Many years ago (when I was in school), I asked my dad if he could teach me the game of chess. Of course, dad being such a great baseball coach, along with our family’s love for the game, seemed to infiltrate into each piece on the chess board. My Dad took the time to explain the name of each chess piece and their assigned responsibility (just like a baseball team). What I learned from this time with my dad was the art of looking ahead. To anticipate each scenario of what play my opponent may do. Although it sounds like a good idea of “learning to be prepared,” it also created in me what I like to call “anticipated anxiety.” Instead of just staying in the moment of what life brings on a daily, I began playing out in my thoughts a “what if” scenario. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is ok to be prepared, but when the pre-expectations that we produce in our thoughts do not meet up with reality, then, there is always a possibility of disappointment.
So, I must admit that I was not very good at the game of chess because I could never stay one step ahead or anticipate my opponent’s moves. Because of this weakness, I would often hear the fatal words, “checkmate!”
I came across a famous painting that once hung in the Louvre Museum in Paris, painted by Friedrich Moritz August Retzsch. This is a famous painting called, Checkmate. On the left (with the hat, the red feather, and the green cloak) is Satan. The young man on the other side of the table is in distress because he can’t move, and he thinks to himself that it is over, and the enemy says, “checkmate.”
However, there is more to this story. According to legend, during a group tour of the museum there was a chess grand master champion that came upon this intriguing painting. The grand master stared a long time at the chess board in the painting and finally noticed something surprising. As the tour group moved on to look at other paintings in the museum, the grand master champion stayed gazing at the painting and carefully examining each detail. He noticed the guardian angel offering an atmosphere of peace, in spite of the enemy’s sinister look while gripping a chess piece that once was owned by the man. He pointed at the poisonous spider crawling toward the man’s direction as if to attempt to cast a web of control. He felt the man’s apparent discouragement and defeat through his facial countenance which caused him to slump forward, indicating that he had lost all hope.
Though the devil seemed to be the obvious victor, the grand master chess champion noticed the arrangements hidden among the chess pieces on the board.
According to the arrangement of the pieces left on the chess board, his king had one more move. This fateful move would make him the winner of the game.
The grand master called the curator and determined that the title “Checkmate” did not fit the scene because the forlorn-looking player actually had the ability to defeat his opponent. Though he didn’t realize it yet, his king had one more move.
As I read this story last week, I couldn’t help but to break down in tears, knowing that many times in my life, I have been in that position of despair – that I have allowed this game of life, and the enemy himself to lie to me, causing me to lose my trust in God, and therefore my HOPE.
See my friends, when you feel trapped, when you feel overwhelmed, when you don’t know what to do or where to turn, Satan loves to whisper, “Checkmate.”
When it seems that there is no way to carry on. When you find yourself trapped by your circumstances and don’t know which way to go. When it seems like you can’t move, and you have run out of chances, you’ve run out of help, you’ve run out of resources, and you begin to say to yourself, “What’s the use”-Checkmate!
The Bible says in John 10:10 “The thief comes to kill, steal and destroy.”
But notice that before he can kill and destroy, he has to steal. He must steal your faith. He has to steal your joy. He has to steal your hope. He has to steal your dream. But it is never over with God. The KING has one more move. When your life seems out of control, there is nothing out of the control of the King of Kings. The KING has one more move. It is never over with God.
So remember, what we read in Psalm 139:5:
“For the LORD will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.”
God knows where you are, and He knows who you are. He knows what you are going through and can see around corners. He loves you and He cares for you. There is nothing that God cannot do. So know that the King of Kings has one more move.
“And we know that, in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him”