God of Second Chances - Pt. 2
When I was in my early twenties, I was driving back to my apartment very late after hanging out with my friends to the wee hours. My car broke down in the middle of nowhere, but luckily not too far from a gas station and a pay phone.
I was not living my life very well then, to be honest. I drank too much, partied too much, smoked too much and generally did too much of every other bad thing you could think of--all of which made my poor parents worry.
For about a half an hour I tried everything I could think of to get the car moving again but to no avail. I had one quarter in my car, which I found underneath the floor mat. That's all the money I had on me, which meant that I had one phone call to make.
So I called my dad.
That was a hard call to make because my dad and I didn't get along very much at all at that point in our life. We disagreed on just about everything--particularly on matters of faith.
When I was about fifteen years old, I no longer wanted to be a Christian, in large part because I had grown weary of the kinds of Christians who occupied the fundamentalist Baptist churches we attended.
After graduating from high school, I moved out of my parent's house and vowed never to return to church as long as I lived.
But what I didn't know what that my dad also held some hurt in his heart, and had been holding it there for years. He'd tirelessly served as a Christian school teacher for years--schools run by the very churches that had slowly driven his son away from the Christian faith.
And I have come to know that what he wanted most of all was to have another chance to do things differently.
So when I called that night, he just got dressed and drove out into the night to find his son. And when he finally did locate me an hour or so later, he pulled the broken belt that enabled my power steering out of a tangled mess, and we started my car.
He didn't yell at me, he didn't judge me. He just asked me to follow him home.
So, I followed him back to my old house and ended up going to bed in my old room and sleeping for what seemed like a week. As a parent of an adult child, I now know how that must have felt for him to have me back in that room, sleeping and safe.
One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 40, which reads like this:
1 I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.Both my dad and I needed a second chance that night. It took a broken down car to bring us together. Each of us in our own way had found ourselves bogged down, lost and searching for our footing, and we needed a firm place to stand.
Maybe you are in a situation in your life where you are longing for another chance. Or maybe you are longing to give one. Sometimes in those moments, it can feel like you can't find your footing. Be at peace, though. Wait patiently. The God of second chances in on your side.
St. Julian of Norwich once wrote, "The greatest honor we can give Almighty God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of his love."
May you live gladly in the knowledge that you are a beloved child of God. May you discover anew what it means to give that same grace in return.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.