Thank God for Second Chances
I read about an All-American center for the University of California (Berkeley) football team, the Golden Bears, who was a star player in the Grand Final game of the 1929 season played in the famous Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. His name? Roy Riegals.
Excitement and tension ran high as the California Golden Bears and the Yellowjackets from Georgia Tech battled for victory. Roy played both offense and defense. Close to the end of the first half, a Tech player fumbled the ball. Roy saw his chance, scooped up the loose ball, and bolted towards the goal 65 yards away.
There was one problem however. Roy was running toward the wrong goal!
Fortunately, one of his teammates went after him in hot pursuit and managed to tackle him just before he crossed the opposition's goal line!
It's hard to even imagine the embarrassment and shame that Roy must have felt there on the field with thousands of startled eyes focused on him, then walking off the field with head hanging low, and sitting in the locker room with his teammates and coach during the half-time break. No doubt the thousands of spectators wondered what Coach Nibbs Price would do with him.
The man who never made a mistake
never made anything.
In the locker room the dead silence was broken only by the sobs of the All-American star.
Then Coach Price announced, "Men, the same team that started the first half will start the second half." Roy, with red face and swollen eyes blurted out, "Coach, I can't do it. I've ruined you. I've ruined the University of California. I've ruined myself. I couldn't face that crowd in the stadium to save my life."
"Get up, Roy," the coach said. "Go back on. The game is only half over." Riegals was given a second chance, accepted it, returned to the game and gave one of the most inspiring individual efforts in Rose Bowl history!
Probably many of us can, at least to some degree, identify with Roy Riegals. I certainly can. I've made my share of "going the wrong way mistakes." I remember making a big one on a construction site years ago. I felt terrible but my boss said to me, "The man who never made a mistake never made anything!" I've never forgotten his supportive words. I try to remember them when others around me make mistakes, too.
I'm thankful, too, that God is a God of second chances (third and fourth and many more too). The classic story in the Bible where God gives one of his servants a second chance is the one about Jonah. God was deeply concerned about the city of Nineveh where evil was running rampant and destroying the people.
God "spoke" to Jonah and Jonah got the message loud and clear that he was to go to Nineveh to warn the people there about their self-destructive wicked ways and to turn from these to God.
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