The perfect doubles partner
"For the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard." Isaiah 52:12
It’s Wimbledon season! There’s something lovely about the start of Wimbledon. It’s a sign that the summer is truly here (even if it often rains!). I’m not a tennis expert, but one of my favourite types of match to watch at Wimbledon is doubles, where two players play a match against another two players. It’s so quick and exciting having 4 players on the court. But the thing I like the most is watching the teamwork between each of the players in the pair. They do these special, secret communications about where they are going to serve the ball to ensure they are both in tune with each other. If you watch a match for long enough you can start to decode them. Then if they score a point they rejoice together, and if they lose a point they encourage each other to get back in the game. Then there is the way they anticipate each other’s moves from hours and hours of training together. But what I really love is the way they have each other’s backs. If one player can see that the other won’t reach the ball in time, they rush forward to help. Or sometimes they even let a ball pass by if they know that the other player is in a better position. At its best, doubles tennis is really lovely to watch, as the players work together, committed to one another and committed to winning the match.
As I was watching a doubles match a couple of years ago it occurred to me that this is the kind of beautiful relationship we can have with Jesus. If I look back through my life I can see so many times when Jesus has run forward to hit a ball that I was definitely going to miss, and so many times when He has encouraged me when I’ve got it wrong to help me get back in the game, or rejoiced with me when something has gone well. The more time I spend with Him, the more I’m able to hear those quiet nudges to tell me the best thing to do, and the more I’m able to see what He is doing.
In Isaiah, there is this wonderful image of God going before the Israelites, but also being their rearguard, protecting them from attacks from behind. Like a good doubles tennis player, God is wherever He needs to be to help the person He is playing alongside.
If you get a spare five minutes to watch a little doubles tennis, why not take a moment to reflect on how Jesus is your doubles partner: totally committed to you, and to the goal of winning the battle.
Photo by Julian Schiemann on Unsplash