I 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.)
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.”
The game isn’t over yet.
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.