Generally I believe that a person’s past is the best indicator of his or her future. The general problem with generalities is that there are generally exceptions.
The reason is that history reveals that nearly every person who achieved anything of note had a past which bore little resemblance to their actual futures.
This is good news for people like me – I’m no exception – and perhaps it’s good news for you too.
If you’ve given up on who you once dreamed you would become one day, here’s some good news: God is in the business of giving people ‘seconds’ – a second chance, a second wind, a second half.
It seems that God loves to sovereignly change the direction of people…
• Saul is a stunning example of how a person’s past bears no resemblance to their actual future.
• Moses is another example.
• David is yet another example.
• Each of the faithful disciples is an example.
• Throughout history we see this over and over… John Calvin, Count Nicolas Ludwig von Zinzendorf, John Wesley, William Wilberforce, Thomas Chalmers, F W Boreham, Billy Graham, Ravi Zacharias… all had moments where they got a second go at life.
God gives seconds to people
Do you need God to give you a second?
God’s seconds don’t just begin at our conversion to Christ. To be sure, our conversion to Christ is a dramatic turning point in our lives when we genuinely repent – ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come’ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Being converted to Christ is not necessarily about ‘making a decision’ or ‘praying the sinner’s prayer’ – it’s about what God does in your life and the fruit that results from it.
Conversion is not the only second a person can experience from God…
You may be stuck in life, in a rut, have given up. You may have given up on finding happiness, on your marriage, your weight, your addiction to food, your ability to get organised, your pursuit of a job or a better career, or your spiritual progress.
I understand what this feels like. I’m a pastor who longs to see more people find hope and purpose through knowing Jesus Christ and connecting in a wholesome way with the community of Christ-followers (the church).
Examples from life
I frequently think of a man named Harland (pictured below).
The governor of Kentucky loved his cooking so much he made him a ‘Colonel of Kentucky.’ Then in 1955 at the age of 65 he began to see his long-held dream come to fruition as his business was franchised across America.
In 1960 he sold his business for two million dollars, and the new owners chose to maintain Harland Sander’s face in their marketing of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Harland Saunders died in 1980 at the ripe old age of 90 having seen his dream extend around the world and for his face to be one of the most recognised on the planet even to this day.
In modern times we find that ‘a second’ even among business leaders – Ingvar Kamprad (the founder of IKEA), and Nicolas Hayek (founder of SWATCH). Both men started off their lives in a certain direction which bore little resemblance to how they ended up living their lives.
The second thing about seconds
Thinking about such ‘second chance’ people makes me wonder if God might have ‘a second’ ahead for us.
But I’m encouraged to think God might when I consider most of those he redeemed in the Bible!
• Moses was a washed-up desert goat-herder in his 40s when he remembered ‘his dream’ to unite his Hebrew kin and deliver them out of Egypt.
• David was a teenage boy, the youngest of seven brothers, given the lowliest job of his day – staying out nights on end looking after the family’s few sheep, when he dreamed of uniting Israel’s fragmented tribes and securing its borders.
• Saul of Tarsus had a dream of being a great rabbi and leading Israel back to full devotion to the one true God when he was a young boy.
In one sense it looked like each of these men had their dreams dashed by life’s disappointments. It looked like their efforts in the first half of their lives was wasted effort and counted for nothing. But this was not true.
• God was honing Moses’ leadership both in the palace of Pharaoh and the backside of the desert.
• God was skilling the warrior in David when he was bullied by his older brothers and harassed by wolves and bears as he guarded his few sheep.
• God was investing into Saul wisdom, knowledge and literature so that he could become the apostle Paul.
Trials, setbacks, and disappointments in life are not wasted years!
God is preparing us for our second half! The farmer who sows his seed in autumn might despair that winter has destroyed his potential crops, but then spring and harvest-time come!
Life has its winters but God also brings about our springs! This is the second thing about seconds – the more you faithfully sow in the first half, the more fruit you’ll harvest in your second!
Dr Andrew Corbett is National President at ICI Theological College Australia, an avid reader/researcher, Christian apologist and author pastoring Legana Christian Church, Tasmania. Link: Twitter: DrAndrewC / firstname.lastname@example.org / http://www.andrewcorbett.net