When faced with life's challenges,
it is Important to Remember
that although Daniel was saved from the lions,
he was not saved from the Lion's Den.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Gift of Another Chance

"If you have made mistakes, even serious ones,
there is always another chance for you.
What we call failure is not the falling down
but the staying down". 
Mary Pickford

It would be so nice to get a chance to do things over again, wouldn't it?  Well, some things anyway.  We might want to relive a cherished birthday, or a favorite happy memory, or we might want a chance to change our most embarrassing moment or our biggest regret.  We have all wished for the chance to do something over in our lives.  To change a past wrong, make a different decision, fix a mistake, or even begin a new life.  I know that there have been so many things that I have done that I wish I could go back and change.  I wonder why (in the wisdom of experience) I had to make those particular choices.
All throughout time, man has wished for the opportunity to have a "do over"or a "second chance".  One of my favorite stories is the story of Jonah in the Old Testament.  His story can teach us about obedience, willingness of spirit, gratitude and compassion as well as that of a second chance.  
You remember Jonah.  He was a great prophet and missionary for the Lord, he called all the people to repentance.  The Lord wanted him to go to Nineveh to teach the people there.  Nineveh was capital of Assyria.  That nation was one of Israel's worst enemies.  Jonah did not want to go.  He did not believe that the people would repent and he thought it was a waste of his time to go there.   
So, instead of obeying the Lord, he decided to go to Tarshish.  We are not told what his motives were, only that he made that decision and got on a boat heading to Tarshish.  At night, a huge storm came up and tossed the boat wildly in the sea.  The sailors were all afraid and they prayed to their gods while Jonah slept.  The captain went down to Jonah's cabin and brought him up to the deck.  

"And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil [is] upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah".  (Jonah 1:7 KJV)
The sailors all question Jonah about what he’s done to bring this storm on them. He confesses that he is running away from the Lord’s will and tells the sailors to throw him overboard to spare their lives. This they do. (Jonah 1:8-15)
As Jonah is sinking into the sea, a big fish swallows him. (Jonah 1:17) Here we see the mercy of God. He could have let Jonah drown in the waters.  He could have let him suffer the consequences for his disobedience.  Yet, instead, God intervenes, spares Jonah’s life, and gives him a second chance. 
Jonah sat in the belly of that whale for three days and nights.  But he doesn’t complain. He is sincere in his prayer and the Lord tells the whale to spit Jonah out on shore. (Jonah 2:1-10)
Then, the Lord tells Jonah, again, to go to Nineveh and preach repentance. This time, Jonah does as he’s told and the people repent. The king orders all to fast, put on sackcloth and beg for forgiveness. (Jonah 2:1-10)

The most amazing part of this story for me is the next part.  Nineveh is spared and instead of being grateful to the Lord for His mercy, Jonah walks away from the situation mad at God. He builds himself a little shelter outside of town and sits there.  He thinks that God should have destroyed the Ninevites rather than spare them. So angry is Jonah that he says he’d rather die than live!

He wanted those people of Nineveh to suffer.  Instead, the Ninevites received the gift of "A Second Chance".  They received a Do Over.  They received The Lord's mercy and grace and a chance to change their lives for the better.  

God’s Love, His mercy and salvation are for everyone.  Not just for those who have never made mistakes.  (none of us would be able to qualify if that were the case).  You see, Heavenly Father knew that none of us would be perfect.  He knew that we would each need second chances.  That we would each sin and make mistakes.  
Thankfully, God can work miracles in our hearts and spare us in spite of ourselves. 

So, the next time you think that you aren't good enough, that there is no use trying, that God doesn't care or doesn't listen, I hope that you will remember the story of Jonah and the lessons that it teaches us.  I hope that you will remember the Ninevites and their wickedness.  A wickedness that was so overwhelming, even the prophet did not want to try and save them.  But Heavenly Father knew that they could change.  He knew that they deserved  a chance to try again. 
The gift of  "a second chance" is available to every one of us.  Although the gift won't take away that original choice, it does let you learn the lesson and put aside the regrets.  It gives each of us the chance to repent, to change, and to become more like Him.  

"Though no one can go back and make a brand new start,
anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending". -Carl Bard


  1. This was a lovely post and gave me lost of food for thought. It is funny that you talked about the story of Jonah ... my son was recently watching the "Veggie Tales" version of the story and I was thinking of it when he was watching it.

  2. Yes there are moments I wouldn't mind reliving again and again. :0)

  3. What a great reminder about the lessons of forgiveness and second chances. There are plenty of situations I wish I could "do over". Remembering that God still loves us, even with all our imperfections is such a wonderful reminder of why life is beautiful.

  4. "...anyone can make a brand new ending" This is a great message, so deep and far-reaching. Hope, there is always hope. Thank you for such a great thought. And so well timed for the brand new year. Love your blog.

  5. So grateful for second chances! {Also, throughout this whole post I could not help but sing the Veggie Tales song Second Chances! My mind has been taken over by those cute veggies!}

  6. Thanks for sharing your valuable thoughts. israel gifts

  7. Thanks for writing this encouraging post! Unfortunately, I have been a Jonah--when I was more concerned about my own comfort or being right than I was for another person's soul. Thank God that He doesn't give up on us!

  8. AHHH I am not having luck at leaving you a comment. Let's hope this time works.

    Thank you so much for linking up at Motivating Monday... I hope to see you there more often :)

    Second chances are one of the BIGGEST blessings IMO that Heavenly Father gives us. If I couldn't be forgiven and given another opportunity for my mistakes I'd be in some big trouble. So I am VERY thankful for this.

    Beautiful post!

  9. Great post Patty Ann, and thank you for linking up to No Ordinary Blog Hop. I hope you will be able to put our button on your post or sidebar. I look forward to following your blog. Blessings to you and your family.

  10. Hi Patty Ann!
    Beautiful insights on Jonah's experience and lessons learned and how we can trust God for second chances, which I need alot of!!!! You have a beautiful blog and thanks for linking up this wonderful post to our No Ordinary Blog Hop!
    I am now following you and if you get a chance, we would love to see you put the No Ordinary blog Hop button on your homepage or post somewhere so others can join in on the hop if they would like :) Thanks and God bless!

  11. I love this post, lots to think about, while I mop my floor....

  12. Thank you for this post- I love the quote at the end.
    (from MMB)