Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Play Again - A lesson in Second Chances

(I originally wrote this in my journal last year, but felt led to copy it as a post today. Enjoy!)

As I write this, I'm sitting at the computer with a "Tim Horton's" cup of coffee beside me. I'm currently enjoying the "RRROLL UP THE RIM TO WIN" campaign and with each cup of coffee comes the hope of receiving a possible prize. I'd even be happy with a donut or a coffee win. I don't have to win 'big', but so far every time I roll that rim it says, "Please Play Again".

This morning as I saw those familiar words one more time I was reminded of the second, third, and even forth opportunities that the Lord offers us to "Play Again". Recently I allowed my own feelings of inadequacy to keep me from stepping forward in an area of ministry for Christ. Opportunity was given one evening at my church to give testimony to all that Christ was doing in my life, and I sat in the back row, heart racing, and palms perspiring, unable to take a stand. I came home feeling so defeated. I went to bed that night thinking of how I had failed the Lord again.

The next morning my devotional reading was from Luke 22. This is the story of Peter denying the Lord. As Christ was taken away it says in verse 54 that Peter "followed at a distance". Boy, could I relate. Fear was keeping me from following closer. I began to imagine how Peter felt when he heard that rooster crow and when he remembered Christ's words foretelling that he would deny Him three times.

A picture suddenly flashed in my mind. Have you ever seen the movie "Chariots of Fire"? There is a scene in that movie where Ben Cross's character sits in the stands after a race, by himself, and weeps and weeps because he lost the race. It's a poignant scene. The music is haunting. I so related to that visual. That was me the other night (and so many other times) sitting and weeping alone for the times I fail when running in this race for Christ.

However, this morning God has me standing back up. He's encouraged me to keep running. With a simple every day reminder to "Please Play Again", God is offering me forgiveness and another chance. I have to live today based on truth and not feelings. I can't run today with even a much as I'd like to because of my recent fall...but I have to put the past behind and keep my eyes on Christ the Author and Finisher of my faith.

It's like the story of the young man running at the Olympics - the one thought destined to win. When he fell, the crowd watched in stunned silence wondering what would happen. His father arose from the stands and raced on to the track and with his arms around his son, ran with him, carrying him to the finish line. That's what God does for me. It's what He longs to do for you. Deuteronomy 1:31 says, "The Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son". He bounds from the stands, picks us up and carries us to the finish line. How great is our God!

The next time you roll up a "Please Play Again" be thankful. Rejoice in knowing we have a God who forgives and allows us to 'play again'.

1 comment:

Renee Swope said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and telling me about yours. I am glad you re-posted this so I could read your story about getting up after falling. What an encouraging reminder!!