I Want a Do Over!

Prays Together column image. Stock photo.
Jim Newman is pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Exeter.

I remember playing games as a young boy with my neighborhood friends. Sometimes those games ended with a controversial play, or perhaps an outcome that we weren’t happy with. We would sometimes start yelling “Do over. I want a do over!” The opposing team players would then yell “No way! There’s no way.”

Rarely in life are we given a “do over,” or even a replay for that matter. Whether it be some unfortunate event that you wish hadn’t happened to you, or maybe some unkind words you wish that you hadn’t said and couldn’t take back. Maybe it was a bad outcome from poor choices you made. But, inevitably, you had to live with the outcome.

Perhaps the most famous, or should I say “infamous” do over was in the 1972 summer Olympic Games in Russia. As the gold medal championship game came to an end, there were three seconds remaining in the game. Those final three seconds were replayed three times! It resulted in Russia winning gold and the USA losing for the first time ever in Olympic play.

In our lives it doesn’t happen that way. We are only given one life to live. The Lord, as our Shepherd, helps us through the labyrinths of life. His Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light for our path. There are many times when I thank the Lord for his having had his hand on my life. Part of how he guided my steps over the years was through godly parents, relatives and friends who prayed for me. Proverbs 16:9 reminds us that “We make our plans, but the Lord directs our steps.” There are times in my life when I get discouraged and down on myself, thinking I’d like I a “do over.” But I think we all know there’s no guarantee that even if that were possible things would be any better. It could be worse.

In God’s Word we read an account of a Jewish rabbi named Nicodemus who came to talk with Jesus one night. He had been amazed with all the signs Jesus had been doing among the people. Jesus’ response to Nicodemus was this statement: “You must be born again!” That kind of sounds a little bit like a “do over” to me. Though Nicodemus thought Jesus meant to actually be born again by going back into his mother’s womb and being born, Jesus was speaking about a spiritual rebirth.

We’ve all been born physically, but to see the kingdom of God we also need to be “born again,” from above. How does that happen? John 3:16 sums it up quite succinctly, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” In 2 Corinthians 5:17 we see something very similar. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” When someone believes in Jesus Christ and trusts in what he did for them on the Cross, they will be “born again” and experience forgiveness and a new life in him.

The Lord says in Joel 2:25 that “I will restore the years that the locust has eaten.” He doesn’t literally give time back to you, but he will brings joy and blessings to your life that were lost, or “eaten” from those years that were wasted. He redeems our life, bringing us a brand-new life in him. To me, that’s like having a new start, or a second chance. Or can we say a “do over”?

Prays Together is a rotating faith-based commentary and advice column among the pastors, and guest laypeople, of area churches.

This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.

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