This past Friday, my buddy and I ventured back into one of our favorite farms to hunt. We knew which field on the farm we wanted to hunt, but we had to take a guess as to which corner of the field a gobbler may be roosted that morning. We eased down near the back right corner of the field, placed a decoy out a few yards into the field, and then settled into the surrounding cover near the corner. As it got a bit lighter, it turned out we chose the correct side of the field. Four different gobblers began sounding off within 100 yards or closer of the corner in which we were seated, one by himself and three others together, and our confidence was brimming. I positioned my gun barrel towards the corner of the field where we both felt certain the birds would enter the field after coming off the roost, and prepared to wait them out. We had also brought along a video camera and he got it positioned on the corner. I started thinking that it would be really cool to get some footage of a gobbler strutting at close range prior to me shooting, so I decided that I would let him walk out into the field a little bit before shooting, confident that with our decoys close by that he would give me 'all day' to take a shot. Well, it turned out that the boss tom was the first bird to enter the field. A few hens came out behind him, and one of them seemed to get a bit antsy around our decoys. By that time I had let the gobbler strut past where I originally intended to shoot him, and when the hen acted odd at our decoy, he strutted straight away from me out to the middle of the field, well out of shooting range. I could literally feel my buddy's hand tightening around my throat! I had blown my opportunity at this huge bird, being too concerned about capturing video of him, when I could have shot him as soon as he entered the field. Fortunately, there were more birds in the woods slowly making their way to the field, to include the other three gobblers that we had heard, and they eventually entered the field through the same corner. The lead gobbler was also a very nice tom, and when he saw the decoys, he strutted right towards them. Thankful for another opportunity, I quickly laid him out at about 15 yards.
Psalm 86:15-16 (NASB)
But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth. Turn to me, and be gracious to me...
The second chance opportunity at a gobbler last Friday was truly an unmerited gift. What I deserved was to leave the field that day empty handed, and have to tell my buddies that because I was too focused on getting video footage that I missed my opportunity to harvest that boss tom. And this week's insight would be titled something like "I'd Like to Have That One Back"! But instead, I was given another chance. And I didn't waste that second opportunity - I completely ignored the possibility for close range footage, and harvested that second gobbler as soon as he presented me with a shot.
The good news for each of us: The God of the Bible gives second chances just like this - unmerited second chances. As a matter of fact, He is in the business of giving us second, third, even fourth chances when we least deserve them. God exhibits some incredible patience with us, and the Bible is full of stories of folks who received 'one more chance' from God - Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Jonah and Peter to name a few. But, these "do-over's" are not to be taken lightly. Paul warns us in Romans Chapter 1 what can happen when we continue to test God's patience and reject His call to repentance. When we insist on running our lives the way we want and our hearts are hardened against Him, He eventually lets us go, as sin has then become our god. God does everything He possibly can to draw us to Him, offering forgiveness and second chances. But no more chances can be given to us once we die.
Maybe you have messed up so badly that you think there is no hope for you. While you can’t turn back the clock, you can change the course you are on right now. Even if you rejected His offer of reconciliation previously, be comforted in knowing that He is still offering you a chance to change your mind and your heart. So, are you willing to take God up on His second chance with your life? You may still face some repercussions, but God is gracious and good. Choose a life of confession, repentance and obedience. - GE