It was a set-up!

chess-2489553_1920I don’t play Chess.  That is to say, I know the basic rules, but like football, there are more intricacies than I care to ponder.  What little I know, however, helps me to appreciate those that really are quite adept at the game. 

As I understand it, the goal is to capture the opponent’s king.  Period.  That’s the goal.  It doesn’t matter how many pieces you have left when that king bows to your strategic prowess.  It doesn’t matter which piece gets the king; even a pawn can do that!  Every piece has a specific function and, yes, there are sacrifices to be made along the way.  It’s all a challenge, not of chance, but of resiliently setting up the next move, anticipating each opportunity, and patiently allowing the plan to unfold. 

I imagine true chess masters can also recognize the strategy of their opponent.  They’ve seen this move before, and won’t allow the trap to entangle them. 

A comment that I’ve not quite been able to live down from one of our family reunions was when I asked if anyone would like to play a “quick game of Chess”, not wholly unlike asking for a quick game of Monopoly.  Such a thing does not exist, (unless you’re playing with me, I suppose.)

Hmmmm….

Patience in life is not one of our culturally intrinsic qualities.  Spiritually, however, it is a must.  I love God’s “suddenlies”, His intervening grace when what I’ve been praying for happens “above and beyond all I can ask or imagine”.  Like when Peter was miraculously released from prison and was left standing to knock on the door of the praying disciples.  Or when the Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles as the same Peter was in the middle of his discourse to them about Jesus.  Or the initial “Light, be!” in Genesis chapter one.

Yeah, those are nice.

Unfortunately, I’m not quite so great concerning God’s “set ups”.  I want to mentally and emotionally check things off my prayer list a little faster than seems to be happening in my very linear timeline and limited perspective.  There are relationships I desperately want restored.  There are needs I don’t see being met.

Then I remember: the goal is the king.  And I’m not a mere pawn, but a servant, with moves in the game that are assigned to me specifically.  I cannot do what a knight or a rook or a queen can do, but I can be part of the set up for the end result, protecting my King and going after the opponent’s. 

And, importantly, allowing myself to be moved, empowered, guided by the Master, regardless of personal sacrifice in the interest of the Goal, will require learning to hear Him more acutely.  That is my foremost strategy.

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

My second is tenacity.  As much as I would love a sudden “checkmate” on my formidable enemy, my Master has other things in mind that by necessity must be set up.  I may not (probably won’t) see or understand what He is doing in the present tense, but that does not preclude my responsibility to hang in there. 

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”

chess-2776289_1920The game isn’t over yet.

Your move.

John 10:27; Galatians 6:9 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“I’m Number 2! I’m Number 2!” (or 3, or 10…)

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Ever wonder what the big deal is about big deals?  As I “chronologically expand” and the world morally shrinks, I’m liking obscurity more and more.  Nobody in politics needs to know my name, Hollywood’s not interested in any hidden talent in my house, and I certainly don’t need my face plastered on some billboard.  No awards.  No accolades.  No name recognition.

May sound like sour grapes, I know, but think of it.  Solitude is priceless in our society, and there are those who, I can only imagine, thirst for it unrequited. 

However, what our “BIG-thinking” society tends to forget is the importance of “the little”.  So the account about King David on the run for his life when his wayward son, Absalom, temporarily succeeds in his coup, is of curious concern.

David had a few spies of his own up his sleeve; well, no, actually they were embedded within Absalom’s palace, and when the plot was made to murder the fleeing monarch…

“Arrangements had been made for a servant girl to bring them the message they were to take to King David.”

LOVE IT!  A servant girl!  Not a soldier, but a servant; not a man, but a young woman (or girl).  And women weren’t exactly considered trustworthy or intelligent, either.  We don’t know her name as she remained obscure.  We don’t know her reward (if any), but she could have been killed if captured.  We do know that if she had failed with what had been entrusted to her, King David could have been eliminated. 

Seemingly small parts have huge consequences.

God gives us small things to do: teach Vacation Bible School, mow the church lawn, or your elderly neighbor’s.  Listening to a friend’s lament over their children…again.  Forgiving the very irritating relative…again.  And praying.  Always praying, even when we see the opposite of what we’ve been praying for.  Praying anyway.

A wise blogging brother, Wally Fry of Truth in Palmyra, put it this way:

“Are we so concerned about the ‘big’ plans God has for us that we forget the small plans count also? Are we wanting to get revived by a big hoopla in our church buildings with crowds, preaching, and music or are we willing to work the details of God’s plan person by person as Elijah did here? If we are only living for the big, high visibility plans, and don’t have time or inclination for the seemingly small plans, we may need reviving.”

Vive la petite! 

Patient Man

quill

Patience is not always one of my best qualities, but somehow I think I’m probably not alone.  It’s usually no fun when I’m told to “wait”, or worse yet, “STOP”.  Or how about this one—“No.”  (I especially don’t like the period after the no…)

Here’s a piece from the blogger Pneumythology.  He says this on his “about” page:

As a writer, I particularly enjoy creating new myths: allegorical monster stories with heroes, villains, and spiritual themes. In one sense or another, myth arises from or is based on reality, and so it breathes and is in some way alive… Imagination frees us to consider reality from different perspectives, and it is therefore pragmatic when employed properly.” 

PATIENT MAN

Working alone in the meadow at sunrise,

What are the thoughts that you keep on your mind?

Something internal has set you to smiling,

Already knowing what others can’t find.

 

Am I perceiving the servant in waiting,

Growing at present, perfection to be,

Always in motion, eternally resting,

Taking the time that it takes to be free?

        Patient man, just keep on living, God and time are on your side,

        Waiting’s just a part of giving, in the place where you abide.

 

Faith in a promise will bring you contentment,

Waiting of something, yet possessing it now.

Living today while approaching tomorrow,

Never look backward, your hand’s to the plow.

        Patient man, just keep on living, God and time are on your side,

        Waiting’s just a part of giving, in the place where you abide.

 

Play me song while you wait for your Master.

Though you can’t see Him, He’s still your best friend.

Lift up your head for your Savior is coming.

Soon you’ll be walking the wings of the wind.

        Patient man, just keep on living, God and time are on your side,

        Waiting’s just a part of giving, in the place where you abide.

So check out Pneumythology’s site HERE.  He’s got cool stuff on art, fantasy, movies, and other heady things like that, or in his own words (much better than mine, since, you know, I’m NOT A POET):

By means of my own stories, I wish to stimulate my readers and to provide them with a satisfying intellectual space which they can inhabit until something real catches up with them.”  So go enjoy!

Whose #camels are you watering?

pixabay
pixabay

The book of Genesis is so fun.  Challenging, but very human.  I recently read the part when Abraham sends his trusted servant bride-hunting back to their home town for the heir to the throne, Isaac.  Camels were the pack animals of the day, and water was a premium, so when he pulled into town, it was important to park at the local well, not only for himself but also for his livestock.

Per custom, the women were coming over to gather water for their needs.  So how was this guy supposed to pick out a bride?  Where does he even start?  Wisely, he started with a prayer.  Smart move.

As one young local approached, he asked her for a drink of the water.  To the servant’s great pleasure, the girl, whose name was Rebekah, not only gave him a refreshing drink, but offered (offered, now, was not asked) to draw water for all of his camels as well.  (!!)

A little research tells us that the water pots these women generally used held about three gallons.  One gallon of water weighs about seven pounds (plus the weight of the heavy pitcher).  One tired and thirsty camel can drink up to 30-gallons.  And since the servant was shopping for a bride for what was effectively a “prince” whose father was exceptionally wealthy, it’s not a far stretch to consider that Abraham had sent his servant with several camels loaded with gifts for the prospective bride’s family, ten to be exact.  You can do the math.  Rebekah’s offer wasn’t just generous; by our standards, it was extravagant.

From one act of unselfish servitude and kindness to unexpected elevation; from watering the camels to riding them as a soon-to-be-princess—we just never know what a little hard work mixed with a good dose of mercy will produce.  Now that’s powerful chemistry!

So, whose camels are you watering?