The God Of The Second Chance

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The God of a Second Chance

 

young woman praying at a coffee table with a Bible on it

 

Terry Meeuwsen – cbn.com

I began working in television in Milwaukee in 1978. While I’d never set out to do talk TV, I felt at home from the beginning, and being in the public eye gave me many opportunities to share my faith. Because it was fairly common knowledge in the community that I was a Christian, the publicity of going through a divorce was difficult. That winter, I went home at the end of each day to a cold, silent house. Emotionally depressed and grieved, I would then climb into bed with my hat, coat, and boots still on and sleep till morning.

I’m not sure when that heavy veil of grief and emptiness began to lift. But sometime that spring, I became aware of the sweet smell of the wet earth beginning to thaw, the songs of promise that were being sung with such abandon from every nest and perch. I began to move on. I had no intention of dating and no interest in pursuing a new relationship. Though I loved children, I had accepted that there would be none in my first marriage. I was in my 30s, and the prospect of marriage and a family seemed remote and unlikely. Yet God had other plans.

I met Andy Friedrich at a retirement celebration for a coworker. He had gone through a divorce a number of years before that, and after much floundering and searching, a friend had led him to Christ. But no one had discipled him, so he had little knowledge of the Scriptures and wasn’t in a church or study group of any kind. Initially we met to talk about the Lord. In time, I grudgingly conceded to a date, but not without apprehension.

Even though Andy was ready for a relationship, I was still gun-shy—so he simply waited. With tenderness and kindness and an incredible amount of patience, he broke down any barriers I’d put up. He was faithful, trustworthy, and committed to the Lord and to me. We were married a little more than a year after we’d begun dating.

The Lord used Andy in many ways to help heal old wounds in me. He offered both of us a new beginning, a clean slate, a hope, and a future. And I’m now a mom—not one, not two, but seven children, each a precious, unique gift from the Lord. God has surely given me more than I could hope for or ask.

The story of Joseph in the book of Genesis is one of my favorites. Sold by his brothers into slavery, taken to a foreign land, unfairly accused and imprisoned, and with little hope or expectation of ever seeing his family again, Joseph was in what seemed an impossible situation. Despite all that, the Bible says, “The Lord was with him.”

God allowed the testing to build character in Joseph. Joseph went through years of waiting and suffering before he saw God’s plan in it all. God used Joseph to save Egypt, the surrounding nations, and Joseph’s own family. God’s plans and purposes are so much bigger and greater than our own.

At the end of his story, Joseph says,

“You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day” Genesis 50:20 (NKJV)

That same truth is reconfirmed in the book of Romans in the New Testament.

“All things work together for good to those who love God” Romans 8:28 (NKJV).

God is indeed, the God of second chances.

Streams in the Desert – January 20

  • 202320 Jan

Sorrow is better than laughter; for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better (Ecclesiastes 7:3).

When sorrow comes under the power of Divine grace, it works out a manifold ministry in our lives. Sorrow reveals unknown depths in the soul, and unknown capabilities of experience and service. Gay, trifling people are always shallow, and never suspect the little meannesses in their nature. Sorrow is God’s plowshare that turns up and subsoils the depths of the soul, that it may yield richer harvests. If we had never fallen, or were in a glorified state, then the strong torrents of Divine joy would be the normal force to open up all our souls’ capacities; but in a fallen world, sorrow, with despair taken out of it, is the chosen power to reveal ourselves to ourselves. Hence it is sorrow that makes us think deeply, long, and soberly.

Sorrow makes us go slower and more considerately, and introspect our motives and dispositions. It is sorrow that opens up within us the capacities of the heavenly life, and it is sorrow that makes us willing to launch our capacities on a boundless sea of service for God and our fellows.

We may suppose a class of indolent people living at the base of a great mountain range, who had never ventured to explore the valleys and canyons back in the mountains; and some day, when a great thunderstorm goes careening through the mountains, it turns the hidden glens into echoing trumpets, and reveals the inner recesses of the valley, like the convolutions of a monster shell, and then the dwellers at the foot of the hills are astonished at the labyrinths and unexplored recesses of a region so near by, and yet so little known. So it is with many souls who indolently live on the outer edge of their own natures until great thunderstorms of sorrow reveal hidden depths within that were never hitherto suspected.

God never uses anybody to a large degree, until after He breaks that one all to pieces. Joseph had more sorrow than all the other sons of Jacob, and it led him out into a ministry of bread for all nations. For this reason, the Holy Spirit said of him, “Joseph is a fruitful bough…by a well, whose branches run over the wall” (Gen. 49:22). It takes sorrow to widen the soul.
–The Heavenly Life

Words of expostulation

By Charles Spurgeon

“And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river?” Jeremiah 2:18

Suggested Further Reading: 2 Corinthians 6:14-7: 1

In the life of Madame Guyon, who, though professedly a Papist, one must ever receive as being a true child of God, I have read an anecdote something to this effect. She had been invited by some friends to spend a few days at the palace of St. Cloud. She knew it was a place full of pomp, and fashion, and, I must add, of vice also; but being over-persuaded by her friend, and being especially tempted with the idea that perhaps her example might do good, she accepted the invitation. Her experience afterwards should be a warning to all Christians. For some years that holy woman had walked in constant fellowship with Christ; perhaps none ever saw the Saviour’s face, and kissed his wounds more truly than she had done. But when she came home from St. Cloud, she found her usual joy was departed; she had lost her power in prayer; she could not draw near to Christ as she should have done. She felt in going to the lover of her soul as if she had played the harlot against him. She was afraid to hope that she could be received again to his pure and perfect love, and it took some months before the equilibrium of her peace could be restored, and her heart could yet again be wholly set upon her Lord. He that wears a white garment must mind where he walks when the world’s streets are as filthy as they are. He that has a thousand enemies must take care how he shows himself. He that has nothing on earth to assist him towards heaven should take care that he does not go where the world can help towards hell. O believer, keep clear of fellowship with this world, for the love of this world is enmity against God.

For meditation: Commonsense should tell us that when something clean and something unclean brush against one another, the unclean object is not improved but the clean object is changed for the worse (Haggai 2:11-14).

Come to the Table

From: Todays Devotion

  PSALM 23:1-6

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

—  Psalm 23:5

On our front lawn sits a turquoise picnic table. Behind it is a fence painted with a mural. When the weather turns warm, we use this table to invite our neighbors for coffee chats, street parties, and other fun events. During the winter, we decorate it with snow figures sitting at the table enjoying a meal. The picnic table is a sign of hospitality to our neighborhood. The invitation to come and be part of the gathering is intentional.

Psalm 23 is about intentional care and hospitality. It describes the important work of a faithful shepherd for his flock of sheep. Without a shepherd, the sheep would be hopelessly lost and afflicted by disease or predators. This psalm helps us see how the Lord is our shepherd and we are his sheep.

The mention of a table takes the relationship with God even deeper. The Lord prepares a banquet for us. Our host makes sure that everything is taken care of. When we sit at the table, we acknowledge that we can trust our host to sustain us with all he has provided. Full plates give us all we need while God protects us from the enemies around us.

The picnic table at our home is intended to refresh people’s spirits and give them a smile. May your heart be refreshed and encouraged as the Lord, your shepherd, prepares a table for you today.

Dear God, thank you for preparing a table for us. Thank you for refreshing us and giving us every­thing we need to live through the battles of this day. Amen.

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