Novak Djokovic won the longest Wimbledon final in tournament history yesterday by defeating Roger Federer in a match lasting nearly five hours. “I hope I give some people a chance to believe that at 37 it’s not over yet,” Federer said after losing the fifth set, thirteen games to twelve. “I gave it all I had and I still feel alright.”
There are times when perseverance is the only way to confront adversity. Consider two other examples in the news.
Forecasters are warning of the potential for “dangerous, life-threatening flooding” as Tropical Storm Barry continues to creep northward across Louisiana. Coast Guard helicopters rescued people stranded on rooftops while Louisiana’s National Guard deployed some three thousand soldiers around the state. More than 51,000 customers in the state are still without power this morning.
Meanwhile, New Yorkers are recovering from a massive blackout over the weekend that affected more than 72,000 Con Edison customers along thirty blocks from Times Square to the Upper West Side. The outage shut down Broadway shows and a Jennifer Lopez concert in Madison Square Garden.
After Hamilton was canceled, its cast sang from the windows of their theater to crowds on the street below. When Carnegie Hall was evacuated, the musicians moved their concert to the street outside. The cause of the outage is still under investigation this morning.
Landing on an asteroid
In a day when humans can land a spacecraft on an asteroid and cameras can automatically translate signs for travelers, it is hard to understand why we must live at the mercy of forces we cannot predict or control. But we do.
Neither Novak Djokovic nor Roger Federer deserved to lose yesterday’s magnificent Wimbledon final. Victims of the storms in Louisiana and power outages in New York City did nothing to cause their plight. You are probably dealing with challenges today you did not expect or deserve.
When we are treated unfairly, it’s only natural to blame someone. In the Garden of Eden, Adam blamed Eve, then Eve blamed the serpent (Genesis 3:12–13). When Cain killed Abel, he blamed God for his punishment (Genesis 4:13–14). The Israelites in the wilderness complained to Moses when they ran out of water (Exodus 17:1–3); Moses then complained to God (v. 4).
“You have not passed this way before”
In Seven Types of Atheism, John Gray defines an atheist as “anyone with no use for the idea of a divine mind that has fashioned the world.” Some atheists consider religion to be an erroneous hypothesis and want to deify science; others claim humans are gradually improving and have no need of a deity; still others believe that the world is nothing more than “a progress towards death.”