Dominique was just ten when some neighborhood gang members befriended him. “I was kind of a mascot,” as he puts it. But gang mascots eventually become gang members, and he was headed for trouble. One day, Dominique discovered an online chess game. He got the hang of it and became good—really good. He didn’t like to lose, and pretty soon he had taught himself a variety of creative chess moves.
Before too long, Dominique was “busy” when gang members called. Busy with chess. Busy with starting a chess club in his school. Then busy as chess club president. Then he added wrestling to the mix. Dominique was way too busy finding his purpose to run with gangs.
By the time he was in high school, Dominique had become the top scholastic chess player in the state of North Carolina. He even won a national tournament, and is now in striking distance of becoming a Grand Master—an international distinction. Dominique possesses a unique and God-given genius when it comes to chess.
However, Dominique knew very little about God and didn’t attend church growing up. But he always had a sense of God’s hand on His life and was aware of His voice even as a small child, explaining that God seemed to him like a “personal GPS system.”
In his written essay to the Christian college he now attends, Dominique wrote: “By getting closer to the One who allowed me this chance, and continuing with the plan that we dreamed up together when I was a young child, I feel that I will be able to help someone else and make a lasting impact.” When Dominique heard a clear presentation of the Gospel his first semester in college, the vibrant young man accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and savior. Dominique’s earthly dreams had eternal implications that went far beyond the mastery of chess.
I believe God was guiding Dominique through his childhood dreams of playing chess, even before he fully understood God’s grace. Dominique now uses chess as his platform to mentor and encourage other kids, while pursing his studies to be a physical therapist. He shares his faith openly with anyone who will listen. His story gives hope to kids with little hope.
A sense of vision is so important that the Bible seems to indicate that without it, people often perish (Proverbs 29:18). Many mothers raising their children in fragile neighborhoods understand the importance of vision. They see the focus and direction it can bring, like it did for Dominique. A vision can divert a child from drugs, gangs, or even prison. Not a luxury, for them, vision often means survival.
Do you sense God has a vision for your life? What might you have to give up in order to answer God’s call? Pray and ask God to lead you toward His purpose.
When our own children were small, Granddaddy Chadwick used to tell them, “Think about the gifts God has given you. Then look at the needs you see in the world. Your dream can be found where the two intersect.” (from Sometimes He Whispers, Sometimes He Roars).
Mother Teresa’s words ring true: “Tread gently around the dreams of a child. You may be treading on the dreams of God.”