Americans love winners. However, there can be a heavy cost in becoming the best. The road to becoming a winner is long and the journey can be stressful both physically and mentally.

Sports comes to mind as an activity where highly competitive men and women of all ages strive to be the best. Whether it’s running in a marathon or playing on a ball team, certain individuals aspire to be the first-place finisher, the most valuable player or the very best athlete in their field. Is there a secret to being the best?

Last year fans of Loyola University-Chicago men’s basketball team believed the secret to winning was in the prayers of a nun who served as the team chaplain. Prayer for victory is not uncommon.

A sportswriter’s words caught my attention recently when he said that “on the hallowed greens of Augusta, where Tiger Woods as a black man would not have been allowed membership in the exclusive Augusta Golf Club of relatively few years earlier, history had been made.” What was not mentioned in the news story was that Earl Woods, Tiger’s father, once said he prayed that his son would someday win the Masters and coveted green jacket. This was a missed opportunity to acknowledge the father’s belief that God has a lot to do with winning.

On Sunday, April 14, 2019, Tiger Woods was back in Augusta and again won the green jacket. But the question on the minds of many was different from the thoughts people had when he was a newly emerged phenom.  Based on his past struggles in life, most people wondered if his successful comeback would be overshadowed by stories of infidelity, a DUI arrest and his physical ailments that impacted his play. However, when Tiger stood victorious on the 18th hole hugging his mother and two children, the answered prayers of the late Earl Woods were on full display.

The pursuit of becoming the best in any activity can be fascinating but there can be downfalls. It can monopolize our attention to the point that we are scarcely allowed time for God to develop in us great character. It may keep your adrenaline pumping and temporarily make you feel and look important, but becoming the best absent of the direction of God can be the enemy of your soul. It can rob you of spiritual growth by preventing you from reflecting and examining your heart. So, have a balanced prayerful life! And Never Give Up! Never Give Up! Never Give Up!

 

By Chaplain Ghosten
chaplain@lhp.net