Do You Need a Second Chance?


“The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time.” This brief phrase, easily overlooked, reveals a great deal about God’s character. God is the God of the second chance. If you miss that discovery, you miss the message of the book of Jonah, not to mention, the entire Bible. God doesn’t turn a deaf ear or a cold shoulder to the repentant—no matter how blatant the rebellion or which border the runaway crosses.

A failure is an event, not a person. There is a vast difference between who one is and what one does. One mistake or one hundred mistakes does not make a failure. We are God’s special treasures. We are of extreme value to God.

The movie City Slickers is about three New Yorkers who are approaching midlife crises. They decide to take an adventure vacation; a cattle drive out West.

Phil’s life was a wreck. He was in a meaningless job at his father-in-law’s grocery store, and he was facing a divorce. In one scene, he and his buddies are in a tent. Phil breaks down and begins crying. “I’m at a dead end!” he sobbed. “I’m almost forty years old; I’ve wasted my life!”

One of his friends tried to console him. “But now you’ve got a chance to start over,” he said. “Remember when we were kids and we’d be playing ball and the ball would get stuck up in a tree or something? We’d yell, ‘Do over!’ Look, Phil—your life is a do-over. You’ve got a clean slate!”

As I watched the scene, I thought, How is a guy like Phil ever really going to be helped? And the answer is only through the kind of do-over that he can get from God. After all, God is the world’s biggest dispenser of do-overs. He loves granting them to contrite and humble recipients.

Individuals like Phil, and Jonah, and you and me, can wish we’d never committed the wrongs we have, or try to paper over them like they never really happened, or try to deal with them on our own. But God says, “I can erase them so you can start over. I can forgive you, and I can help you begin again.”

Forgiveness frees us from our indebtedness that we could never repay. It casts us on the resources of God’s amazing grace. It restores us to usefulness in society. It removes us from the torment of guilt.

We should reject the notion that if we turn away from God’s will we are forever thrown on the ash heap. Satan likes to muddle us into thinking that we are beyond salvage, doomed to meaninglessness. Don’t believe it. Hear from the megaphone of God’s Word that God is in the salvage reclamation business. He delights in transforming us into something beautiful and useful. God never discards a repentant life. Restoration qualifies us for renewed service. No matter what the disobedience, God wants to restore, reinstate, and reshape your life.

The most meaningless statistic in a basketball game is the half-time score. God wants you, like Jonah, to get up and go on back into the game.

You have a second chance.

How has God given you a second chance?

One of my most popular books, The 7 Sins of Highly Defective People, takes a twenty-first-century look at the seven deadly sins and offers advice on how, through Christ, we can overcome them. The book is a repair guide that will take you from highly defective to highly effective in your Christian walk.  Click here to claim your copy.

About Rick Ezell

I am a husband, father, pastor, and writer. This blog is about shaping character, transforming church, and impacting culture. I believe that if one defines their moments then their moments will determine their character and their character will influence their world. I write on personal development, church leadership, and our changing culture. I also write about the resources I am developing and the books I am writing. My goal is to create challenging, relevant, and inspiring content that will help you be a better person, the church be a better parish, and the world a better place. If you are interested in those things, this blog is for you. I have served the church my entire career as a student minister and senior pastor. I studied at Samford University, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Northern Baptist Theological Seminary (eventually I will get it). I have written eight books. My most recent ones are Chapter 13: The Excellence of Love and Soul Therapy: The Healing Words of Psalm 23. Both are available as eBooks. I have written over 1000 articles for various local, regional, and national publications. I have been married to Cindy for thirty-three years. We have one wonderful daughter. We live in Greenville, SC. In my free time, I enjoy writing, reading, running, tennis, and golf. You can contact me via email or follow me on Twitter or Facebook. This is my personal blog. The opinions I express here do not necessarily represent those of my employer. The information I provide is on an as-is basis. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, correctness, suitability, or validity of any information on this blog and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its use.
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