Second Chances (Hebrews 4:16)

“How did you like operating with the Chief of Surgery?”

“I was so nervous and intimidated. Didn’t want to screw up! He did allow me to retract.”

My surgery resident smiled. “Good going! He’s the man!”

I was a third year medical student doing my general surgery rotation. I heard stories from other students who had the privilege to operate on the same case with the Chief of Surgery. All told me that he was always friendly and encouraging, sometimes conversing about their family backgrounds. 

“I love that man!”

I nodded and weakly smiled. I respected the Chief but could not say I loved him. 

“I guess you don’t know my story?

I shook my head. “We have a few minutes, let me tell you.” We were outside the surgical ICU, just finished rounding on our patients. He pointed to one of the ICU beds. “That was me. I was an alcoholic and doing drugs. I was a mess and I finally ended up in this ICU in a coma and renal failure.”

I was stunned by his admission. “When did this happen?”

“Several years ago, but it happened when I was a first year surgery resident in this program. After I recovered, I was told I was fired and my medical license was suspended. I had ruined my life, even thought of suicide. Lots of people helped me including AA. Once I was completely sober for over a year, I approached the Chief. I begged him to give me another chance.”

“Wow. Well, obviously he did.”

He let out a deep sigh. “It wasn’t easy, I burned all my bridges. But the Chief went to bat for me and allowed me to work in his research lab. He also helped me to get my medical license reinstated, allowing me to work in some free clinics. The most difficult part was convincing the other attendings in the residency program to give me a second chance. Long road back.”

He looked down the hospital corridor filled with scurrying people. “I will always love that man!”

Second chances.

The Bible is reality, replete with numerous examples of God giving second chances to those who love Him. Joseph forgave his brothers for selling him to traders; the Prophet Jonah rescued from being swallowed by a great fish to complete his preaching to the city of Nineveh; the Apostle Peter forgiven by Jesus Christ after denying Him three times. It is a theme that is repeated and for good reason. This is our lives, our stories. We have all failed, in relationships with others, with God, or both. If there were no second chances, no willingness on the other party to forgive and accept, all of us would remain mired in our failures, never to recover.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV)

Is it any wonder why I love my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? He forgives my sins when I confess and repent of them. It is only by His grace and mercy that I am given another chance to serve Him another day and spread the Good News of Salvation in His Name. 

I love the God-Man, Jesus Christ.

Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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