In my sophomore year of high school, I switched from the basketball team to the tennis team. I had a lot of catching up to do compared to my teammates who’d been swinging rackets since they were little girls. I didn’t even know the rules of the game! My devoted dad took me to the courts and ran drills with me. I was so aggravated with his topspin tricks! But I ended up in the number one doubles spot and even received a scholarship to play in college.
It is impossible to calculate the many things my father has taught me. He has coached me in sports activities, musical moments, and of course, he has been highly influential in helping me build my faith. For all of life and for all of my life, Dad has been there, educating, cheering, and praying. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t cover me in prayer. I remember when he taught me how to drive at the county fairgrounds. Perhaps that’s when his prayers really took off!
Recently, Dad was watching me play tennis with my daughters. He stepped up to the net and fed me a few balls. He is 84 now and is sometimes unstable on his feet. We didn’t play long before we both knew he should stop. As he turned to put the racket down and I walked to the back of the court to gather balls, I realized, “This is probably the last time I will play tennis with my daddy.”
Last times are hard. Often we don’t know when they are taking place. But there are poignant flashes when we’re keenly aware that we are enjoying a moment for the last time and we must say farewell to something precious. I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for my earthly father. What an example the one has been of the Other. As I enter a painful season of last times, I’m counting on two things: the Lord holds all my last times in His sovereign hands, and there will be tennis courts in Heaven.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven… (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
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