September 14, 2009


Happy Monday! I'm posting at Exemplify Online today. You can read the rest of my devotion there.

She’s 17 years old, blonde and adorable. But beneath her girl-next-door exterior lives a determined fighter who wields her weapon with finesse and power. In a manner reminiscent of David and Goliath this virtual unknown slayed giant after giant during the last two weeks.

Her name? Melanie Oudin. Her weapon? A Wilson K Blade Tour racket. The arena? Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, NY. If you haven’t heard of her…you will.

This fresh-faced young American said her goal during the summer was to play well enough to rank in the top 100 so she wouldn’t have to qualify as a wild card for the US Open. By tournament time she ranked 67. Yet even with that impressive accomplishment, it still left her a loooong way from the rarefied air of the seeded players. A peon in the locker room.

By the second match it seemed Melanie’s US Open dreams were about to end as she faced the fourth seeded player. Just like King Saul said to puny David, logic/statistics/experience/common sense told Melanie, “You are not able to go out against these top players and fight them; you are only a girl, and they have been winning majors from their youth.” (ref.1 Samuel 17:33)

But you know what? She didn’t listen to any of that. And she won. And then she won again and again and again. Four top-seeded players dismantled and sent home.
How did she do it? Training and hard work to be sure, but tennis is too mental a game for that to be enough. Instead she lived the motto on her signature yellow and pink sneakers: Believe. “For me, it’s all about that. It’s believing that I can beat these girls and hang there with them,” she said. “If I didn’t have that, then there's no way I would have been able to win (here).”

So often in our Christian journey, we feel like David in a sea of Goliaths. We look around and feel we don’t measure up. Our giants have more experience, more power, more eloquence and more Bible knowledge. They pray better, sing better, lead better and write better.

We may feel a divine nudge or hear a small voice, but we allow logic, experience or common sense to tell us we can’t—or shouldn’t.

The apostle Paul coaches the Ephesians against such a mindset, “I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead…” (1:19-20a NLT, emphasis mine)

You and I may never play in a professional sports tournament, incite a media frenzy or become a household name, but we can rise to the extraordinary. The key to our success lies not in our own hard work, expert training or fine pedigree, but in our belief of the very One who raised Jesus from the grave. Paul says this incomparable power is available for all who believe God at His word. Imagine that?! This concept is so foreign to our nature it’s tough to grasp, but when we do, we can be assured victories beyond our wildest dreams—with consequences that far outlast any silver trophy.

We can also be assured that when God calls us to the playing field, He will equip us with what all we need. In my case, I hope that includes a cute pair of yellow and pink tennis sneakers.


Sue J. said...

"We may feel a divine nudge or hear a small voice, but we allow logic, experience or common sense to tell us we can’t—or shouldn’t....Paul says this incomparable power is available for all who believe God at His word."

We had a worship ministry mini-retreat over the weekend, and this very issue was at the heart of our discussion of recruitment. Why can't we get more people involved in ministry? Because of doubt, fear, the "I can'ts".

We may brainstorm ideas to remedy the situation. But, in the end, we know that what will speak to them will be the personal invitation to the heart that reaches out with God's incomparable power for those who believe.

Not hard to see your passion for God and tennis here! Really tight exciting writing, regardless of your shoe color!!

Dan said...

One of my favorite stories about Kelli....
When she and I were first dating, Kelli showed an interest in learning to play tennis, which I was only too happy to hear since I was playing a lot myself at the time. So, we went to the courts at the apartment complex where she lived at the time and I tried to show her the basics, at least to the extent I could. She was raw, but showed a lot of desire and solid athletic moves.
We worked on basic forehand technique for awhile, laughed as she sprayed backhands all over the county and discussed approach shots. Then, I put her at the net to try some volley returns while I stood at the baseline, feeding shots. This opened my eyes - normally, beginning players have a real hard time at net...reaction time is cut in half, the stroke is completely different than groundies and there's less of your opponent's court to work with. But, Kelli looked solid from the start. So, being the gentle teacher that I am (regular followers of this blog, please reference "Buck up, little camper.") I began dialing up the heat, hitting progressively harder shots.
Then, it happened...she returned a ball sharply - and directly into my wheelhouse. I couldn't resist...nature ate nurture for lunch...and I simply DRILLED the return...directly at her chest. And, here's the thing - she sidestepped the missile, stabbed at it and missed...but DID NOT FLINCH!
I was smitten. She was clearly "the one."
Ah, young love!

Sue J. said...

And now it's Deuce, sometimes advantage-Dan, sometimes advantage-Kelli, but it always comes back to Deuce. Sweet story, and now I see where the innocent jabbing originated. (Way to stab those volleys, Kelli!)

Cheryl Barker said...

Enjoyed Dan's story :)

Kelly (kelly, kelly) said...


Such a great, GREAT message. God has a plan for each and every one of, why wouldn't he equip us with the tools (knowledge, strength, etc) to be what he wants us to be?

We just need to believe.

Irritable Mother said...

The last line, about the sneakers?
You crack me up, Kelli!