She suggested a coffee shop knowing my penchant for caffeine; but she chose chamomile tea. We carried our steaming mugs to the tiny table in the window alcove. The steady flow of traffic outside made up for the pauses in our conversation.
Sometimes it’s hard to be the “mature” Christian. There are never enough answers as to why God does what He does. And no matter how many times I’m asked, or how many times I’ve heard varying story lines with the same theme, I always seem to respond the same: God knew where you’d be today.
Yet, there are times when life is just plain hard. That’s when it’s easy to play melancholy music in our head and move ever so slowly to the Second Chance Dance. As the dirge endlessly repeats, we speculate where we’d be if only we’d made different choices.
Today’s version of the story is a young mother of two. She wondered if she’d left her “real” life behind, several years ago—before she’d taken a left turn and found herself pregnant and alone. Add a failed marriage and the lament deepens. Her Second Chance Dance keeps reminding her that the choices she’s made have taken away the best ones.
Now her life includes an energetic, tow-headed boy and a dark-eyed precious baby girl. The college degree she’d planned on has been put on the highest shelf—way out of reach. She figures that God’s second chance means getting God’s second best for the rest of her life. Changing diapers isn’t the same as changing into designer clothes like the powerhouse attorney she had imagined herself being.
Does God give us second chances only to give us less of a life because we admit we made some mistakes? The young woman sitting across from me has faced single parenthood, poverty, and a seemingly endless cycle of children’s viruses, doctor bills, cramped apartments, and job juggling acts. Nothing had gone according to her plans. We stared at the cars rolling by, but I didn’t want silence to be my answer to her honest questions.
She’d fallen for one of Satan’s surest tricks—let someone think they’ve lost out and nothing will ever work out right. In her mind, she’d messed up and God would make her pay for it the rest of her life.
But that’s not God’s idea of a second chance. I asked to see a picture of her two little ones. Pointing to their smiling faces, I said, “These children are part of God’s plan for your life.”
She smiled—a smile that reached deep into her heart. She loved her children and life without them would indeed be different, but not better. She’d seen how much she had to trust God with the care of her children. Could she trust God to do the same for her? Could she trust God to guide her plans? To help her make those plans?
God lets us choose and sometimes we chose wrong. But here’s the good news: God’s second chances don’t mean they’re second best. Why? Because we don’t have a second rate God.
Here’s an important truth: we’re all working on our second chance. No one gets a perfect score in life. God knows that second chances have a wonderful way of showing His amazing grace.