Love wins Match for Federer

July 2009

A Betrayal

The story I am about to tell you may seem very incredulous compared to my other miracle stories on this site because it relates to a world news-worthy event. Nevertheless, I will tell you just how it happened.

It started with my two friends (let's call them Mr & Mrs X to protect their privacy) who invited me to watch the Wimbledon Finals between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick in July 2009.

Mr X is an ex-boyfriend of mine who remained very good friends with me and my husband. Mrs X also became very good friends with me and my husband; all four of us were very good friends for many years. This may not be the norm for most people, but as Christians we always try to live at peace with everyone, regardless of the past.

My husband and I were in the process of emigrating abroad, and we had put up our house on the market. My husband has had to go ahead of me because he had to start his job there, whilst I stayed behind to sell our house. We asked Mr and Mrs X if it would be possible for me to stay with them for a few weeks after our house is sold, just to help me wrap things up before I finally leave the country. They kindly said, "yes".

The time came when our house got sold, and I asked them if I could stay with them, as planned. To my surprise the answer was "No". Apparently Mrs X had a problem with me having had a past with Mr X, so she would not have me living under the same roof as them. Even if this was understandable, I wished that she would have been upfront with me about it, and not lead me to believe I had a shelter with them. This would have given me a chance to make alternative arrangements elsewhere. But as it was, I was left in the lurch without any notice at all!

Now the family of Mr X was running a guest house, but it was pretty grotty and dirty. Out of compassion for me, Mr X decided to allocate a room there for me. I was thankful to him, but naturally I also felt very betrayed, especially by Mrs X. What was that friendship we had? Was it all fake? I felt very sad, but remembering that I should love my enemies and those who betray me, I tried to remain decent and continued to be nice to Mr and Mrs X during my last weeks in the country. At times, it was very difficult; anger and resentment would surface in my heart, but I would always try to fight them off.

A Call to Love My Enemy

That day, the day of Wimbledon 2009 finals between Federer and Roddick, Mr and Mrs X invited me to their house to watch the match on TV (it seems that even though I had not been welcomed to live in their house, I was apparently allowed to visit there :)). Knowing that the tennis match could go on for hours, I brought my embroidery work with me, so that I could embroider whilst watching the tennis match.

While embroidering, I noticed that Mrs X kept looking over at my embroidery. She had taken quite a liking to the stitching that I was doing, saying how beautiful it was, and how she wished that she knew how to do the stitch. Instantly, I knew in my heart that she wanted me to teach her, but there was no way I would do that; not after her fake (and continuing to be fake) friendship she was giving me. Then, I felt God spoke to my heart saying,

"Teach her..."

I was shocked and surprise at this. Feeling all justified, I talked back to God and said,

"No way, God! No way, she has been horrible to me!! They have put me in a grotty, moldy, guest house - they don't love me, so why should I love her enough to teach her embroidery?!"

Of course, on the outside, I just kept smiling at her and continued with my embroidery (I suppose I was now the one faking the friendship back :)).

A moment later, God's voice said to me again,

"Teach her..."

Again, I talked back to God saying, "No!"

God's voice kept repeating inside my heart, telling me to teach her, until finally I gave in - saying,

"OK God, I will do it FOR YOU because I have no reason to do it for me, or for her!"

I forced myself to teach her that embroidery stitch that she loved so much. Her face brightened with smiles, she was so happy, so very happy that she finally got to learn that beautiful stitch. She practiced it in front of me until she got it right. I saw the happiness on her face which pained me, but all I could say in my heart was, "I did this for you God, and I did this for you because I wanted to be obedient to your command of loving my enemies".

A Powerful Prayer

The tennis match was still going. It was the 5th and final set which could only end with a difference of two games. The score was going 0-1, 1-1, 1-2, 2-2, 2-3, 3-3, 3-4, 4-4, and so on. Roddick and Federer were going hard at it; both men fighting at equal strength. As this could go on for hours, I decided to go home as I had ironing to do, and excused myself from the company of Mr & Mrs X.

I got home and started ironing, but I also continued to watch the match on my little TV. Federer and Roddick were still at it, fighting it out. The score was now up to 12-12, 12-13, 13-13, 13-14, 14-14. Wow, that's quite a lot of games!

Now, I favoured Federer because I wanted him to win his 15th grand slam to exceed Sampras' record of 14 grand slams. Then suddenly, a thought came to my mind,

"Why not pray for Federer to win?"

So I knelt down to pray, and this was the essence of my prayer:

"Lord, today I did a difficult thing of loving my enemy, Mrs X, by teaching her how to do that embroidery stitch that she loved. It was hard, but I did it for you, I did it to be obedient to you. I have honoured you in this way. Now I would like to pray for Federer to win. This win means a lot to him because it would mean he would exceed Sampras' grand slam record. My prayer is not for myself, but for someone who doesn't even know me. I do ask this in Jesus' name, Amen".

After my prayer, I continued ironing, and continued watching the tennis. The score was now showing 14-15 in Federer's favour. I tell you the truth, seconds after my prayer, Federer started to win a point, then another, and another. Then right before my eyes, he had won the match! That row of points meant he won the game, set, match, and championship.. WOW... WOW.. GOD!!! God how awesome...!!

I knelt down, and cried.

I cried, not because Federer had won (although I was happy about that), but because God had honoured me back by answering my prayer! I truly believe that God had used that Tennis match to show me the power of being obedient to His command of loving my enemy. Had I not prayed for Federer to win, the game would have continued at equal strength - after all, it went on like that for hours whilst I was at Mr & Mrs X's house, and all the while I was ironing. God knew I was going to pray for Federer long before I knew. That was why He kept the match going for hours and hours, so that when I came to pray about it, He could show me His power in answering my prayer.

Moral of the Story

Love, love on purpose those who betray you, those who hurt you! By doing so you are honouring God and are being obedient to His command of loving your enemies. Since God never wants to owe anybody anything, if you were to honour Him, then He will honour you back; and He would do so quickly!

Matthew 5:43-48

43“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Mark 11:24-25

24Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Exodus 20:24

Wherever I cause my name to be honoured, I will come to you and bless you.

The picture above shows the very final second of the match. You can see on the score board; it went to 14-15; 40-A (Advantage Federer). In the final point, the ball hit Roddick's racket at a bizarre angle, and flew off the screen. It looked almost supernatural.

And just in case, you thought Roddick was disadvantaged in this story, I am certain that God would have blessed him in another way; with a blessing that would have outweighed winning this tennis match. And this is only because God is a just God.

May this story bless you, just as it had blessed me (and Federer too, though he never knew it :))

© Elma Larsen. All rights reserved.