One More Last Chance
By Dr. Mike Murphy
He stood in silence, as he had so many times before. His future now rested in the hands of the one he stood before. A judge that not only knew him by name, but knew his history well. A man who knew all the good he had once done, all the ways he had once looked to shape the lives of those around him. Offering a new way, a hope to so many, who had thought all hope was lost.
He could not remember the exact day, but through the years his focus had somehow become lost. Corners were cut, exceptions were made. Laws he had once held dear, he found himself breaking easily. Justifying his actions today, so he could continue to break the same laws tomorrow.
With each new day, he could feel his past slipping away. Finding himself committing acts he once stood so firmly against. Breaking laws he had once worked so hard to help uphold. And day by day, it had become a little easier, weighing a little less on his conscience, as he found himself breaking those laws more and more.
So many times he had stood in front of the judge, and so many times he had pleaded for mercy. Promising he would change, promising he would return to the man he had once been. Promising he would never be found in this position again. Seeking a false forgiveness from this judge, as he knew his heart had not changed, and his desire had remained the same.
So many times he had wondered, “What right does this man have to judge me?”. “Who gives this man the privilege to tell me what I am doing is right or wrong?”. He had all but convinced himself he knew best what he wanted, what he needed, and did not need this man controlling his life, trying to tell him what he could and could not do.
But as he stood in front of this judge this time, he realized in the depths of his heart that all his words, all his past good actions, were now lost. And if this judge would just have mercy on him today, forgive him one more time, he had to make the most of the it. One more last chance to get back to where he was before. To again be the man he was once so proud to be.
In the scenario I have just painted, many may think the man I mention as fictitious. But what if I told you the one standing in front of the judge was just as real as you and me. Not a man, but a name being held accountable we all know well. As the one on trail is all of us, this country called America we are all a part of. And the judge we see standing over all this, is no simple man. But the One Judge, who stands above all judges.
For years, this Judge has warned us, so many times being seen as incredibly merciful with us. A mercy far greater than any of us would ever be capable of offering. Time after time, trying to warn us, seeking so hard to change us, to restore us to what He once saw in us. But for all the love He has for us, for every opportunity He has used to work through us, He still must remain just, and uphold the law He has placed in front of us.
As I look around us today, and as all of us stand in front of Him as He looks out at this nation, I cannot help but feel, we have one more last chance. One more last chance to return to the purpose that was put in place as He helped our Founding Fathers create us. The amazing things He accomplished through us, as He used this nation to bring the Good News to this world like no other country ever has before.
One more last chance to find our knees. One more last chance to again be that “shining light on a hill” we so proudly proclaimed to be. An example to this world of the hope, the freedom, the opportunity that comes when we closely follow the path He has placed in front of us. One more last chance to rewrite His laws on our heart, as His Word is the focus our eyes again see. One more last chance to protect the most innocent among us, and to return to our society the morals and the principles that only He could teach us. One more last chance to remember the two greatest of commandments He taught us, calling on us to love the Lord with all our heart, our mind, and our soul) Matthew 22:36-38), and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:39-40). Knowing that if we are found doing each, no more last chance would have to be given.
As we look at the grip this pandemic has on our nation today, I cannot help but wonder if a glimpse of that “one more last chance” is hiding underneath. A time when all the hecticness of this world has been suddenly removed from us, giving us a moment to once again be still, and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10). A pause for us to remember again that He is exalted above the nations, that He is in control. A quiet moment, that gives us a chance to talk to Him again. To remember, He is our greatest need, and His love for us desires for Him to be our greatest want. A quiet moment for us to cast aside all the chaos, as we face the reality of the moment and realize, our hope and our future does not rest in our government’s hands. Our hope, our future, can only be found in His hand. A hope for tomorrow that starts with us finding our knees in front of Him today.
I plead with this nation, I beg of this nation, do not let this one more last chance slip you by. In these troubling times, as we look to pull our family and our friends close, please look to pull Him even closer. Cherish the love He has for each of us, and the plans and purpose He has found in us, as a nation. Please do not again test the patience He has so lovingly shown us, but look to return to the arms He is holding out for us. And in the face of these troublesome times, please do not think a virus is the greatest threat to us, as an even greater disease infects this country. A disease that once it infects, looks to leave nothing but victims behind, as it spreads through our society like a raging fire. But unlike this virus, this disease of sin has a well-known cure that does not even require a prescription for us to obtain. As all it requires is for us to turn to Him, as we humble ourselves in front of Him. A cure that only requires for this nation, for all of us, to make the most of this “one more last chance”.
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” – Proverbs 19:21