Ah! The great game of chess. The simulation of a battlefield where wills collide, where strategies are planned, where tactics are masterminded, where combat ensues, and where one emerges victorious upon the other’s surrender, signified as the king is toppled to the ground.
If you think about it, there is a divine game of chess going on all around us, with every person. It is a battle of wills between every person and God. God is trying to lead us to a place where He wants us to be (surrendered to His will). He is trying to move us into a position where we understand that His sovereign hand is in control. He pursues us because He wants to have a relationship with us, yet many of us are running from Him, or worse, seeking to do battle with Him. If we were objective, we would look around only to find our pieces are in the most disadvantageous of positions (C.S. Lewis).
God is going to win. He made the rules. He is all-knowing. It is His game. The only logical, rational, intelligent choice is for us to concede. The one great distinction between God’s pursuit of us and regular chess is that this is NOT a game. We don’t just clear the pieces off the board and begin another game. There is only one contest, one match, and the results are final and eternal. Either a person concedes to God, or refuses to submit, in which case he is on his own.
How many of us find ourselves engaged in this battle, yet refuse to acknowledge we are fighting something greater than ourselves. Perhaps, we find ourselves in a position of “stalemate” where nobody really wins, but an opponent simply chases the other’s king around the board, not able force them into a position of surrender. Well, on God’s “board” there is no stalemate, which is just simply running from God until you die. When you run out of time you lose automatically. Stalemate is not an option. To choose to disobey God and His leading is to deny Him altogether. Today, as we live in the “here and now,” He gives us the choice. Once we leave the earth, the “board” so to speak, the freedom to choose is over.
Deuteronomy 30:19-20 says, “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”
God pursued Israel and gave them a choice. And the rewards were plentiful. Christ does not pursue us so that He can beat into submission and force us to tap out for His ego. It is so we can choose to live with the blessing of a relationship with Him, both in this life and the afterlife; He does know what is best. Our other choice is to continue to do it our way, with a curse, which is a life without Christ, and a future without God. Look around you; do your chess pieces look like they could stand up to the Creator of the Universe? Freely surrender, concede, tap out, and give up. To choose life is to choose Christ and the gift He has to offer.
Today the choice is set before each of us.
[The Shepherd’s Echo is a previously published TheShepherdsPen]