• Jon Forrest

The God of second chances

The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest

The God of Second Chances



“On New Year’s Day, 1929, Georgia Tech played University of California in the Rose Bowl. In that game a man named Roy Riegels recovered a fumble for California. Somehow, he became confused and started running 65 yards in the wrong direction. One of his teammates, Benny Lom, ran him down and tackled him just before he scored for the opposing team. When California attempted to punt, Tech blocked the kick and scored a safety which was the ultimate margin of victory. Many folks know about the infamous play of this man who was eventually called “Wrong-way Roy Riegels. But you may not know what happened next.


Everyone who was watching the game was asking the same question: “What will Coach Nibbs Price do with Roy Riegels in the second half?” The men filed off the field and went into the dressing room. They sat down on the benches and on the floor, all but Riegels. He put his blanket around his shoulders, sat down in a corner, put his face in his hands, and cried like a baby. If you have played football, you know that a coach usually has a great deal to say to his team during half time. That day Coach Price was quiet. No doubt he was trying to decide what to do with Riegels. Then the timekeeper came in and announced that there were three minutes before playing time. Coach Price looked at the team and said simply, “Men the same team that played the first half will start the second.” The players got up and started out, all but Riegels. He did not budge. The coach looked back and called to him again; still he didn’t move. Coach Price went over to where Riegels sat and said, “Roy, didn’t you hear me? The same team that played the first half will start the second.” Then Roy Riegels looked up and his cheeks were wet with a strong man’s tears. “Coach,” he said, “I can’t do it to save my life. I’ve ruined you, I’ve ruined the University of California, and I’ve ruined myself. I couldn’t face that crowd in the stadium to save my life.” Then Coach Price reached out and put his hand on Riegel’s shoulder and said to him: “Roy, get up and go on back; the game is only half over.” Roy Riegels went back, and those Tech men will tell you that they have never seen a man play football the way Roy Riegels played that second half.” Roy made the most of a second chance.


There is not a person alive who has not needed a second chance. I have told many folks about how the first time I took Greek class at Dallas Christian College, I flopped. I made an “F.” I went to Professor Dr. Mark Berrier and told him I didn’t think I deserved that grade. He looked at me and told me, “I know, but that was the lowest grade I could give you.” We laughed and then he got serious. He told me he could have given me a “D,” but then I would have dropped to a lower degree program that required fewer hours of biblical languages and I would have settled for less. My receiving an “F” forced me to re-take the class. When I took it again, I made and “A” and ended up with a minor in biblical languages. My senior year he asked me to teach Greek Lab classes to first year Greek students. The students told me that I explained it better than most. I told them the reason was because I had learned all the wrong ways first. While I didn’t really appreciate the professor’s decision at first, I realized that he had given me a second chance that made a real difference in my life.


The Bible is filled with situations where God gave people a second chance. God gave the people of Nineveh a second chance to repent by sending his prophet, Jonah, to preach to them. He gave Jonah a second chance by calling him again, after he had attempted to run away from God’s call.


Do you remember, Peter, who denied knowing Jesus Christ when his Lord was on trial? After Christ’s resurrection he confronted Peter and restored this embarrassed disciple to the ministry of feeding the flock of God.


When Jesus Christ went to the cross and died for the sins of the world, He gave every one of us a second chance to have a relationship with God and eternal life that had been lost because of our sinful lives. We were dead, but He made it possible for us to be alive.

Have you messed up your life and now feel like you deserve to lose it all? Do you feel like you are worthless because of your past failures? In fact, do you feel like you are nothing more than a miserable failure? I have news for you…

We serve the God of second chances.

He never gives up on you. He will give you second chances, third chances, fourth chances and every chance you need because He loves you more than even you do.


This Sunday we will look at the second chance Jesus gave to his disciple, Simon Peter when he had failed his Lord miserably. I will bring a message from John 21:15-19 titled, “Restored to Serve.” Come and see how God can do for you what He did for failed Simon Peter.


Thankful for second chances,

Jon

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