I thank God that His thoughts are not my thoughts, neither are my ways His ways. His ways and His thoughts are higher than mine – and thank God for that! I thank God His mercies are new every morning. I thank God His love is everlasting and endures forever. I thank God His patience knows no end and His compassion towards me has no limitations.
The Bible is full of examples of people who, as a result of God’s mercy, grace and sovereign intervention, have had a chance to start a new chapter on a new page.
I would invite you today, as we reflect on some of the stories of second chances in the Bible, to consider your own story too. But more on looking back a bit later…
STORIES AND LESSONS
There are so many examples of people in the Bible who God used to show us that we have a hope and a future. Most of them were facing very challenging circumstances - needing to be rescued, needing a break, needing forgiveness.
And, of course, the Bible is full of remarkable women who God wrote into His beautiful story. I’m sure many of these are familiar to you, but let’s look how God steps in and turns things around.
DETERMINATION + GOD = FUTURE
The story of Tamar can be found in Genesis 38, and she is also mentioned in Matthew 1. Tamar’s story is all about her tricking her father-in-law into sleeping with her so she could become pregnant by him – all a bit ‘Days of our Lives-soapy’ vibes, isn’t it?
One of the worst fates that could befall a Jewish woman in 1 893BC was to be a childless widow. It meant she lacked economic, legal and social standing. Her father-in-law, Judah, was also treating her poorly by not finding her a husband or allowing her to remarry.
It is in these circumstances that we see Tamar taking things into her own hands, persisting and determining in her heart to see her future secured.
She remains loyal to Judah’s family by not finding other avenues of security or provision. She ultimately tricks Judah, falls pregnant and so secures the line of the tribe of Judah, from whom the Messiah was to come (please note, I’m not promoting trickery/deception – only using what is in God’s work to highlight the point).
God honours her determination to see her life as God intended it to be and gives her a second chance: a family, a future.
In which areas of your life is God requiring determination or willpower today? Could it be the missing piece that brings about your second chance?
COURAGE + GOD = PEACE
Deborah’s story is found in Judges 4-5. Here we have an interesting account of a woman called as a prophetess by God. Not so strange in our times but in 1 169BC, a woman as a prophet and a judge was a rarity. Woman seldom held leadership positions, but Deborah was called by God to judge and lead His people before Israel had kings.
As a mother and a wife, with the society as it was during that time, it must have taken great courage for her to walk in the calling God had for her life.
The story has a few interesting twists to it, so I encourage you to read it with fresh eyes. God speaks to Deborah and she sends word to Barak, saying God commands him to take 10,000 men, march against their enemy and He will deliver them into Barak’s hands.
Barak sends word back to Deborah saying: “If you go with me, I will go…” So Deborah heads into war by Barak’s side. She does, however, warn Barak because of the way he was going about this, doubting God, the honour of the destruction of their enemy would be handed to a woman.
I encourage you to read the rest of the account: the killing of Sisera by Jael with a tent peg, Deborah’s rejoicing and Barak’s shame of a mighty general perishing by a woman’s hand.
From that day, Israel army’s strength grew and the enemy was destroyed.
God honours Deborah’s courage to lead well, step into unfamiliar territories and honour God’s gifting on her life resulted in 40 years of peace in the land of Israel.
In which areas of your life is God requiring courage and resolution today? Could it be the missing piece that brings about your second chance?
REPENTANCE + GOD = HOPE
A personal favourite of mine is how a prostitute let her hair down and horrified everyone but Jesus. I wish I knew her name, but the story of the woman who wiped the feet of Jesus in the company of his critics unfortunately does not mention her name. Her story is intertwined with so many lessons in Luke 7:36-50.
Jesus arrives for a meal in the house of Simon, a Pharisee. As part of the honour shown to a guest, there would be washing of feet, rubbing of oil on hands and face, and a welcome kiss on the cheeks. Jesus enjoyed none of this honour, and he is shamed as he arrives for dinner. Against this backdrop, we see a prostitute entering, kneeling close to Jesus and beginning to weep. She does the unthinkable and uncovers her head, unwinds her hair, anoints his feet with expensive perfume and wipes his feet with her hair.
With this public display of honour she is also displaying her humility and need for forgiveness. We know the onlookers and Jesus’ disciples were shocked and disgusted. I love the way Jesus uses this opportunity to teach – read and reflect on it yourself. But then he turns to the prostitute and he says, “Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
What a second chance!? Isn’t it overwhelming what God can do with our humble and repentant hearts? He turns lives around!
In which areas of your life is God requiring humility and repentance from you today? Could it be the missing piece that brings about your second chance?
AND YOUR STORY?
I would encourage you grab your journal and a cup of tea or coffee. Spend some time reflecting on all the chances – the 2nd, 3rd, 4th…10th chances God has given you.
There is good news, Girlfriend! God’s goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life. It is His joy and His pleasure to give you and me daily opportunities to walk in a FUTURE that is fruitful, a life that is filled with PEACE, and a tomorrow that shines with HOPE.
The Lord upholds all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
Let Him uphold you, if you have fallen. Let him raise you up as you draw near. He is into giving second chances.
Love and blessings,
Women Of Reverence welcomes Thora Haefliger as a guest blogger.
Thora is married to Craig and they serve on the eldership team at Church on the Way in Modderfontein, Johannesburg.
After spending more than 18 years in Corporate Business, she felt led by God to come alongside her husband in their family business in 2010. For the last 10 years they've been able to serve the Body of Christ together, work together and travel together.
Thora’s joy includes being a wife, mother and granny. She loves teaching and equipping women, especially enjoying the diversity that exists in God's girls. She is an avid crafter and DIY'er, using her creativity to upcycle, paints and decorates.