Sent by : Jonathan Goeij
Michael’s testimony for Jesus Christ both on and off the court is quite evident. "I thank the Lord Jesus Christ," he proclaimed in 1989 after becoming the youngest male to ever win the French Open, "because without Him, I am nothing." Whether win or lose, he readily gives glory to the Lord, for it is the Lord who gave Michael the talent to play tennis. In this section, Michael responds to the reader’s questions and comments about Christianity.
How did you become a Christian?
I became a Christian in 1988. At 15 years of age, I was doing a lot of searching. I think at that particular age, at least for me, you’re wondering about things like the meaning of life and you’re really trying to find yourself. I just had a lot of questions. My grandparents had given me a Bible and they wanted me to read it everyday. On this one particular evening I didn’t have anything else to do so I decided to take a good look at myBible and see what it had to say. I looked at the index in the back and found that it covered all these different subjects. So I looked up subjects like friendship and love and found the Bible to be very true, very pure, in a way in which I wanted to live my life. From then on I began reading about the Lord’s life and His love for all people. Eventually, I accepted Him as my Lord and Savior.
How does God help you on the Tour?
I think there’s a confidence knowing that everything is in God’s hands. I see so many things happening in my life and I know that they aren’t just mere coincidences. I know that the Lord loves me, that He looks out for me and that He will always be with me and walk with me. It just brings me a great deal of satisfaction and comfort to know that no matter what happens, He will always take care of me.
I’ve also learned that the Lord only asks that you go and you give your best for Him. I think it’s very easy to get very frustrated sometimes. There are times when you go out, you try your best and for some people, it’s just not good enough. Yet, I feel that God has given me this wonderful talent of playing tennis. I realize that I would not be where I am in tennis without the Lord, without Him giving me the strength to be able to do what I do. What’s nice is that, as long as my priorities are set and my priorities are straight, I’m able to go out with the mentality to really leave the winning and losing up to the Lord. You know, when you give your best, it’s all He asks of you, it’s all you can ask of yourself and it’s really all people can ask of you. I think that life is really too short to be so caught up in the things of the world. Just go out and give your best. To me that’s pretty simple.
How do you pray on the Tour? Do you pray to win?
I usually pray with whoever is with me on the Tour, whether that be Carl and Diana, my parents, or my trainer, Ken. We say a prayer before every match. We don’t pray to win. We pray that our priorities are straight and that the Lord will shine through us and give us the strength and the peace to do His work and to do His will. We also pray that our actions and our words would be used to glorify Him.
What are your prayer requests?
I’ve been so blessed to have so many people praying for me. The power of prayer is something that is very underestimated. It is just incredibly powerful.
Hopefully, I’ll pray and the people who are praying for me will pray that I will keep Him close to my heart and that I will walk closely with Him so that I won’t stray. It’s important for me to be able to go out and be focused, to keep my eyes upon the Lord and not get caught up in the money or the fame or the rankings or for winning particular tournaments. I mean, granted, those things are important to some degree, but they really don’t compare to touching people’s lives in a Christ-like way. They really don’t compare to being able to encourage someone in the Lord, because that is really what lasts a lifetime and even beyond. So for me, I think it’s important to stay close to the Lord.