It’s an awesome feeling to realize that you’ve got a second chance, isn’t it?
A friend of mine discovered this after moving into a house with a large garden this summer. A beginner gardener, she was delighted to finally have enough space for an extensive vegetable garden. She immediately planted some tomato and cucumber seedlings, which grew vigorously and are now producing ripe veggies.
Because she’d moved in mid-summer, however, she lamented that she’d missed the chance to start growing vegetables like beets, spinach, peas, and carrots from seed in spring. She knew that cool-weather-loving veggies like peas wouldn’t thrive in the summer heat. She figured that if you didn’t plant those seeds in the spring, you’d missed your chance for the whole year.
But the garden, like God, often gives us second chances.
I told my friend that she could actually plant those seeds now for a fall harvest. There was still time to grow a second crop before the frosts of November hit. She hadn’t missed out after all: she could still grow the cool-weather veggies she’d hoped for.
What a wonderful metaphor for how God deals with us!
So often, we think we’ve missed out on what we’d wanted to accomplish or what God had planned for us. We figure that either the passage of time or our own mistakes have disqualified us from achieving our dreams. We lament that it’s too late for us.
But with God, it’s never too late. Our Heavenly Father never gives up on us, and never writes us off.
Think of Moses in the Old Testament. He knew it was his destiny to help release the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. But in his zeal and anger, he got ahead of God’s plan and murdered an Egyptian. Moses then had to flee for his life and hide out in the wilderness.
Forty years went by. I’m sure Moses thought that God had forgotten all about him and this grand plan to rescue the children of Israel.
But God is a God of second chances. Moses hadn’t missed out on his destiny after all. God still used Moses mightily to lead the children of Israel out of bondage in Egypt to the brink of the Promised Land.
Abraham and his wife Sarah also knew a thing or two about getting outside of God’s plan. God had promised they’d have a son, but they’d endured years of infertility. Impatient, they circumvented God’s plan by arranging for Abraham to have a child by a maidservant, Hagar.
Taking matters into their own hands and doubting God’s promises undoubtedly displeased God. But He gave them a second chance. Abraham and Sarah had their child of promise after all, a son they named Isaac. The miracle was that Isaac was born when Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90, when it would normally be far too late to have children.
And what about Peter in the New Testament? Passionate, impetuous Peter vowed that he would never abandon Jesus. But what became of that promise when Jesus was arrested and people started pointing out to the authorities that Peter was one of His disciples?
Peter denied that he even knew Jesus. Not once, but three times.
Even after the resurrection of Jesus, Peter probably felt that he’d messed things up so badly he could never be used of God again. But Jesus gently restored Peter, and gave him a second chance: Peter became a bold and steadfast figure in the early days of Christianity.
Do you ever feel like you’ve missed out on what God had originally planned for you? Are you worried that you’ve permanently disqualified yourself because you’ve messed up?
The good news is that there’s still time. You haven’t missed out after all.
“The faithful love of the LORD never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.” (Lamentations 3:22-23 NLT)
What can the God of second chances do for you? Have faith that He will!
© 2020 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.