No. 397

At our home we often play a card game called Sequence with some couples from our church and the game requires two decks of cards and depending on how many are playing, two or three sets of colored poker chips. We have also gotten fancy by purchasing an automatic shuffler from our local discount store. You can believe me when I say there is no gambling involved. The object of the game is to use the cards to match the same card faces on a board and get five in a row. The first team, usually the guys vs. the gals, to get three sets of five in a row is the winner. We usually play until one team gets the best out of ten games then it's all over. We also have some refreshments along the way. It's a great mixer and lots of fun.
I thought about this game when I received a wonderful article the other day from a reader in North Alabama. This article is titled, "A special use for a deck of cards." Let me say here in the beginning that I don't know for sure whether the story in this article is true or not, but it sure makes sense. The odds are good that it is. It begins, "A young soldier was in his bunkhouse all alone one Sunday morning during WW II. It was quiet that day, the guns and the mortars and land mines, for some reason hadn't made a noise. The young soldier knew it was Sunday, the holiest day of the week. As he was sitting there, he got out an old deck of cards and laid them out across his bunk.
Just then an army sergeant came in and said, "Why aren't you with the rest of the platoon?" The soldier replied, "I thought I would stay behind and spend some time with the Lord." The sergeant said, "Looks like you're going to play cards." The soldier said, "No sir, you see, since we are not allowed to have Bibles or other spiritual books in this country, I've decided to talk to the Lord by studying this deck of cards." The sergeant asked in disbelief, "How will you do that?" If you will allow me to interrupt for just a moment, I've been around over six decades and what follows is something I had never heard or read before. It may be new to you as well.
To continue, this young soldier said, "You see the Ace, Sergeant, it reminds me that there is only one God. The Two represents the two parts of the Bible, Old and New Testaments. The Three represents the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. The Four stands for the Four Apostles, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The Five stands for the five Virgins that were ten but only five of them were glorified. The Six is for the six days that it took God to create the Heavens and Earth. The Seven is for the seventh day God rested after working the six days. The Eight is for the family of Noah and his wife, the three sons and their wives, in whom God saved the eight people from the flood that, destroyed the earth for the first time.
The Nine is for the lepers that Jesus cleansed of leprosy. He cleansed ten but nine never thanked Him. The Ten represents the Ten Commandments that God handed down to Moses on tablets made of stone. The Jack is a reminder of Satan. One of God's first angels, but he got kicked out of Heaven for his sly and wicked ways and is now the joker of eternal hell. The Queen stands for the Virgin Mary. The King stands for Jesus, for He is the King of all Kings. When I count the dots on all the cards, I come up with 365 total, one for every day of the year. There are 52 cards in a deck; 52 weeks in a year.
The Four suits represent the four seasons; spring, summer, fall, and winter. Each suit has 13 cards; there are exactly 13 weeks in a quarter. So when I want to talk to God and thank Him, I just pull out this old deck of cards and they remind me of all that I have to be thankful for." The sergeant just stood there and after a minute, with tears in his eyes and pain in his heart, he said, "Soldier, can I borrow that deck of cards?" After reading that story you may rest assured, I will never look at a deck of cards the same way again.
As I've said many times during the years that I have been writing this column, I am a Christian and I make no apologies for that, but I am not a minister of the Gospel. One thing however, that we often fail to pass along to our children and grandchildren is that the United States of America does have a spiritual heritage. American history is replete with quotes like this one from former president Grover Cleveland, "And let us not trust to human effort alone, but humbly acknowledge the power and goodness of Almighty God, who presides over the destiny of nations, and who has at all times been revealed in our country's history, let us invoke His aid and His blessing upon our labors." Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)