“Step follows step,
Hope follows Courage,
Set your face towards danger,
Set your heart on victory.” ~ Gail Carson Levine
Author’s note: If you are a new reader just joining this story, click here for part one.
After winning a surprising first set, but losing a disappointing second set (when they had a match point), the brothers were down 2 games to 5 in the third set and they both privately thought that the match was over. They were going to lose the most likely chance they had to make it into the State Championships–something no other doubles team from their high school had ever done! For those of you unfamiliar with tennis and its complex scoring, to be down 2-5 in the 3rd set is just not good (kind of like being down 35 points in the fourth quarter of a football game and your team needs to score 5 touchdowns and the other team none). The boys needed to win the next five (!) games in a row. One floor up from the spectator perch I burned calories pacing and played mental games between belief and doubt, but I never gave up praying…
In my last post I established that victory can wreck us if we only focus on the result without remembering what it takes to get there. No one experiences the thrill of true triumph without plenty of previous defeats. I think it’s a fault of ours and a huge temptation to see another’s life with rose colored glasses while viewing our own with blurred, doubtful vision.
My purpose in continuing to write about my two sons, their recent fight into the Washington state championships, and the journey we’ve taken as a family to get there, comes from a burning passion to SEE YOU fight for victory in your own life! This is God’s purpose in winning; stories of triumph should bring hope and a reason to persevere.
Have you given up on victory?
Although there is never a “one-size-fits-all” answer to individual accomplishment, today I want to bring a biblical perspective and parallel to the brothers recent win when the odds were stacked against them. May this provide direction and strength to return fighting your own battles. They may not be on the tennis court. Your battle may not be physical but mental. But regardless of the situation our first, middle, and final action must be this:
2 Samuel 5:17-25 (NLT)
David Conquers the Philistines
17 When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king of Israel, they mobilized all their forces to capture him. But David was told they were coming, so he went into the stronghold. 18 The Philistines arrived and spread out across the valley of Rephaim. 19 So David asked the Lord, “Should I go out to fight the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?”
The Lord replied to David, “Yes, go ahead. I will certainly hand them over to you.”
20 So David went to Baal-perazim and defeated the Philistines there. “The Lord did it!” David exclaimed. “He burst through my enemies like a raging flood!” So he named that place Baal-perazim (which means “the Lord who bursts through”). 21 The Philistines had abandoned their idols there, so David and his men confiscated them.
22 But after a while the Philistines returned and again spread out across the valley of Rephaim. 23 And again David asked the Lord what to do. “Do not attack them straight on,” the Lord replied. “Instead, circle around behind and attack them near the poplar[a] trees. 24 When you hear a sound like marching feet in the tops of the poplar trees, be on the alert! That will be the signal that the Lord is moving ahead of you to strike down the Philistine army.” 25 So David did what the Lord commanded, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon[b] to Gezer.
What could the brothers have done when they were down 2-5 in the third set?
What could we do when our battle seems too big and we’ve run out of energy and hope for a future victory?
We could mentally, physically and emotionally give up. We could panic and consult our own human resources. Or we could do what King David did–pray!
“David asked the Lord” (v. 19) and God guided him.
In the above story, David had to fight two battles–one at Baal Perazim and one at the Valley of Rephaim. The brothers have had more than two battles–not only match after match to get to this last one before victory–but the battle of their minds and their relationship. Tennis is a mind game and then add the added pressure of blood relatives? Well…as I wrote in the first post about my boys, that mix could have gone sour.
Good thing they chose to consult God first and foremost.
Good thing they continued to built one another up and give what the other needed.
There were moments when I saw that resolve about to bounce off like a ball out of play. I was nervous at the change in temperature, even if for just a moment. Carter was close to attacking little brother and Davis was getting flat on his lethargic feet, but they never fully chose to “go back.” Point after point they chose what was working and the end result was that they played out of their minds! The two hit shots and served like I’d never seen. They found the net and instead of hanging back they began to attack.
The two used strategy and composure to win points, but their momentum also felt supernatural. The brothers played beyond themselves. This reminds me of how David’s two battles were won.
In the first one, God won through His power alone: “The Lord did it” David exclaimed (v.20). For the next one, God gave David a strategy (vv.23-25).
Have you consulted the Lord recently over your battle?
Do you believe that He can work supernaturally in your story too?
Have you developed a strategy for the battle?
Have confidence in His guidance. Then, whether your victory comes through His miraculous intervention or through His ability to guide the skill and talent you bring to the fight, all glory in the end goes to a faithful Father.
This proud mama will get off the “2 brothers playing tennis” soupbox for now. Our boys don’t play in the State championships until May. They will have months to practice and improve on their game, or they may allow life to squeeze out the time for that. We’ll see… But in the mean time, a great victory was won in our family–the greatest of which–God was with us and the brothers were with each other…all the way to the final point.