The God of Second Chances
How often do we think, I wish I had a do-over, a second chance. Maybe this conversation didn’t go well, or that relationship ended on the wrong foot. Whatever the case, we at times find ourselves wishing we had a second chance to do it right. I think we say those things wanting to be spared some sort of heartache or damage. Yet it is in those times that our Lord teaches us many things. Those hardships help us to do what is right the next time. They reveal many of our misgivings and areas of weakness. At the very least, those hardships draw us to Christ. They grow us in our faith. They help us right the ship and to think about what is holy, righteous, and good. And thankfully, beloved, in Christ, He gives us a second chance.
I am reminded of Jonah, who spiraled out of control for decisions that pitted him against God. And as God humbly and rightly does to His children, He disciplined Jonah to such an extent that he stopped running away from God and obediently followed His will God displayed His kindness to Jonah by giving him a second chance! I just love these words in Jonah 3:1, “Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time…” In His sovereign care of Jonah, God makes the fish and commands it to vomit Jonah up onto dry land. One can see in Jonah’s prayer in chapter 2, which he prays from the belly of the big fish, the clear change in Jonah’s heart. For when he realizes he can’t outrun or hide from God, Jonah sees the grace and kindness of God to sustain him and bring him to safety. Jonah’s conclusion is that salvation belongs to the Lord. Jonah was no doubt snatched from imminent death, so his testimony is truly that Yahweh saves.
In giving Jonah a second chance, God showed up in a mighty way and not only saved Jonah but caused him to see His goodness, kindness, and grace. Chapter three starts with, “Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time…” A second time! This was Jonah’s opportunity to show a heart that was willing to do what was right, good, and holy. He was given a second chance. The key to that second chance was a repentant heart. Repentance brings us back to a right relationship with a holy God.
I think of King David, who sinned in a most horrific way in not only committing adultery but then trying to cover it up. But in His kindness, God sent a prophet to awaken his heart, and he repented. A second chance. I think of King Solomon, who was the richest man in the world. He had everything this world offered, yet in that pursuit, he found it all to be vanity empty, and God was able to reset his heart and direction. A second chance. I think of the disciples, particularly Peter. He denied our Lord three times, yet he was given a second chance, and, boy, did he and the rest of the Apostles set the world on fire.
Beloved, our great God is a God of second chances. He is a God who never leaves you nor forsakes you, even if you are unfaithful to Him. He will draw you to repentance. If you are truly His, He will bring you back to the fold. He will chase you down and help you see how foolish your choices have been. Why? Because His mercies are new every morning. His forgiveness refreshes our souls. There is no sin greater than His grace. He is the God of second chances!
Just listen to the testimonies of your fellow saints and how God has been so merciful in giving a second chance. It is solely because we have a God of persistent grace that we are serving Him today. The simple truth is that God is determined that His servants will serve Him, no matter what it costs Him and no matter what it may cost them. God does not deal with us halfheartedly. He is committed to us in Christ, that His glory and greatness will be manifested in the life of the believer. As it says in John 15, God will prune you so that you will bear much fruit. That is why you are saved, to give Him glory and honor in your life. In the account of Jonah, we learn the extraordinary lengths to which God will go to get His child to do what He has called them to do. God does not give up on His purpose and designs for your life, beloved. In Jonah’s case, he was God’s tool, a vessel to be a human instrument in the mighty hand of God to speak repentance to a sinful nation, because judgment was at hand. We know the outcome of that was national repentance, national revival, which would bring salvation to the people of Nineveh.
As you think about your own life, remember, beloved, that a second chance is wrapped up in your repentance and in the God who gives you a second chance.