The God Of Second Chances Pt. 1

I graduated from high school in 1986, and finally received my Bachelor's degree in 2000.  I am fond of saying that I was on the "fourteen-year college plan."  

For the first few years of those fourteen years of slogging through college, I wasn't all that serious about it.  In fact, I got a "D" in an Intro to Business course because I decided that if you didn't take the last couple of tests, including the final they would consider you "withdrawn."  

This was a policy created entirely in my mind, of course.  I'd had an "A" in the class up to that point, which makes the whole thing ridiculous.  I wish I could go back in time and shake 19 year-old Leon, and smack some sense into that idiot. 

At any rate, nearly fourteen years after that debacle, I was doing everything I could to keep a 4.0 average so I could overcome that bad grade and somehow get a scholarship to go on to post-graduate studies.  

In the middle of all of my efforts, I took a test in an upper level British Literature class and when the professor returned it, I realized I'd left an entire page of the test blank. He'd written a note at the top: "See me."  

After the class I dragged myself to meet with him, and explain I'd just plain old made a mistake.  He looked at me for a bit, and then took my paper.  He wrote "97 - A" at the top.  Then he said, "This is probably the grade you would have made had you finished the test.  You know this stuff inside and out."  He brushed off my gushing words of thanks and sent me on my way--never to forget that moment of grace. 

One of my favorite Bible passages is found in Isaiah 43:18-19.  It reads: 
18 “Forget the former things;    do not dwell on the past.19 See, I am doing a new thing!    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?I am making a way in the wilderness    and streams in the wasteland.
I can't even tell you how many times in my life I have experienced grace when I fully expected something entirely different.  But for all of those moments, there are just as many moments when I've felt like I blew it, and lived in regret--hoping that I would get another chance to make things right. 

The words of God in Isaiah 43 are so life-giving to me.  God is a God of second chances, and new things that are constantly springing up around us.  And God wants us to put the past behind us, to learn from it, but to "forget" it.  

If you've been struggling with mistakes you've made, chances you think you blew and the fear that you won't ever have another opportunity to make some of those things right--I want to encourage you.  Lean into a life lived pursuing and desiring the God of second chances.  A new thing is on the way---"do you not perceive it?"  

May you be filled with the unbelievable hope that comes from faith and trust in the One who gave everything to rescue, redeem you and give you the ultimate "second chance."  May you open your eyes to the new things God is doing around you, and leave behind the bitterness of the past.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always.  Amen. 


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