Thursday, January 1, 2015

Trading Loss For Gain

My computer has the option of playing several games when I log on.  As a result, I like to play chess on my computer when I can.  Not that I'm very good.  Yet, it is an interesting game.  If you aren't familiar with chess, the way to victory is to capture the opponent's king.  Each team has a variety of pieces, e.g. pawns, rooks, bishops, queen or king, which can only move certain directions to advance on your opponent.  The queen is the most powerful piece on the board, having the ability to move in all directions and great distances.  Once the king is trapped with no way of escape, the game is over.  "Checkmate" is the term.

Nevertheless, one aspect of chess I have noticed is that no one ever wins the game without losing a few pieces along the way. Sometimes I even willfully give up a lesser piece of the game in order to capture a more powerful piece of my opponent, for example, losing a pawn, rook or bishop is  insignificant if it allows me to take the opponent's queen.  But, the ultimate goal is capturing the king or winning the game, no matter how many pieces I lose or have captured along the way.

When I went through chemotherapy in 2006, the cancer team was amazed that I did not lose all of my hair, a common side effect of many chemotherapy drugs.  My hair did thin considerably but I did keep it for the most part.  But, generally speaking, seeing someone who has lost all of their hair, especially at a younger age, is usually a reliable indicator of going through chemotherapy.  However, for most people, this is a temporary affliction.  The hair usually returns when chemotherapy is completed.  I know my hair returned to its pre-chemotherapy state after my treatments were done.  Yet, for the time being, losing hair is really insignificant compared to the long term goal of eradicating the cancer.

Exchanging profit for loss was probably best stated by Jim Elliot (pictured below), a Christian missionary who was martyred by the Auca Indians in Ecuador in 1956.  He wrote in his journal, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."   Although Jim and three other missionaries were killed, it opened the doors for future evangelistic efforts to these natives in Ecuador.  I believe even one of the men who killed Jim Elliot later came to know amazing story.  Heaven's gates were opened to many by the sacrifice of these young missionaries.

As a result, some things in life are worth letting go in order to be triumphant.  Whether its losing some hair, losing a material object, whatever, it is not foolish at all to give up such things as Jim Elliot said.  The end result is glorious victory.  Checkmate!

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