Second Chances
© Betty Sue Eaton
A Christian Grief Ministry
Life is full of opportunities, chances to succeed in whatever endeavor one might aspire to. On
the other hand, life also holds regular occurrences of missed attempts at achieving goals,
errors in timing or judgment. These conditions are never more true than in relationships
whatever kind they may be. We begin a new job and vow that this time we are going to try
harder to fulfill any task that might come our way; we swear that we are not going to fall into
the office gossip circle, never are going to be late showing up for a full days work for our full
day's pay. But with the passage of time, we become jaded at the routine and slack off on our
vows and promises to ourselves to do better.

These broken promises may have results we can’t or do not wish to deal with, and we
find ourselves regretting the change of situation. So we have to either make another move to
another place of employment or grit our teeth, take a deep breath and try a little harder to live
up to our own private expectations. This is never truer than in personal relationships: Dealing
with a husband or wife, a child or in-law, a friend or sibling.

I have experienced that truth just recently when my younger brother died very unexpectedly
of a massive heart attack leaving all of his siblings in total shock. With each one of us, we all
wished we could have been kinder in our younger years to him. We all wished we had taken
advantage of missed opportunities to visit him and his family even though it would have been
at a great deal of time and expense to do so. He lived half way across the continent from all
of us so we missed the chances to visit and get to know his life better. Now there are no more
chances to make up for them. He is gone.

One sister, bitter because of the turmoil that separated us as young adults, stated that she
didn't feel as though she had lost a brother because he never visited her or even called in all
the years of absence from one another. But she likewise hadn't made any attempt to visit or
call herself. All chances to reconnect are passed now and can never be recovered.

Only in the past two years had my brother and I lived near enough to each other for frequent
visits, getting reacquainted and loving every moment we could spend together. We were
taking every opportunity to make phone calls catching up on the past week's events. It was
as sweet as our early childhood when things were happy and carefree. I am very saddened
that our time of sharing was so brief.

But that is how life is: God told us that no one knows the day or hour when everything will be
required of us and our life on earth will be complete. We will be called home to live with Him
in heaven forever if we have accepted that His son, Jesus Christ, is our personal savior, and
that He died on the cross for our sins which will all be forgiven.

A young woman in our church lost her father recently to cancer after a long arduous fight.
When I asked how she was coping, she answered, "I am at peace with his going. We had
talked many times and had said our goodbyes. He was calm, with no pain, and was ready to
meet his Lord. His passing was peaceful."

If you have lost a loved one and are regretting the lost chances to tell them all you wanted to
say, to make amends for past grievances or missed opportunities to show your love for them,
I can only tell you that if you take those regrets to God in prayer, you will be forgiven. Those
acts are totally human and we all engage in them from time to time. God tells us that trusting
in Him will erase all hurts, will heal all heartaches, and make us whole as He meant us to be.
When we go to Him in prayer, He is with us; he hears the pain in our pleas and holds us near
to His heart as a lost and hurting child is held by a loving parent. He is our Father who loves
us with an everlasting love that we can only imagine. He created us to be happy, to be one of
a family of loving parents and siblings. He wants to bear children to fulfill our purpose on
earth as He commanded.

Sadness is a word that God didn't create; we created it because we have not been in control
of the substance of life; God is. We cannot control the number of days and years our loved
ones will be with us here on this earthly plain. God does. We cannot control the
circumstances which arise in our everyday loves much to our discomfort. God does. Regret is
another word we coined to describe the ache when we realize we haven't been as loving,
considerate, or caring about others as He would have us be. But He also created us with a
plan for our lives in place even before we left our mother's womb, even at our conception, He
knew long ago how we would live, what we would face and when we would succeed. Those
things are part of His plan for us.

It is also His plan that we should come to Him for forgiveness which He will generously give.
He is embracing our lost loved ones as we share our grief in this short time. In heaven there
is no pain, no sadness, no regrets, just glorious praising of our Lord and Master for all
eternity just as our loved ones are doing right now. Give your missed chances and lost
opportunities to Him and rely on His promises to welcome us Home to be with Him in heaven.
That is our second chance. That is all we need or ever will need. Trust in Him, He promised.
~ Betty


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