One More Chance to Get It Right

By B.J. Funk –

B.J. Funk

B.J. Funk

Nicky Cruz  thought he didn’t matter to anyone. Born to Puerto Rican parents who practiced witchcraft, Nicky suffered physical and mental abuse from their devil practices. His fate was sealed when his mother, in a trance, declared Nicky to be the “Son of Satan.” At 16, he became a member of a Brooklyn street gang known as the Mau Maus, named after a bloodthirsty African tribe. In only six months, he became their president, and fearlessly ruled the streets of Brooklyn, lost in drugs, alcohol and violence.

He was arrested numerous times and declared by a court-ordered psychiatrist as “headed to prison, the electric chair and hell.” That’s when a young street preacher named David Wilkerson stepped in, showing Nicky something he had never known before, a love that would not quit. Nicky beat him up, spit on him and threatened his life.

David was the first person to present the love of God to Nicky Cruz, and each time they met, Nicky wanted nothing to do with David or his Jesus. At one point when he threatened David, Nicky was overwhelmed with David’s response. “You could cut me up in little pieces, and every one of those pieces would still love you.” Eventually the Gospel’s message broke through the iron chains around Nicky’s heart. Run Baby Run tells the story of Nicky’s conversion and of his own involvement in bringing others to Christ.

His book, along with a few others, changed my life. Seeking a deeper walk with Jesus during a difficult season, I swam inside of each sentence like a starving fish looking for food. I dove into splashes of water, wanting to be completely drenched in a baptism of new life.

Country music group Rascal Flatts states it best in a song called “Changed” about second chances, beginning the day of the writer’s baptism: “I came up out of the water, raised my hands up to the Father; Gave it all to Him that day, felt a new wind kiss my face. Walked away, eyes wide open; Could finally see where I was going. It didn’t matter where I’d been, I’m not the same man I was then. Got off track, made mistakes, backslid my way into that place where souls get lost, lines get crossed, and the pain won’t go away; I hit my knees, now here I stand; there I was, now here I am, Here I am, changed.

These words capture the essence of hope that all of us need. We are not bound by mistakes of our past, nor held captive to horrid reminders of who we used to be. We are – all of us – given many chances to get it right. After realizing how his mistakes had brought pain to others, a young man said to me, “I wish I could get that night back.”

Who of us has not wished the same? We said something in haste, did something we would never do had we been rational. We hurt our family and friends, and now we live with the reminder of who we were. Someone, however, decided to give us one more chance to get it right, and it was in that  moment that we finally found who we were. Created for much more than the gutter, we had to crawl there before a brilliant light lured us upward and told us we didn’t have to stay. We never even belonged there! Hallelujah!

Billy Graham’s schoolteacher told his mother, “Billy will never amount to anything.” In response, his daddy gave Billy his share of loving discipline, and afterward gave him one more chance to get it right. Today, he has one of the largest ministries in history.

A teacher told Albert Einstein ‘s father, “It doesn’t matter what he does, he will never amount to anything.” Albert Einstein became the greatest scientist of the 20th century. It sounds like the next teacher gave Einstein another chance to get it right.

God’s Word sets the standard high for another chance: “Forgive 70 times seven,” indicating an endless continuum.

To the woman caught in adultery, Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” In the parable of the Prodigal Son, the father welcomed the son home, happy to give him one more chance to get it right. Job says in chapter 33:29, “God gives each of us chance after chance.”

Is there a prodigal in your life, a child who has left home, embarrassed you, turned away from your values? Try, if you dare, to count the number of  “one more chances” your Heavenly Father has given you. Then, place an equal number in your heart, and let the 70 times seven begin.

Comments

  1. Thanks you for sharing this article. Right now I am praying for my oldest son who ran away from a place he was staying to help me with his behavior and drug abuse. It has not been an easy road these last couple of months. But your article reminds me that God is a God of second chances and I just need to keep on praying and loving him as he goes through this rebellious period in his life. I am not giving up on him, because God does not give up on us. When God sent him to my husband and I 5 years ago , we decided we would love him and point him to Jesus our Lord and Savior. Now, I have to be patient and trust God as my son wrestles with his inner demons. I also personally heard Nicky Cruz many years ago at a church in Los Angeles. What a testimony he shared with us about his own struggles.

  2. BJ, Good words for us all! Thanks, Parson

  3. bobkanary@sbcglobal.net says

    A fine word on the power of the good news… Romans 1:16. I want to remember the verdicts on Nicky C, Billy G, and Albert E. Jesus verdict in John 8:1 is the one we claim for our lives. Thanks and write on.

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