"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".
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.
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