Those Second Chances!
“I tell of hearts and souls and dances…
Butterflies and second chances;
Desperate ones and dreamers bound,
Seeking life from barren ground,
Who suffer on in earthly fate
The bitter pain of agony hate,
Might but they stop and here forgive
Would break the bonds to breathe and live
And find that God in goodness brings
A chance for change, the hope of wings
To rest in Him, and self to die
And so become a butterfly.”
It is a wonderful thing that our God is a giver of second chances. You see, through this roller coaster ride that is life, for every high we experience, there is a low right on its heels, which serves as a constant reminder to us that we are all too human and all too imperfect. The thing is that it is through our lows that we become truly humble, appreciating all the more, the second chances that await us right around the corner. And while modern-day Christians know that it was Christ’s death that has given us the second chance for life everlasting at the right hand of the Father, even before that time, God offered a hand and a second chance to others whose names might ring a bell.
Think of the very human frailty of Jonah who resisted God’s command that he preach repentance to the people of Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian empire. Now these people were known to be a wicked group and as fierce enemies of Israel, the thought of going there was too much for Jonah to bear. So what does he do? He goes to Joppa and books passage on a boat heading in the opposite direction of where God wanted him to go. But if there is one thing we can say with certainty, it’s that there is no escaping the will of the Father. And, as we know, God sent a big storm and a big fish to get Jonah’s attention and to teach him that there is no escaping God’s will for what it is that we must do in life! And so, after three days, Jonah repents saying, “But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!” (Jonah 9:9 ESV). So what does God do next? “And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.” (Jonah 9:10 ESV). Of course, we learn that Jonah travels to Nineveh. He is probably still a bit frightened but after the wake up call he was given, he does it anyway, and amazingly, the people listen to his words and take them to heart and they repent!
Just as Jonah tried to exert his own will in defiance of the will of the Father, so do we all sometimes rage against the storms of life that God sends our way. And as hard as we might try to fix things by doing them our way, it generally does not solve the struggle we are facing. But just as Jonah learned, the hard way, when we repent and turn our storms of life over to Him, as well as our willful determination that we always know best, the help we need will be there for us. All He asks is that we are open and honest with Him and if we are, He will extend to us His protection and His mercy!
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”
Matthew 7:21-23, ESV
It is now February of 2013, more than 3 months since Superstorm Sandy struck on October 29, 2012, and yet there are still people living in Staten Island that remain without the basic necessities for living that you and I take for granted. Lives will continue be impacted for years to come. But you can help! Please consider sending a Gift Card to the organization listed below. Thousands of cards have been distributed since November but millions more are needed. Give as much as you can, as often as you can! Your gift might just mean a family who has lost everything might just have something to smile about!
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