Long-time readers of this blog, (hi, Mom!) know that I play tennis on the weekends with my friend Sharon. Previous posts have mentioned how we pray throughout the match. We do this because:
A) We’re Godly women who talk to Jesus all day long, and/or
B) We are much too busy to actually practice.
My theory is this – if both teams are roughly equal in fitness and skill, but ONE of the teams is praying constantly for help, then that just might make up the difference. Usually I pray for help on points, that my serve will go in, etc. but I’m not above pointing out how our opponents are cussing, seemingly hungover, or are looking really cute in their expensive Nike outfits which proves they are obviously vain and hate the poor.
Last year it didn’t work so well. In fact, we only won ONE match and when our team still somehow made the playoffs, it came down to us and we LOST. I’m not sure why, but for some reason they invited us back and it’s been a much better year. Like, UNDEFEATED, better. So when we made the playoffs again, I was feeling confident.
Side note: Here’s how playoffs work. Each team has five doubles partnerships, ranked from 1 (the best) to 5 (the worst) and the team that wins 3 of the 5 matches wins. It can be the 1s, 2s and 3s or any combination. When I got to the match on Sunday, our 1s were losing, and they were followed quickly by the 2s. Okay, not a big deal. Sure I now HAD to win, but as I mentioned, we were undefeated and what are the chances that it would come down to me and Sharon again?
Pretty good, as it turns out. Our 3s won in a 3rd set tiebreaker, and our 5s won easily in 2 sets. Sharon and I? Well, we were up 3 – 0 in the first set, when somehow the other team took over and won it 6-4. Gulp. Not that I was REALLY concerned. I’d been praying, “3s, 4s, and 5s, Lord” over and over from the moment I stepped on the court. Sharon was praying hard as well. At one point she hit a great shot and when I complimented her, she said “It was Jesus.” Then later when I hit a good shot, she said “I know THAT was Jesus.” She doesn’t just know her Savior’s voice, she knows His backhand!
But as I watched our 3s walk off their court as winners, and I saw that our 5s were winning easily, I realized that yes, once again it would come down to us, and I started worry. Before I knew it, we were down in the 2nd set, 5-2! Since we’d lost the first set, we were only one game away from losing the whole thing! What the what? Couldn’t Jesus hear us praying? Then it hit me. See, we weren’t playing in a subdivision, or at the local park, we were playing at a church. On the crossover, I asked, “So, do you just play out of here, or do you actually go to this church? You probably just play here, right?” But, no. THEY ACTUALLY WENT TO THE CHURCH! Somehow I hadn’t planned for this contingency! Now what? Well, if you’re anything like me, you start to whine. My prayers went from “3s, 4s, and 5s, Lord” to “Why do you have to keep HUMBLING me over and over like this?”
Oh ye of little faith and the unreliable backhand.
Somehow my partner won her serve and the score was 5-3. Our opponents served for the match and suddenly we were at match point. Which Sharon and I won. Then they had match point again. Which Sharon and I won. Then we won the game. Then the next one. And the next one. And the NEXT. From down 5-2 and two match points to winning the 2nd set 7-5!
Since we split sets, our opponents took a break to visit the restrooms, grab a banana, and stall as long as possible to halt our momentum. Sharon and I weren’t having any of it. We stayed out on the court, hitting the ball to keep warm and basically acting like we were in the finals of the US Open. Finally, our opponents came back and we played the 3rd set.
Which Sharon and I WON, 6-2. We WON.
We might have gotten a little excited.
If you replaced the two Olympic athletes with a pair of pudgy, middle-aged women, it would look exactly the same.
Our team went wild. We, the pair that lost it for everyone last year, came through in dramatic fashion and we go on next week to continue the fight.
On the way to the beach last week, my friend Keekle played a bit of a Louie Giglio podcast called The Comeback. He was talking about Lazarus, who as you know, DIED. To most people that’d be a real setback, but as the story shows, you never know what the Lord will do. So next time you find yourself in a desperate situation, remember Lazarus, or my tennis story cause either one would probably work.
Now you know why He has to humble me over and over.