Thursday, July 03, 2008

Game, Set and Match

I guess I always knew that when Andy Murray came up against Nadal in the quarter finals at Wimbledon, he had hit a brick wall and gone as far as he could. Nadal was unstoppable. The man is strong and fast and determined to win.

The interviewer after the game made the point that Nadal is just one year older and is going to be playing the same tournaments as Andy over the next few years. The bottom line was – “Why bother? Nadal is always going to be there! You can’t beat him!”

Murray gave a really wise answer. Nadal last year was beatable. Over the year he had improved his game, addressed his weaknesses, improved his strengths and he was a better player. There is always natural talent – but on top of that there is training and discipline and hard work. If Nadal could do that in a year – then so could Murray!

Commentators have not been slow to talk about the changes in Murray’s game. I read an interesting article on the “nicification” of Andy Murray, of how the Murray camp have made him much more appealing to the British public – not loud, or abrasive, dragged a cute puppy into the picture and placed the pretty girlfriend on display. But ignore all of that – what matters is what happens on the court. His serves are faster and stronger. He has worked out in the gym to build up stamina and strength. He is doing what Nadal did! He is looking at the weakness of his game and doing something about them.

I have just been reading through chapters 10, 11 and 12 of Joshua. It reads like a Wimbledon tennis tournament – imagine Joshua as Nadal relentlessly marching through all the rounds, wiping out the opposition with powerful serves and magnificent returns. Unstoppable no matter the size and the experience of the man on the other side of the net.

What makes the victory sure for Joshua is not all the hard work that he has put into the training of his men, though I dare say they haven’t sat around on their backsides all day, is his unswerving obedience to God. God has said that He has given the nations into Joshua’s hand. He has stepped on the necks of his enemies and has been told that victory is his every time. Joshua takes God at His word and claims the victories one after another, even to the extent of demanding that God stops the sun in its tracks to give him time to finish the fight! And God does – because He sees His heart reflected in Joshua’s own.

I am trying to picture my foot on the neck of my enemy – and to hold that picture in my head, so that the times when I serve a double fault in life, or surrender a set point to the opposition, or miss the volley – I do not lose the sense that victory is mine in the end.

No comments: