“But you, O Lord are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 86:15)
Do you believe in second chances?
A few years ago, while working as a veteran paramedic, I met a lady on the ambulance. My unit had received a call for a female who had been having suicidal thoughts. When we arrived, I found a young woman trembling and crying to the point where she could barely catch her breath. I tried to calm her down by talking to her and gaining her trust. I listened, as she began to tell me her story of getting caught up in drugs and losing custody of her children to the state.
As she grabbed my hand, she told me that she had been clean for seven months and had been getting her life back…but no one would help her. She had only felt judged by her church and had been experiencing difficulty finding a home. In her mind, it seemed there was no other way out. She was ready to die.
In that moment, I decided that it would be a good time for us to pray together. After our prayer, I gave her a few gifts of my own. A WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) bracelet that a friend had given me as well as an invitation card to a church in the area. A few months later, she is alive and healthy, has a job and new apartment, and is now able to see her children regularly…God had given her a second chance.
That’s why I am a firm believer in second chances because I too have been given the gift of a second chance in life. There was a time I strayed away from God and it was only when I hit rock bottom, that I finally looked up and cried out to Him for forgiveness. This plea sprang from an uttermost desire to have Him in my life. The day after I reached out to God, I had this indescribable feeling. I felt the Holy Spirit touch my heart and it was then that I knew that God had never left me…This is where my walk with Christ began.
There are countless stories in the Bible of men and women like you and me, who were given a second chance. Do you remember Jonah, Samson and David? What about the early apostles, Matthew, Peter, James, John, and Thomas? What about Saul who after being converted, became a mighty warrior for Christ? And think of Mary Magdalene, who after being a recipient of Christ’s mercy, became one of his most loyal followers.
Yes, God is merciful and forgiving. He loves us and gives us more chances than we deserve. We are also told that God will forgive those with repenting hearts. But because we ourselves have been forgiven and offered a second chance, we too have to extend this same gift to others and forgive those that have wronged us.
“But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:15)
A few months ago, I started an outreach ministry in our community. Through this work, I have been able to hear stories from people from all over that have been through hard times. Some have made mistakes for which they are suffering the consequences of today. But our ministry was founded to help provide these men and women with a second chance so that they get a fresh new start. We help feed and clothe these individuals, as well as provide spiritual and emotional support. Most importantly, we reveal to them a merciful and compassionate Lord — the God of second chances.
When have you been given a second chance? Share your story in the comments below.
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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