Naomi Osaka is the #1 female tennis player in the world, becoming Japan’s first #1 player. Her road was not easy. Her father is black and born in Haiti. Naomi’s mother was supposed to marry a Japanese man in an arranged marriage. However, she met Leonard in New York while studying and against her families wishes, they were married.
Being biracial in Japan is not popular. One in 50 births is to interracial couples today, and that is considered huge growth. Most biracial Japanese individuals suffer from discrimination. One man said that just getting on the bus is like being a museum, the way people look at him.
Don’t give up
The Bible says a lot about perseverance, about not giving up. Yeshua challenged His disciples who fell asleep, “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” Proverbs says, “If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!” (Proverbs 24:10)
Saturday afternoon, I remembered that the Australian Open Finals were on. I looked at the clock and realized it might be over. I turned on the television and saw that Naomi Osaka was about to win. She had three match points in front of her.
However, the stage was too big. She gave into the nervousness—she choked—and lost three straight points. No worries—she would serve now (in tennis, you are supposed to win when you serve) and close out the match. But she didn’t; she lost the game. Now, they were tied, and the older, more experienced opponent won the next two games and the set.
She lost it!
Now, there would be a third and final set. But Naomi was undone. She was slamming her tennis racket, yelling at herself. She had lost all composure and was about to lose the championship. Then again, she is one of the youngest players ever to play for the Grand Slam championship. What did people expect?
However, somewhere between those two sets, she found her calm. She got control of her emotions. In the third set, she expressed no emotion; it didn’t matter whether she won or lost a point. You are not allowed to be coached during a match, so somehow, this young lady, fresh out of her teens, understood the importance of being in control of her emotions.
After losing the first game, Naomi steamrolled her opponent and won the last set 6-3. Only once, after she won the final point did she allow herself to emote—to express joy. It was amazing to watch.
Sleeping through Tragedy
You do understand that I am not talking about tennis, but life. Jesus and disciples were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee when a storm erupted. The disciples thought they were going to die. Yeshua was napping. Yes, on a small boat in the middle of a life-threatening storm, the Messiah was catching up on some “Zzzzs”. Now, that is composure.
Daniel was thrown into a lions’ den. Joseph was sold into slavery. King David had to run for his life for more than a decade. Life will throw some difficult situations your way. If you don’t have the ability to trust God, you can crumble. Certainly, the disciples did in the storm. But look at that same crew a few years later, as they stood boldly, under arrest, before the Sanhedrin. There was no panic or fear.
Composure. Controlling your emotions. Not losing your temper…all these things will help you find the grace of God when you are under attack or going through a trial. God is in control. That is all we need to know.
This article originally appeared on Messiah’s Mandate, February 8, 2019, and reposted with permission.