Othello board

Have you ever played Othello? Not Shakespeare’s character, but the board game for two players. The other evening I brought it out to show our grandson who’d never seen it before. I explained the aim of the game and how to begin with the black and white discs. It was many years since I’d used it myself. The box looked tatty and we lost the list of rules many years ago.

The goal is to get more discs of your own colour on the board than your opponent. Players take it in turn to place one of their discs beside the other person’s colour when there’s one of their own at the other end of a row. They can then turn the intervening ones over so there’s more of their colour on the board. Play continues until the board is full.

My grandson stopped our play a few times to check progress, but I explained that it wasn’t worthwhile to keep counting how many white or black discs were on the board. Their configuration could change in a couple of moves and then we’d have to count them all again! It was better to wait until the board was nearly full and then we’d have some understanding of who might win in the end.

My memories of playing Othello with my daughter, when she was her son’s age, brought back a few clues. One was not to focus on covering the squares of the second-row-in from the edge of the board. That might mean the other player could grab a corner! It could be better to make a less valuable move…and wait. Whoever controlled the corners was often the victor because there are no spaces beyond the point of a corner square!

I won’t tell you who won; that’s our secret! But we enjoyed a couple of games before it was time for bed.

The next day I was thinking about this game and wondered how it applied to my life. I know it’s meant to be competitive and fun, but I enjoy learning something in the process. Was life all about being in control?

Sometimes we can look as if we’re on the losing side. We put down our ‘disc’, thinking it will benefit us, and then events change and we see that our decision wasn’t wise. Eternal issues are more important than earthly ones. God knows that. He’s the universal wait-er, He knows the future. It seems that he’s even prepared to ‘lose’ occasionally. Now what about those corners on the board? What do they mean for me?

As I meditated on all this, I sensed God dropping a thought into my heart; a quote from the book of Isaiah by Jesus’ disciple, Peter.

Look! I’m setting up a stone in Zion, a cornerstone in the place of honour. Whoever trusts in this stone as a foundation will never have cause to regret it.

Ah! The Chief Cornerstone! That’s Jesus, the Head of the Corner! He said that’s who he is. If our lives are built on his foundation, we can be sure we’re secure. If they’re not…well, I’m glad I’ve put my trust in him to control my life!

Dear reader, will you do the same? Jesus will never let us down; after all, he is the chief cornerstone.

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