by Mary Giraldo
When I thought about “second chances” my mind was immediately brought to a lively gospel choir of green assorted vegetables belting out the tune “Our God is a God of Second Chances”. Ridiculous to imagine, I know…but any mom with a child who loves Veggies Tales Jonah will understand exactly what I’m talking about! The life of Jonah in the Bible is a great lesson on second chances not only for children but also adults. Jonah tried desperately to escape God’s will for his life just as we all do time and time again. We constantly second guess God’s way and convince ourselves that our plan has to be better than God’s. Eventually our choices to fulfill our own desires can lead to unfortunate consequences and I know this all too well.
My dad has been sitting in Florida State prison for 7 years with 1 and a half years to go. He, like Jonah, continued to choose his own path and at the age of 57 the Lord caught up with him and he had no choice but to stop running. When he was arrested he thought he had lost everything; his family, his home, but most importantly his freedom. The greatest lesson he would learn is although his sin had terrible consequences, God most certainly is a God of second chances. I remember every detail of the day I received the phone call from my dad to tell me that he had done something terrible and the police were on their way. At that very moment I had a choice; to forgive my father who has shown me nothing but love my entire life and offer to get him help or to turn my back on him for the betrayal and hurt I had just learned of. I look back at my choice and I praise God for the ability to offer to him the same thing that God offers me every day, a second chance. Psalm 130:3-5 says, If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
Sin can have dire consequences, but our promise for a second chance comes in the form of our Savior who paid the ultimate price to wipe our slates clean. I look back now and I see the beauty behind my dad’s second chance, which would in turn reveal my own second chance at life. Before his arrest I was consumed with me and “that me” didn’t see the need for Jesus! I wouldn’t have been able to endure the past 9 years, had God not come to my rescue. My dad has said that although he doesn’t have physical freedom like we all do on the outside, he is most grateful for the freedom he has received on the inside through Christ; and he uses every opportunity to share the love of Christ with those in desperate need of a second chance.