Second-Chance God

He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:29-31

I began to put on a little weight a couple of years ago. This, without any obvious changes in my diet or exercise. My doctor told me, “Well, that’s middle age for you.” (She put it a little more politely than that, but that’s the message that came through.) So I’ve been watching my diet and trying to get more exercise. I’ve also begun to notice health and fitness articles in the news more than I used to.

A recent survey suggests that even the oldest people benefit from exercise. The 3-year survival rate for active 85-year olds is three times as high as the rate for sedentary ones. (“Active,” in this study, is four hours’ exercise a week, and the “exercise” didn’t have to be lifting weights or running marathons: it could be as simple as taking a couple of 15-minute walks a day.)

That’s encouraging to me. But another finding was even more interesting: It’s never too late to start. Even 85-year olds who became more active after a lifetime of sedentary living still had double the survival rate of their inactive counterparts!

There are so many things in our culture that tell us the opposite message. It’s too late to change. The die is cast. We’ve made our beds and now we have to lie in them. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Our faith teaches us that’s a lie. It’s never too late to change, because our God is a God of second chances. “Remember me when you come into your kingdom,” the thief said, and Jesus replied, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:42-43)

But it’s not just about eternal life. Or, rather, eternal life isn’t just about life after death. Eternal life is a new kind of life that we experience in Christ now, and will continue to enjoy after death. The Apostle Paul put it this way: “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”

Where are you experiencing that newness in your own life?

Maybe you could take up a new pastime.

Maybe you can let bygones be bygones, and forgive an old enemy.

Maybe you can invest in a new relationship.

Or perhaps you’re like one of those people in the study who has been living a sedentary life, and you could become more active.

I’d love to hear ways you’re experiencing newness in your life. And until next time, be a blessing!