After navigating a successful career in corporate America, saving a restaurant chain from bankruptcy, chairing a Federal Reserve Bank, and defeating two-to-one odds against surviving stage-4 colorectal cancer, 65-year-old Herman Cain is certain that God has bigger challenges ahead.

Cain, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, recently set aside his Atlanta-based talk radio program and became the first Republican to set up an exploratory committee to take soundings for a possible run at the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. He plans to make a final decision on his candidacy sometime in the next six weeks. While speaking with Christianity Today, he said he could see a golf course from where he was sitting: “That grass is turning green, and people are going to be out there playing,” he said. “But God didn’t keep me here to go play golf, and relax, and take life easy. I believe that my life was spared because God had something really big that he wanted me to do. And that’s unfolding.”

So what gives this political newcomer—whose previous campaign experience begins and ends with a failed 2004 Senate run, and about whom The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart has only ever said three words (“love his pizza”)—the confidence to think he can stand out in a crowded primary field?

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