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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Game (12/06/12)

TITLE: Shattered Fortresses
By Frankie Kemp


Contrary to the deeply ingrained belief, life is not a game that we “win” because we follow all the rules and strategies that we think we can structure and order. When we decide that the rules and strategies will always make us winners and will always lead us to PARADISE in this life—to the fairy tale ending—that place of ultimate satisfaction, we have created a game board where our God exists as merely a spectator. We perform for Him. That is what keeps us thinking that we are in charge and that the outcome of the game is dependent upon our next move. It’s what keeps us, whether we are able to admit it or not, trying to create for ourselves a world where we do not NEED.

But what happens to us when the game board is flipped upside down and the pieces scattered? After however long it takes us to muddle through our grief, our anger, our disappointment—all those incredible and powerful human emotions that we do not ever want to feel—we attempt to right the board. We may even spend an enormous amount of time and energy trying to get every piece back in the exact spot we left it, in the exact place we think it ought to be.

We scour through the rule book, looking for all the key strategies that will right the course of the game we’re directing. We might even rearrange some of OUR unwritten rules and then attempt to build an impregnable crystal fortress around our game board. We may want people to be able to see in, but we don’t want anyone or anything getting in to upset the order of the game we think we’re playing.

We know He’s watching us, too, and that’s another reason we erect crystal fortresses. We want Him to see. We even want Him to tell us how to make our next move, and we convince ourselves that this performance we’ve created is what He wants. We tell ourselves He wants us to play a game by the rules behind a crystal fortress so that we will win and show all the world how wonderful He is. The problem is, winning a game in a crystal fortress proves NOT OUR GOD, but our desire to be self-sufficient and get His stamp of approval.

Sometimes He shatters our crystal fortresses and refuses to let us rebuild them, continuing to thwart our attempts to win a game. He does not do so because He enjoys watching the very real pain that overtakes us when all our illusions are shattered. He does it so that we will awake and see what we can as He reveals it to us—see what it is that He REALLY wants from us. He wants us to know that the most beautiful thing about us is our need for Him.

Our lives are not a game. They are a journey toward home. We are the displaced, the scattered, the travelers always seeking and never quite finding exactly what we are looking for. He is not here, but we are going to Him. We are not alone on our journey, although at times it feels more than solitary. There is within us a Presence that guides us and comforts us—the hint that there is an end, and there is a place that will be more than we can possibly imagine.

The promise is not yet attained—the hope is yet to be accomplished, but we WILL keep pressing on. Not because our humanity wills it—no, that’s game board living. We press on because we must. The desire for home is who we are. When the Sovereign hand of our God refuses to allow us to right another game board, we realize that we have awakened to our own lives. He allows us to see only bits and pieces of the vision because if we saw all the treacherous places of our journey, we would lose heart before we ever began.

Our God is patient and sure, not simply a cruel destroyer of crystal fortresses. HE is our desire, our constant pulling call. He calls to us at just the right moments, igniting a spark in us that our own devices often smother. We ARE conquerors because He beckons, and we will find our rest. Along the way, we catch glimpses of His Glory in the moments we need Him most. Thank the Lord for shattered fortresses!

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This article has been read 381 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 12/15/12
This was an intense read with a lot to think about.
Nicely done. God Bless~
Phee Paradise 12/16/12
The metaphor of life as a game is an apt one, and I especially like the image of turning the board upside down. God has done that to me a few times.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/20/12
This is a great piece. I can feel your passion in your words. I really liked your message. It made me stop and think and the ending filled me with hope.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/23/12
Congratulations on ranking 7th in level 3!