When our grandson was home sick a few weeks ago, we helped out a bit by spending one afternoon with him. It was a long day for Nate. TV watching was limited, as was time on the computer. His assignment was to rest and get better so that he could get back to school as soon as possible.
After a couple of hours passed by, he disappeared from the room and returned carrying a big wooden game box containing a chess set, checkers, and some other games, too.
“Grandma, do you want to play chess,” he asked.
I looked around for Grandpa, but then realized that he had gone to the gym. I hadn’t played chess in a very long time.
“Well, Nate, I’ll play chess with you if you will remind me of the different moves the chess pieces make.”
“Sure, I will show you how. I play it all of the time,” he responded. Uh oh, that didn’t sound promising for me. As he put out the pieces one by one and I sat down across from him at the table, it struck me how fast he was growing up. Eight and a half already! His older brother, Kevin, and I played chess a few times, but maybe when Kevin was in the fifth or sixth grade. He is 17 now!
Nate patiently took time to name the different pieces and explained the moves associated with each one. That rang a bell and some of the rules of the game began to come back to me. But when he motioned for me to go first, there was a blank. How to start without leaving the king unprotected? My whole strategy was survival! So, I cautiously moved a pawn out from the front row and the game began. Deciding what to move and where was painstaking business. Nate began drumming his fingers on the table and fidgeting while waiting for me to take my turn.
“Nate! Please stop that! I can’t concentrate,” I said nervously.
After about four turns, he said, “Grandma, can I make a recommendation?” A recommendation? Pretty big word for a young kid! “If I were you, I would do this...” and he proceeded to show me a move that I previously hadn’t seen. A trap?
“Well, thanks, Nate,” I said, after studying it carefully for a few minutes. “I think I’ll do this instead.” So, I chose not to take his recommendation and moved another piece. It didn’t take long before he made a slick little move and pronounced the dreaded words, “Check Mate!”
As it turned out, Nate had strategies, knew ahead of time what he was going to do and exercised it according to plan. Good for him! Bad for me! I felt humiliated and embarrassed that I didn’t let him help me more. Next time!
Most games are suspenseful because they can go either way. Whether one is involved in the game or as a spectator, winning is nice. Losing isn’t! Al has been following the NCAA men’s basketball tournament with great interest and some anxiety too, as the team from the University of Michigan, his alma mater, has climbed its way up the ladder to the Final Four.
Talk about suspense. As Al observes, it all depends on which Michigan team shows up! The winners of the tournament will be decided just after Easter with a great deal of publicity and celebrating by the victors, their coaches and their fans.
Easter… a time of remembering Christ’s death on a cross, of celebrating His victory over death and for those who put their trust in Him, ultimate victory over death as well. Looking out our kitchen window at the cemetery next door, I am constantly reminded of the finality of death. Final that is, except for the resurrection of Christ! His tomb was empty! Our Redeemer lives! And we have the hope of living together with Him for eternity. Let’s celebrate Easter!
“‘Where, O death where is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” — 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 NIV
Judy Lowery lives in Michigan. The Good News column appears regularly in The Porterville Recorder. You can read more at Judy’s blog, goodnewswithjudy.blogspot.com.