Colossians 1:21-23 “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation — if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.”

     A few days ago a young friend of mine was given another chance.  Like most second, third and fourth chances, he didn’t really deserve it and he knows this.  Chance has always been associated with luck -‘a lucky chance, a game of chance and chances are . . . ‘;  This chance that was given to my friend has nothing to do with luck.  It has to do with mercy and wisdom. It was an answer to prayer.

     You see, in the time leading up to the day my friend was delivered from the chains of his past he had decided to get to know Jesus.  How?  By accepting His rule over his life, by reading His word on a regular basis, by being accountable to His fellowship and His word and by praying.  This wasn’t easy.  For men like my friend, for men like me and maybe you as well, there is no easy way to submit to God.  Anger, pride, fear, our past and past pain all get in the way.

     A crisis came.  My friend thought the world was stacked up against him.  And it was. Much of the situation was his doing.  My friend freely admitted that.  The temptation to go back to his old thoughts and ways was very strong and chewing away at his mind.  This was the crisis – the call of the past.  How easy it is to forget God’s provisioning and long for the past.  Like the ancient Israelites who God was leading into the promised land we can forget what He is doing for us;  “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!” (Numbers 11:4,5,6)

     My friend had changed.  He recognized the futility of his old way of thinking. Paul warned the Ephesians of this very thing; “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.” (Ephesians 4:17-19)

     My friend called out to God for mercy.  He submitted to God’s will despite the fear of what his eyes and mind were telling him.  He began a walk of faith taking small steps, day by day in the darkest hours just before dawn. My friend’s prayer was a simple desperate prayer like the psalmists; “I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.” (Psalm 69:2,3)

     God put him on the solid Rock.  Jesus came to him. As the crisis passed and his fears ebbed my friend found peace and rest in his faith;  “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)   My friend was given the strength that only comes from God to accept what the world had in store and to continue to walk in faith.

     On the day of his deliverance God gave him mercy.  Our prayers were answered through the Holy Spirit’s wisdom  given into those in authority over him.  My prayer was that God would show my young friend the truth of His Word; “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted  and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all.” (Psalm 34:18,19)

     The Lord did deliver my friend into His promises.  My prayer now is that my friend remains in His Word!  And God answers prayer.

     Praise the Lord!