I fail a lot.
If you don’t believe me, ask my wife. She has taken the brunt of it over the past 16 years. I have spent much of this night trying to think of a good story I could tell, about my own personal failure that would be just bad enough to give you the sense that I am being uber authentic, but not bad enough that you would lose all respect for me…
The problem is, I have more stories to tell that seem to fall into the second category, so instead of making this read an awkward one, I am just going to go with…
I fail a lot.
Sorry that is so ambiguous, but it will have to suffice for now, and it does for my 13th gift of advent…
The gift of second chances…
When it comes to earthly relationships, second chances, when we fail in the worst ways, gives us a little taste of the power of forgiveness. When we do something that forces us to a place where we become acutely aware of how little we deserve, something happens in our hearts. We learn the power of second chances.
Whether we receive a second chance in that moment, or not, we still sense the power of it. But nothing is as freeing and life-giving as being granted another chance, when we deserve to be cast aside, given up on and dismissed from the privileges of “Good standing.”
This is the power of advent.
The birth of Jesus, was the choice of a perfect God, to reach out to a fallen people. But it wasn’t the first reaching out. In fact, the entire history of God’s relationship to mankind is littered with Man’s failure in the face of God’s faithfulness. Over and over, God reaches out, says, “I love you,” says, “I forgive you,” and over and over, mankind says, “Nah, I would rather do it my own way.”
The birth of Jesus then, is not just a second chance, it is the final second chance, in a long line of second chances. It is the exclamation point on these words from Hebrews 8:12…
“For I will be merciful to their iniquities, And I will remember their sins no more.”
The birth of Jesus, reveals this aspect of God’s character that simply does not align with anything we, as human beings understand about relationships.
As much as I have touted my wife’s willingness to forgive my failures, and give me second chances, I know full well that there is a point that her tolerance for my perpetual failure would find its end. There is a point where she would walk away… and she should. This reality is what make’s God’s patience so incredibly life changing…
Humans don’t hang on this long
Humans don’t forgive this much
Humans give up
Humans let go
Humans move on.
God does not. Ever.
The last thing I want to do with this post is give you some kind of “get out of jail free card.” To see God’s grace and forgiveness as such would be the greatest of all tragedies, and would miss the point of it entirely.
But, if your heart can connect with the reality of God’s willingness to give you limitless second chances, and not allow it to create in you a sense of entitlement, or a license to just go sinning your brains out, it could be the most life-changing reality you ever experience.
You cannot mess up so bad that God would give up on you.
There is no end to God’s patience with your brokenness.
There is nothing you can do, to be too far gone, that the grace of God cannot find you.
There is no limit to how far He will go, so that you might actually embrace and walk in this powerful reality.
He came to earth. He came on the first Christmas, over 2,000 years ago. He became one of us. He left all His positional authority in heaven, to chase down your freedom. Because He loves you that much. Because He won’t ever quit on you.
It brings extra meaning for me this advent season, to some words I have often heard, even quoted, and maybe never fully embraced…
“There is now, NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
It’s true. Our God, is the God of second chances. As many as you are willing to take.
We are, a people of the Second Chance, and HE is the God of second chances.