“Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again.”
– Psalm 71:20
The young man sat across from me, his face buried in his hands sobbing. I had just fired him and he was devastated, explaining between sobs how he had never before failed at anything in his life. Sometime later I approached the young man with an idea, an offer to keep him on but in a demoted position at a much reduced salary. He jumped at that second chance. Before long he became a rising star, and eventually a successful professional. Some years later another young man applied for a position I had available, but the interview did not go well. Realizing he had blown the interview, the next day he called begging for a second chance. That second interview landed him the job, and he too eventually grew to become a successful professional.
Lest my arm break from patting myself on the back for my gracious deeds, let me hasten to admit that whatever benevolence I may have offered those two young men is minuscule compared to the number of second chances I have received in my own life, few of which – unlike theirs – were the least bit deserved. But by the grace of God and the help of many fine people I’ve been blessed with countless second chances.
In Luke chapter 15 Jesus tells a wonderful parable about a young man who after asking for and receiving his inheritance from his father ran away and squandered it all on wild living. Finally, broke and desperate he decided to return home in the hope that his father might at the very least employ him as a lowly servant. Instead his father ran out and threw his arms around his son welcoming him home, then had a grand party to celebrate his return – the gracious gift of a second chance.
I’m still convinced to this day that those two guys who crossed my path all those years ago deserved a second chance, as evidenced by the way they responded. (I’m less sure I’ve been equally as deserving.) I’m also convinced that God is a God of second chances, whether we deserve it or not; for as the Psalmist says, “Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again” – to be given a second chance.