As shared with me from my friends in South Africa...
The king has one more move.
Today we stood at the graves of Werner Groenewald and his two children, Jean-Pierre and Rode. When I said goodbye to Rode a month ago, after an incredible week of fellowship in China, I did not foresee that my next encounter with this beautiful young girl would be carrying her coffin to an empty grave.
I kept on reminding myself the whole morning, over and over, to "THINK KINGDOM" I remembered the song sung by Christians in Egypt after their Church was burnt down in Minya last year. After the sorrow of losing friends, family and fellowship they still declared bravely: "We declare it to the whole world, our considerations are not like yours. Our goal is the Kingdom of heaven." I found comfort in this and yet we wept
I read again this morning in Acts 7 how Stephen, a young fearless disciple, was violently dragged outside the city by members of the Sanhedrin and then, under the supervision and approval of a young man called Saul, they stoned him to death. I thought of Werner and the kids. Where was God in all of this? Has the presence of God failed Werner and his children when they needed Him most? On the contrary. We find one of the most beautiful descriptions of an ever present Christ in the Bible. Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw God's glory and Jesus standing at the right side of God. What a glorious comfort. This is the only place in Scripture where we find Jesus standing at the right side of God. Throughout Scripture we read that Jesus is seated on the right hand of God but in this occasion Jesus was standing up to welcome His faithful servant into eternity. He was not absent nor ignorant. He was there and Werner and the children knew this and probably echoed the words of Stephen. I found comfort in this thought and yet we wept
Finally, at the service this morning, the Pastor shared a story that provided yet another seed of comfort. This story has been told by Christian speakers as far back as 1955 when Billy Graham told a variation of it early in his ministry.
Two men are standing in front of a painting called Checkmate in an art gallery. In the painting, a man is playing chess with the devil. The devil is grinning ear-to-ear because he has the man cornered. The title of the painting, Checkmate, indicates that the game is over. The devil has won the soul of his opponent in this chess match and he has no more moves left.
The first man looking at the painting wants to move on to other paintings in the gallery. But the second man, a chess champion, wants to look at the painting longer, so he waves his friend on and tells him he will catch up later. The chess champion stares and stares at the chess board, then suddenly he steps back, flabbergasted."It's wrong!" he exclaims. "There's one more move." He runs to his friend and together they look at the painting. "We have to contact the painter," the chess champion says. "It's not checkmate. The king has one more move."
Indeed, the Taliban might think it is game-over and that the Christian witness of the Groenewald family has been wiped out. Check Mate! Well, the king has one more move. We believe this. And as we wept we were once again reminded of Psalm 126:5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
Yes, there will be a reaping. Yes, the King has one more move. Yes, our considerations are not that of the world. And yes, Werner and his family are now at a place where Christ stood up to welcome them. There was a joy in heaven as the heroes received their crown. We should rejoice with them! And we are!
Please continue to pray for Hannelie and the family. The loss is great, despite the promise of eternal joy.