I should step down as the coordinator of the Young Minister’s Teaching School, I told my Pastor. I had been in a whirlwind of a relationship with a young lady for 8 months of romance and it had crashed. Christian standards 30 years ago gave no room for such failures among Christian leaders. The YMTS of which I was coordinator was central to my Pastor’s vision of training an army of young men and women for the End Time move of God. Although I was incredibly young as many others, the mantle of leadership fell on me by default and I was supposed to be an example to others. Breaking up with the young lady who at that time was obviously spiritually immature and unfit for my responsibilities meant I missed God’s direction and was a dent in my reputation. One of my YMTS colleagues lamented, how are the mighty fallen! That is an example of the anathema a broken courtship was at the time. Why do you want to resign asked my Pastor? ‘Just because you failed once does not make a failure out of you. Continue to handle your responsibilities’. He gave me a second chance.
The title of this article was inspired by a book written by a healing evangelist and former President of Oral Roberts University, Richard Roberts. He married an immature 20-year-old man in what became an apparent mismatch with a young lady. They struggled very hard to make their marriage work but it collapsed after 10 years. With a biblical understanding that he should stay unmarried for the rest of his life, he focused on the work of the ministry, only to find himself falling in love again and God asking him to marry the lady. Totally afraid it would cost him eternity and the condemnation of the Christian world, he hesitated till the revered prophet of God, Kenneth E Hagin was speaking at the university chapel one morning and prophesied about how God was leading a young man and a young lady to marry each other but they had doubts. The man of God encouraged them by prophecy to marry because it was of the Lord. It may not agree with your theological position like it did not his own initiative but that marriage which has lasted about 40 years has been an anointed partnership that has blessed multitudes around the world. God gave him a second chance.
Called by God to lead Israel into the promised land, Joshua embraced his destiny with exceptional courage. The wall of the fortified city of Jericho was so massive, that 13 horsemen could ride on its side by side. Under the leadership of Joshua, the walls fell flat, and just as God commanded, every man and beast was killed and the city utterly destroyed. Buoyed by that victory, Joshua led the army to invade Ai. It was supposed to be a lesser challenge but Joshua was shocked at the defeat he and his army suffered. With thousands of his men killed, Joshua was shocked and shamed. The unbearable failure led him to seek God by fasting and God revealed Achan, one of his soldiers had stolen and hidden Babylonian garments from Jericho. The accursed thing was in the midst of Israel, provoking God’s anger against the nation. Achan and his household had to be eliminated before Joshua returned to battle. Laying an ambush against God’s instruction, Ai was completely annihilated. Joshua won where he had lost, succeeded where he failed, and rejoiced where he cried. God gave Joshua a second chance.
The night the Lord Jesus would be betrayed was quite eventful on every front. After a scuffle among them for leadership succession in the face of Christ’s imminent departure, he taught them one of the greatest lessons ever on leadership by taking the place of a slave and washing the dusty feet of each and every one of them as house slaves would do in ancient Israel. He broke bread with them and introduced the new covenant he was about to mediate to them. He prayed at Gethsemane while they slept until he allowed himself to be arrested by soldiers who initially fell to the ground under the power of His Spirit. At the Passover meal he had with them earlier, he had told Simon Peter he would betray him that night. Simon swore heaven and earth it would never happen. Before the cock crowed in the wee hours of the morning, Peter had denied he even knew Jesus three times. Heartbroken and penitent, Jesus entrusted the leadership of the church to him before ascending to heaven. Although Peter failed in the night Christ was betrayed, God eventually gave him a second chance.
It is typical of human beings to right you off after your first failure. It is normal for people to expect you to remain in defeat. It is human to label you by your last experience. The legalistic mind of many will misinterpret the Bible in order to keep you tied to your misery. They do not know what it feels like to be in your shoes. They cannot identify with your unique problems or the complexities of your peculiar challenges. They write you off and throw you into the dustbin of history. But I hear a voice saying if your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. If they are red like crimson, they shall be as white as wool. I hear a voice saying I will restore the years that the locusts have eaten, a voice of love, mercy, and of grace that refuses to give up on you. A voice called out to the backslider, ‘come back home. I see an outstretched arm waiting for you to come within its embrace as he received the prodigal son and gave him a second chance. I see a father’s heart that sees behind your actions at the tender heart that is ashamed of its own failures and wishes for another chance to right the wrong and it is the heart of the father who wants to give a second chance.
Do you feel like you missed divine direction in your life? Is your marriage irretrievably broken down or you have messed up morally and destroyed your reputation? Did you misuse an opportunity of ministry or have you lost precious time and wished you can unwind the hand of the clock? Is your business a failure and have your dreams fallen apart like a pack of cards? I want you to know failure is not final. That you have failed does not make you a failure. Separate failure as an event from failure as a person. It is okay to fail if only you fail forward. You fail forward when you learn the mistakes of the past enough to stop repeating them. You fail forward when you identify the missing link between your efforts and success and you add it. You fail forward when you refuse to stay down after a fall. You fail forward when you stop your journey in the wrong direction no matter how long you have traveled it. You fail forward when you have the courage to try again, start again, do it again. Never let the devil convince you it is over. It is not over until you win. God is the God of a second, third, and even more chances. Make a go at life again, I perceive you will succeed at the next move. God has another chance for you.