Encouragement for Today - July 2, 2012


Samantha Reed

July 2, 2012

Another Chance
Samantha Reed

"My beloved spoke and said to me, 'Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me. See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.'" Song of Songs 2:10-11 (NIV)

These lyrics caught in my throat the first time I sang them: "I'll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon the cross."* I cried the ugly cry as I stared at my circumstances, ashamed.

I'd comprised big time in some areas and, until the warm truth of that song, I had turned a cold shoulder to the hope of forgiveness.

Shame convinced me I wasn't worthy of another chance.

Last summer I met a girl who needed a second or third chance. On a 75 degree, gorgeous-in-every-way-L.A. day, I served food on Skid Row with The Dream Center team. There I was, navigating pain and hypodermic needles. There she was, fidgeting outside the women's shelter of this concrete jungle.

She melded into the gray of her tattered sweatpants. Washed out and muted; buried under a cold world, away from the Light for far too long. Inching toward me, she stepped over others hibernating beneath cardboard boxes and frigid despair.

Try as I might, I couldn't catch her eye as she asked for help. Shame from past deeds had beaten her down. It made her doubt she was worthy of anything, much less another chance for a hot meal and cold drink.

This sweet woman had been pushed out of the food line. Unable to defend herself and in too much physical pain to stand in line again, she needed someone to make a way.

Together, we walked to the front of the food truck {not gonna lie, it was fun breezing past her bullies}. But I felt ridiculous handing her scrambled eggs and water. Cause surely, she needed so much more.

We all do at some point, don't we?

She needed to know this place didn't have to be her last stop. That what she'd done to land on Skid Row could be forgiven ... forgotten, even. This cold season could turn into a warmer one. I wanted to share this truth ...

"See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone." (Song of Songs 2:11 NIV)

Winter ... that gloomy season that should pass. But what if it lingers? What if one bad-for-us choice turns into 100 that beat us to our own Skid Row? What if mistakes convince us that we don't deserve another shot?

Been there? Me too. But letting the Light in melts our winter of doubt into a spring of hope.

What we've done doesn't dictate who we are. The truth is, what He's done makes us who we are: forgiven, hopeful and worthy of another chance. We may not feel we deserve a second shot. But Christ's sacrifice and our salvation through Him gives us one.

Never doubt, He'll always lead us past the bully of shame to the front of the line for so much more than eggs and water.

Dear Lord, it's hard to believe I'm worthy of another chance. But I'm taking a step of faith, choosing to accept that Your death means new life for me. I'll never know how much it cost, but I'm forever grateful. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Click here to read more about salvation through Jesus

Visit Samantha's blog for hope, encouragement and to enter to win The Cause Within You by Pastor Matthew Barnett, founder of The Dream Center.

Confessions of an Adulterous Christian Woman by Lyndell Hetrick Holtz

Reflect and Respond:
Is it difficult for you to believe you're worthy of another chance? It might be time to see a counselor or talk with a trusted Christian friend for help.

Jesus, You know just how far the east is from the west
I don't have to see the man I've been come rising up in me again
In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
'cause You know just how far the east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other

~Casting Crowns, East to West**

Power Verses:
Isaiah 12:1-2, "You will say in that day: 'I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.'" (ESV)

John 3:17-18b, "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned ..." (ESV)

*Light of the World (Here I am to Worship) by Tim Hughes. © 2000 Thankyou Music.
**East to West by Mark Hall and Bernie Herms. © 2007 My Refuge Music/Club Zoo Music/SWECS Music (BMI).

© 2012 by Samantha Reed. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616G MatthewsMint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105

Originally published Monday, 02 July 2012.