The God of Second Chances

How many second chances do you get in life?  

I think in some aspects, we get more than a few of them.  But there are some things that once missed, never come around again---at least not in ways that we once hoped they would. 

I've had more than a few redemptive, restorative, and resurrecting second chances in my life.  Some have even been of the variety that I mentioned earlier---the kind that you thought would never be possible.  

And there are some things that seem lost to me forever.  

I believe that we all experience this in one fashion or another.  Maybe as you are reading, you find yourself in a space in your life where you are longing for a second chance.  

You want to fix the relationship that got broken. 
You feel you need to prove yourself at work after a setback. 
You made a mistake that you feel you've been paying for. 
You got a bad diagnosis, and you need a new way forward. 
You feel like you've done things that God can't forgive you for--but you long for it. 

There are so many reasons why we long for second chances or third chances or even more.  And for many of us, we keep seeking them because we keep telling ourselves, God, and others that this time will be different.  

We may feel that we deserve a second chance at times because we were denied our first chance due to circumstances or people that were beyond our control.  

Or we may approach with the kind of humility that comes from knowing that there are some things that just happen in life and in most of the struggles we face on our journey, there are no victims, just volunteers.  

Still, we long for another go at it.  Just like we sometimes wish that we could have a do-over with life in general.  Perhaps, like me, you even daydream about it sometimes---living your life over again, but with all the knowledge you gleaned the first time. 

I recently read a wonderful poem by the 13th-century poet Rumi, which had this stanza: 

Now how can I be
a skeptic 
about the resurrection 
and coming to life again
since in this world 
I have many times 
like my own imagination 
died and been born again...

I have to admit, that particular stanza just blew me away.  It speaks directly into the heart of why we keep coming back to the Well of Second Chances, hoping to find more water.  

We do it because we believe at some level that God is still in the resurrection business, and mostly we believe this because we've experienced it firsthand.  

Along those same lines, far too many people who claim to be Christians give lip service to the idea of resurrection but don't really live as though they believe in it.  God knows... I'm among them at times. 

But if we are being honest with ourselves, we have experienced resurrection before, and undoubtedly more than once.  

We've had dreams that were left for dead come back to life.  We've been restored when we didn't think we deserved it.  We've found a new way forward when the way we were traveling seemed impassable. 

And armed with this resurrection memory, we can step forward into the future with confidence because we know that we'll never run out of second chances to become the people God longs for us to be---our best and truest selves.  

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


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