Where would any one of us be without those in our lives who have given us a second chance or third chance or multiple chances? The teacher who refused to let us go our own stubborn way. The parent who sought us and brought us back from the “foreign country” that we had wandered aimlessly and foolishly off to. The pastor/mentor who tolerated our immaturity and embraced us for what he could see in us that few others were willing to find. The friend, whose loyalty through the toughest of times in a rocky relationship never wavered. The spouse who, because of sheer love and in respect to a sacred and solemn vow refused to call a lawyer to explore the next step in what seemed to be a hopeless cause.
Yes, where would any one of us be? Only God knows, but for sure most of us owe a debt of love to someone in our life who at a critical junction refused to abandon us to our own self-absorption and who drew us back into a circle of love with cords of mercy and forgiveness. We can thank God for the friend, for the spouse, for the loved one or teacher who exercised those Godly attributes of longsuffering and loving kindness.
A few weeks ago, a pastor friend of mine, contemplating the truths that I have just expressed, called me to request that I pen a poem about the God of the second chance. I think he was crafting a sermon on that theme. I offered the following to him and pass it along to any pastor or teacher and others who might be benefited or blessed by it.
The God of the Second Chance Jonah heard the call to Nineveh to go, But Jonah went another way his stubbornness to show; He was swallowed by a whale in spite of piteous rants, The fish threw up the prophet: Jonah’s second chance! Mark whose name was also John, signed on to serve with Paul. But when the mission work got tough, the young man said, “That’s all!” We would think that Mark was done, his mission work was through. The God of second chances said, “No, Paul has need of you.” Peter, fisherman, the rock, denied his Lord did know. Warmed himself beside the fire until the cock did crow. Three times Peter failed his Lord, denied Him with an oath; Jesus though had prayed for him, his service and his growth. We do often fail our God, with words or deeds undone, Umps would simply say “You’re out!” A called strike three, “You’re done!” But God who prayed for Peter, Jonah and John Mark, Looks upon our flesh that’s weak and grants another start. He’s the God of Second Chance, 3rd and 4th and more; By His patient kindness, He does by love restore.
“But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf and kill it and let us eat and be merry: for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost and is found. And they began to be merry.” (Luke 15:22-24)