sunday, and the coincidence was almost too much for my overthinking self.
What if he didn’t win? What if he choked and hit the ball into the crowd? I almost couldn’t watch, but I had to know how this story would end.
The finish was one of those beautiful moments that highlights the best of humanity. After battling years of personal and physical struggles, Tiger had the courage to compete against golfers half his age -young men he had inspired to play the game many years ago. When the last putt placed his ball safely in the hole, he rejoiced with a clenched fist full of relief and satisfaction, quickly followed by hands in the air and roars of victory!
The crowd went wild and I was tearing up for a man I’ll never meet. I was tearing up for wildest dreams and greatest hopes fulfilled. What a great story.
I want fairy tales to come true. I want all the good things and the happy ending every time. I want a Palm Sunday Savior with adoring crowds lining the street and cheers of victory. “Hosanna in the highest! Hosanna in the highest!”
If I am honest, I don’t like the bloody beating and savage murder of my Lord. It churns my stomach to think of his flogging. I hate everything about the nails piercing his flesh and his wounded, bleeding, naked body being hoisted up onto a cross to die a horrible death as onlookers cheer.
If I could edit the Gospel story, it would end on Palm Sunday. Jesus would ride through the adoring crowds on the donkey and soak up all the love. As he approaches the town of Jerusalem, a portal to Heaven would open and He would transform into Revelation Jesus with “eyes like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems” (Revelation 19:12 ESV). His donkey would morph into a magnificent white horse and an army of angels would appear to escort him to his throne in Heaven.
My depraved, overthinking mind would change the ending and condemn us all to hell forever.
The mystery and incomprehensible beauty of the Gospel is that it had to happen the way it happened. The story had to unfold as the coming of the Messiah was foretold in Isaiah hundreds of years earlier. He had to bleed and die to save us. Our sin required nothing less than perfect blood poured out.
As I look towards Resurrection Sunday, I am more grateful than ever for what happened on Good Friday. As hard as it is for my depraved mind to understand, His story is the perfect story.
There have been so many times over the past 1,305 days that I hated my own story. I wanted a magical pen to rewrite it. I relived a thousand moments and wanted them to be better. I would be a better mother and better person if I could just do it over.
Then one ordinary morning, as I rolled the “what ifs” and “whys” around in my head like I had done so many times, wondering why it happened the way it happened, I believe God gently spoke to my spirit: l don’t owe you anything.
He doesn’t owe me anything, yet He has given me everything.
My grieving changed that day. I had given lip service to being grateful for the nineteen years I had with my son, but in that moment, I genuinely felt it. I am deeply, deeply grateful for his life and my time with him. Of course, I would choose to have him here with me if I could, but that is not my story to write.
So thank you, Tiger, for winning the Masters and making me overthink on Palm Sunday. I hope it will help prepare my heart to remember the suffering on Good Friday that had to happen so we can rejoice and celebrate Resurrection Sunday.
And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.”
Matthew 28:2-6 ESV