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Pas. Jim's Blog

"Parallel Second Chances" by Pastor Welty

Jim Welty

When you "google" the phrase "God of second chances" it leads to a number of interesting discussions. Some interpret that as God's grace that continues to be poured out on us despite our bad choices.  In Romans 6:2 Paul asks the important question:  "We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?"  So while God's grace is beyond measure, it is not carte blanche for us to do as we please.  We as Christ followers are to walk in obedience to God and live our lives according to His word.

 That being said...I'm still thinking about the God of second chances which has meant a lot to me personally and professionally. 

In November of 2017, our church was ripped apart by a controversy.  Sides were taken, lines were drawn, and those of us in the middle were left wondering what had happened to our church and the friendships we had developed over a number of years.  All of it was gone - seemingly overnight.  It was a perfect storm, as I was only about six weeks into recovering from major heart surgery when it happened. 

During the summer of 2017 we had received bids for the building we wanted to construct on Judd Road.  The bids were a little beyond us but we were "tantalizingly close" (as a former member described).  After November's blowup - we were light years away.

But God is the God of second chances, and about one year later, we learned of the possibility that the Colonial Tavern in Oxford could become our church building.  Now we're in it and dreaming about how to make it ours and retro-fit it for our ministry.  God is the God of second chances.

In July of 2009 I learned that my wife, Stephanie, had end stage renal failure.   Not a hopeful diagnosis.  I cared for her for the next six years, and in July of 2015 God finally answered my many prayers and healed her by bringing her home to be with Him.  That wasn't what I had in mind, but we serve a Sovereign God whose ways are higher than ours. 

I was married for nearly 35 years.  When Stephanie died it was the first time I ever lived alone.  It was weird.  I did my best to adjust to my new life - with the help of some very dear friends.  One of my daughters described me as a "professional married man".  That makes sense.

A Barry Manilow song (of all things) sums up where I was.

Safe from the past and doin' okay but not very well
No jolts, no surprises, no crisis arises
My life goes along as it should
It's all very nice, but not very good

But then the song continues:  And I'm ready to take a chance again.  Ready to put my love on the line with you.
On Good Friday of 2017 I was given the opportunity to take a chance again.  I was introduced to a lovely woman named Beth Anderson.  Later I found out that she was single, having been widowed 19 years earlier.  I was also told that if I was interested in going on a date, she might be interested too.  I hadn't been on a date since Jimmy Carter was president, so I was a little rusty.

 Our first date was April 23, 2017, and we both enjoyed it so much that we started seeing each other.   Eventually we both fell in love with each other, and then I strung her along until July 29, 2018 when I asked her to marry me.  She said yes, and I've been given a second chance.  I realize how blessed I am.  God blessed me with an amazing woman for nearly 35 years and now has blessed me with another amazing woman, who stayed by my side during recovery from heart surgery and my dealing with the church problems. Now I'm looking forward to our life together and what God has in store for us.   God is the God of second chances.

 Now those parallel second chances come together for me when on February 23 Beth and I will be married in The Community Chapel's "new" building.  My personal second chance will take place in the symbol of my professional second chance.  Praise God... He is the God of second chances.