Playing Chess With God

My grandpa used to love the game of Checkers, which is very similar to the game of Chess. When I was a young girl, he and I played all the time and I absolutely loved it…when I won (which was close to never). If you have ever played Checkers or Chess, you might know what I am talking about when I refer to someone who somehow always wins. My grandpa was one of those. My competitive spirit was well alive at an early age and it drove me crazy that I could not win when I played against him. Sometimes I would recruit my sister or grandma to be on my team to add some extra brain power, but even that strategy seldom worked. Even worse than losing though, was when he would let me win. Let me win. He was so sweet to do so but my little feisty self found this insulting. Eventually I wouldn’t even accept the rare occasion that I did win, I automatically discounted it as a fake win because I was sure he had let me (and let’s be real, he probably did).

If we put these games on a larger scale and compare them to life, being allowed to win seems like a much better idea, doesn’t it? Of course. But unrealistic, right? This life constantly “jumps” over us and seems to take our pieces one by one.

I have often struggled with feeling like I’m playing chess with God. I strategize my moves – my choices and decisions – based on a fear that I will lose if I make a wrong move. It can be quite exhausting, and I always feel like I’m losing.

God wants us to win in this game of life. He is not up there looking at us as an opponent on the other side of a chess or checker board. But how often do we make God out to be our opponent when He is our teammate? The last position He wants to be in when it comes to us is one of opposition.

In Isaiah, we see a picture of faith in the reality of God’s teamwork and protection when it comes to His people facing opposition. Directed at the opponent, the message is:

Make your plans for the fight.
    Your plans will be defeated.
Give orders to your armies,
    but your orders will be useless,
    because God is with us!” Isaiah 8:10

I love it when God gets sassy. 

He leads us to the win and He replenishes the chips we lose along the way. He’s on our team. And, I might add, He is the optimal teammate.

If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

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