By Tim Gerber
As a child growing up, I enjoyed hearing and learning from the Bible. I often thought about how cool it was that the “star” of the Bible, God Himself, was perfect and holy in EVERY way, ALL of the time. It became even more interesting to realize that when He came down to earth in the flesh (Jesus Christ), nothing changed. He was still always perfect, all the time. No mistakes. He simply did things right the first time. He NEVER needed another chance!
What did often really make me wonder about were those that are listed in the supporting roles — boys, girls, men and women who, honestly, just never seemed to get it together. Think about it. The Bible is filled with people who let God and others down, from Adam to Cain to Abraham to Moses to David to Jezebel to Jonah to Thomas to Judas to Peter, and the list could go on and on. As a matter of fact, for those chosen few names found in God’s Word who do not have a failure attached to them, that only means one thing. Their failures simply aren’t included, not that they didn’t fail. Believe me, they all did.
Think about it. These people would make mistakes, fail, and just downright sin. I would find myself asking the question, “Why would God give such a prominent role in scripture to people who often don’t make very good examples?” And here was the kicker: “Why did God give them chance after chance to get up and try again?”
Well, the true answer to that question is that on this earth we may never know “Why?” One thing, however, is for certain. We can rest assured that it IS in His character to give second chances.
In Luke 13, Jesus told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”
What a great illustration of how merciful and forgiving our God is. Time and time again, He allows us to pick ourselves up out of our messes and place our feet at the starting line once again. That’s right, I said “us.” In all reality, we are made out of the same flesh that those “failures” in scripture were made out of.
I am convinced that one reason He uses non-perfect people as examples in scripture is to constantly show that He indeed IS the God of second chances. I’m so glad He was and still is for me!