1-2 Next, God spoke to Jonah a second time: "Up on your feet and on your way to the big city of Nineveh! Preach to them. They're in a bad way and I can't ignore it any longer." 3 This time Jonah started off straight for Nineveh, obeying God's orders to the letter. (Jonah 3:1-3 The Message)
Jonah did not listen the first time. Sound like anyone else we might know? He preferred his own way over God's and look where it got him! First, there was this storm. Then a whole bunch of guys turn on him. If this is not enough, he ends up overboard, swallowed by a fish! Okay...our running from God may not have landed us in such an "interesting" place, but I guess we have had some of those moments we'd all call "God putting us right where we need to be" in order to get our attention!
It is only when God gets our attention that we actually realize we even need a second chance! We have to recognize we have acted wrong if we ever expect to act right! Unfortunately, the point between the wrong choice and the realization of how far it has taken us off-course may be longer than we realize.
In the period of time between the choice to do wrong and the actions which lead up to us realizing the wrong choice, a whole lot of things may happen. We may make a whole series of wrong choices - leading to a whole series of wrong actions. We may engage others in our journey - or at least see them affected by them!
The good news is God cares enough about each of us to prepare a point in time for a second chance! The grace of God pursues us until we actually realize we have need for it! Grace and love are really "intertwined" character traits of God. Where you see his love, you also observe his grace in action. Where grace abound, his love is up close and personal! To be embraced by grace is to be embraced in love! To realize God's love, you only need to look as far as his grace.
How far have you traveled from where God intended for you to be today? Regardless of the distance you have placed between you and God's plan for your life, the road is clearly marked with all kinds of "grace stones". They are like little stepping stones back to the place we got off track! When we look close enough, we see his "grace" all along the way. He has pursued us all along the way - those "grace stones" are actually his evidence of his footsteps in pursuit of us!
I understand God's grace because I have needed it so often. I appreciate his love because it has embraced me over and over again. The tendency to need his grace is still there in my life, no matter how many times I have experienced it! I still make wrong choices - but I hope the distance between the first wrong step and the realization of my need to turn back into his arms is not as far! He is indeed a God of second chances - rich in grace! If you find yourself in need of following his "grace stones" right back into his awaiting arms, don't hesitate today!
You know what a second chance is? It is kind of like when we were kids and we played a game of four-square or hopscotch. We'd throw the ball outside the line or the pebble would end up skittering across the path instead of landing in the intended square. Someone would call, "Do over!" We were getting a second chance! Someone extended grace! Isn't it just like our loving God to call, "Do over!" when we need it most? So, if you hear his voice extending "do overs" today, take it!