God of Second Chances - Pt. 3
Twenty-seven years ago, I heard my wife Merideth's voice on the answering machine after not speaking to her for nearly five years.
We had been high school sweethearts, but circumstances, pride, dumb decisions and a host of other factors had separated us and kept us apart. Both of us had experienced hardships during those years. We were broken inside, hurt, tired and resigned to the fact that we probably weren't going to ever be as happy in life as we once hoped we would be.
An old classmate of ours ran into me and was so concerned about how terribly sad I seemed that she called Merideth to ask her if she'd seen or heard from me. Merideth was three weeks away from getting married to her fiancee of four years. I was busy drinking, and smoking myself into numbness.
And then she called me, and I heard her voice on the answering machine, and nearly killed myself trying to reach the phone before she hung up.
We talked for three hours that night. Six months later we were married.
There is a verse that I have come to appreciate very much from 1 Peter 5:10. It reads:
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.When you are in the middle of suffering because of a bad decision, mistake or transgression it is difficult to see any benefit to it--particularly when the bad decision, mistake or transgression was not your own. But sometimes suffering helps to put things in perspective for you.
I know what it's like to live my life without true love. But in contrast, I also know what it's like to live with my true love, and the difference between the two makes me appreciate the latter all the more.
And I have come to believe that no broken moment is beyond redemption, suffering doesn't last forever, and ultimately God gets what God wants, which is resurrection, restoration, reconciliation, and redemption.
If you are suffering right now through a season of regret, pain, loss or the aftermath of wrong decisions, actions, etc., know this: It won't last forever. God is still in the business of raising the dead. He will "restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you."
May you find the courage and strength to endure through the tough times and have hope in the midst of suffering and struggle. May you look forward in hope to a future filled with incredible healing and victory.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.