Devotional: November 28th
I can't remember if it was Buck Owens or George Jones who used to sing the song, but one of those two had a hit some twenty-five or so years ago with a little tune called, "I've Got a Tiger by the Tail." The basic gist is that the singer was in a situation that was about to turn around and eat him up. You don't hold a wild animal at bay by holding their tail. Rookie PGA golfer, Nathan Green, didn't have a tiger by the tale over the weekend but he did have a Tiger on his tail.
Going into the final round of the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines near Sand Diego, California, Green had a piece of the fifty-four hole lead with just one round to go. Tiger Woods, the number one ranked golfer in the world was right behind him. On the thirteenth hole of the final round Green hit his approach shot from around one hundred and thirty yards right into the cup for an eagle on the par four hole. That put him at eleven under par and two strokes ahead of a gaggle of men at nine under, Woods included.
There's something about being stalked by a Tiger, especially one as famous for closing as is Woods. By the end of the last round Green, Woods and veteran Jose Maria Olazabal (that's pronounced ole-uh-THAH-ball and yes it is a man) were all tied at ten under par. Green had relinquished a couple of shots over the last few holes while Woods and the cagey Spaniard continued to press their advantage. In that final round, Green and Woods had been in different groups and had not played with each other the entire weekend. Now it was a sudden death playoff with the rookie no longer being stalked but having to face the Tiger on his own turf.
In the face of head-to-head competition, Green wilted in the heat of the pressure. He lost rather unremarkably on the replay of the eighteenth hole. One announcer for the tournament made the comment that that was what happens when you let Tiger catch you. The pressure becomes too much as you realize you now have to face the number one golfer in the world on his terms. Woods went on to win on the next playoff hole as Olazabal missed a highly makeable putt. The Tiger even got him. So what's behind you trying to overtake you? What is trying to catch up to you and win over you?
In the gospel of Luke, two disciples of the Lord are on their way back to Emmaus following the terrible events of the weekend in which their precious Jesus had been crucified. They were without hope and despairing from the experience. Little did they know that hope was catching up with them and was about to overtake them, not to beat them but to bless them. In Luke's narrative (Luke 24:13-35), Jesus details the need for the Christ to die according to the prophecies. Their final understanding was at their supper table as Jesus joined them and took the bread to bless it. Then they saw the scars. Then they recognized the Lord. Sometimes what is trying to overtake us in our lives is a Savior who has been left behind and simply wishes to bless us.
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