Perseverance in the face of “checkmate”
By Mike Umbenhaur, Pastor Woodland Presbyterian Church
One of the “side effects” of being instructed to take shelter in place all this time must be to acquire the desire to watch live television, movies or video. I can’t believe how much I watched set after set; sometimes spend an entire day “over staring” at something! I know that’s probably not the way a pastor should spend his time. However, I know I am NOT alone!
One show that my wife and I watched, like many others, was Netflix’s “The Queen’s Gambit”. It is the story of an orphan girl, who learns the intricacies, intricacies and strategies of chess. Her journey is filled with drug and alcohol abuse, as well as her rise to the top of the chess world in the 1960s. She had the ability to see her opponent’s options many moves in advance. This allowed him to understand and escape the traps that were set for him and to be able to set traps for his opponents.
Contrary to what so many viewers expected, she did not win every game. But she learned from her mistakes and was able to “see” on several occasions that she had at least one more move to make.
It reminds me of a story (I don’t know where the story came from) of two men visiting an art museum. They took advantage of a table entitled “Checkmate“. It featured a man playing chess against the devil. Man has only his king. Hence the title. One of the two men looking at the painting notices something and says, “We have to find the artist! Either the image has to be changed or the title has to change! “And the other man asks his friend:” Why? The man said, “Because the king still has a movement!” “
Friends, this is the story of the Resurrection of Jesus. His followers came to the tomb that morning and all they could see was Checkmate. They had given up dreaming and lost hope. But the angel at the tomb that morning said, “He’s not here; he’s risen, as he said. Come see where he was lying (Matthew 28: 6).
You could be facing financial loss or marital conflict; you can be separated from your children or your parents. You might be on the grave of a loved one, and it all sounds like a “checkmate”.
Whatever you face, today or tomorrow, Jesus’ promise to all who put their trust in Him is: There is hope! Even when it sounds like a checkmate, it isn’t, because… THE KING HAS STILL ONE MORE MOVEMENT! “He’s not there; he’s risen, like he said. Come and see where he was lying.