Black and White Thoughts
I’m a pretty decent chess player. I’m not great. I’m too impatient, and often I play to unwind after my workday rather than playing to improve. But I love it. The nerd that lurks within me must admit that I find something thrilling to my soul about the harmony and order of a chessboard.
32 light, 32 dark.
16 light, 16 dark.
20 possible opening moves.
20 possible responses.
Two armies face one another across a flat, pristine battlefield. Ominously silent, beautiful and orderly. Vast potential lies at rest, awaiting my command. What will happen? Victory or defeat? Beauty or chaos? The possibilities, while not infinite, are mind-bogglingly complex.
Much like my life, the chessboard looks simple and organized at first. Oh that it could stay that way! Clean, clear-cut, at peace. But what happens if I don’t move? My time runs out, and my opponent wins without ever having to act. All he has to do is show up. So I must move.
I must act. If I’ve learned anything in chess, though, it is this: Moving without a plan opens the door for utter disaster. Men and women have been playing chess for hundreds, maybe thousands of years, and no one has yet devised THE PLAN, the sure-fire winning set of moves. White must move first, and this presents the light player with an inherent advantage. Yet this one advantage cannot, by itself, prove to be the winning edge. White can play perfectly, and still not win. With equally perfect play, Black can continually thwart White’s plans. No victory, no defeat. Just meaningless, empty moves.
Praise God that real life is different! Not that moving without a plan is any safer, but there is one crucial difference. There is a plan, a CONSPIRACY even, that guarantees eternal victory! This changes EVERYTHING!
That presents us with a choice. We can let the Creator of All Things teach us to make sound moves, harmonious and effective and meaningful; or we can continue to push pieces on our own, telling ourselves, “Hey! We’re smart people! There’s no way we can’t figure this thing out!”
A word of warning: Our opponent has played this game uncountable millions of times. He thinks he is invincible. When YOU look in the mirror, what do you think?
Oh, and this too: This is a timed game, but none of us, not even our enemy, knows when our clock will run out.
Here’s the Ultimate Grandmaster’s offer: Resign. Lay down your king, and let Him enroll you in His school. Let Him teach you the right plan. He doesn’t promise that learning will be quick, or that victory will be easy. He does promise that victory is CERTAIN.
P.S. – I saw a powerful, intriguingly hopeful movie this weekend called Crash. I have to think more about it before I comment further, so look for something about it on Monday!