Walking by Faith Alone

Archive for November 29th, 2011

Peace in my pieces…

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“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.”  Romans 15:4

Oh the past…the deeply rooted, intricate details, cumbersome trials that cause us to react, think, trust, not trust what is in front of us. The pieces to the puzzles of our lives scattered about with one common thread, we are who we are because of where we’ve been. From the way we’ve been treated to the mistakes we’ve made, no one escapes the brutal reality that looms behind…it can’t be changed or redone. There is no remake or false start. The past is a piece of our existence. So what do we do with it?

I grew up in a relatively small town in central/south Georgia called Dublin. Although most of my life has been spent away from Dublin, much of who I am comes from where I was first planted. I grew up in a family with two parents. My grandmother lived with us, and my three siblings and I were blessed to live in a stable, loving home. On Saturday mornings I rode my horse Wendy through the woods behind my house with only a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to sustain me until dinner. Could life be any better? My plan for the future, which unfolded as Wendy and I strolled down various paths, had two routes: on the one hand, I was going to be a writer – a journalist – and live in New York. On the other, I was going to penetrate the iron curtain and save the Russian people from communism – a sort of modern-day Harriet Beecher Stowe. Since she was an author as well as an abolitionist, I felt the two complemented each other well. My poor father had his hands full with me, I’m sure.

Bobby Fischer, the renowned and mysterious chess player, once said that in order to achieve “checkmate,” one must maintain the knowledge of seven moves ahead of their opponent. Such seems almost impossible, for one would have to understand his opponent well in order to predict seven moves into the future. I’ve played a little chess in my life and must admit, I have yet to determine one move of my opponent let alone seven!

I often imagine God as a chess player. His opponent (Satan) has no idea that the very move he makes against my life, God has already planned a way, seven moves ahead, to victory. Whatever my choices, God calculates and determines the route to triumphant. Obstacles, trials, struggles, heartbreak after heartbreak, God already knows where we are going to put Satan in “checkmate.” Oh, but the moves to get there sometime leave me wondering.

My understanding of the rules around the game of chess state that once the player’s hand has been released from the piece, the move stands and cannot be taken back…cannot be redone. Very much like our own lives, the decisions we make, once taken are forever etched into the puzzle pieces of our lives. Why then do we spend so much time trying to undo that which is impossible to undo?

Every piece of your past, the passions God imprinted on your heart, the dreams, the bad choices, the hurtful events can be used to win. He is seven moves ahead of the financial burden, seven moves ahead of the divorce, seven moves ahead of the cancer. And although at times it seems a checkmate is impossible, God manuevers our pieces so that defeat is not an option.

I imagine the night Jesus was arrested, the disciples who had spent three years with this King knew Jesus had the ability to get away. I’m sure they were waiting in anticipation for boulders to fall, the earth to quake. It’s possible they thought, “Wait until these soldiers see what He can do.” But as the minutes ticked away, as the hours, the beatings, the mocking, the unthinkable, inflicted pain advanced, the despair must have been overwhelming. Was all the past an illusion?

But Sunday was coming…Satan didn’t know it…no one knew the seven moves just ahead…but God.

As I look back on my own life, the pieces of my past, the passions of my heart, the failures, the successes, I see the hand of God in it all. And while He is still moving and maneuvering that which the enemy wanted to use to destroy me, I find peace in my pieces knowing Sunday is coming.

Whatever trial you are facing today, believe, the King of kings and Lord of lords is seven moves ahead. The very moves of your past are the very elements God will use to achieve victory. Do not despair. Your “checkmate” is coming.

Written by Nora Hatchett Almazan

November 29, 2011 at 2:02 pm