One shot. That’s all we get sometimes (or so we believe). One shot to make something of ourselves. One shot to prove we’ve got what it takes. One shot to show how passionate, sincere, dedicated, diligent, deserving we are. It seems that we’re always trying to prove something about ourselves. And to whom? To ourselves? To others? Well… both, if we’re really being honest.
In the last few weeks of my final semester of nursing school, we were required to participate in a 3-day simulation with real patients (our junior nursing students) and real practitioners (students in the masters nursing program). It was even held on an empty floor of one of the hospitals in our Medical Center. The whole time, we were to have one professor evaluating our performance and then discussing with us what we did well and what we needed to work on. It was supposed to be a critical but constructive evaluation that would better prepare us for the future. The first two days went well. And then of course, my evaluating professor got sick and a new one came to replace her on my final day. Needless to say, it was a train wreck. During our closing discussion, I was told I shouldn’t be allowed to graduate. I was told that I didn’t exercise proper and safe practices. I was told that I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, educated enough to be an RN. I was told that I didn’t care about my patients and that I was lucky this evaluation couldn’t prevent me from graduating.
I basically fell apart in that fake little hospital room. I still remember the cold stare of the lifeless mannequin we successfully “revived” during the Code Blue simulation. Two years of hard work, two years of trying to make up for past mistakes – all crushed and brought to nothing by a few words. I cried. A lot. How could she say I didn’t care about my patients? How could she say I was endangering their lives? I’ve been doing clincals at a cancer hospital for the past 2 years – pretty sure you have to care to work in a place like that… I was immediately on the defensive. Enraged by her condemning words and, at the same time, completely embittered by the possibility of the truth hidden in them.
This was my one chance to prove to my professors I could do this. This was my one chance to prove to myself that I was cut-out for this career. And I blew it. Those were the only words going through my head at the time. It was like they were on this loop in my brain that couldn’t be stopped. In poured the self-pity, the doubts, the regrets. Suddenly I was replaying the whole shift in my mind and trying to figure out what I did wrong – and if I even did a single thing right.
But the Lord quieted my spirit. He removed those doubts and fears. He restored my confidence and reminded me that this was the path He Himself had chosen for me. This was the career He hand-picked for me. This is where He wanted me to serve Him. He reminded me that no person or power on this planet could ever alter or even minutely influence His sovereign will and plan.
You see, this whole nursing thing – it was my second chance. For those of you who don’t know me, let me explain. When I first went off to college, I was young and naive and thought I had everything figured out. I literally thought I was smarter than my parents, more culturally/socially competent, and well…basically, I was a wild child. Always looking for the next big thrill. Never did it occur to me that studying was actually an important part of college. Long story short, God hit me in the face with a wake up call and by His grace (and by His grace ALONE), He allowed me to return home to finish my schooling. Nursing was never in my plan – I hated the thought of being “just another Malayalee RN.” But somehow, the Lord softened my heart to this profession. He led me along this path I never thought I would take…much less, enjoy. And I was (and still am) so thankful. So incredibly thankful to Him for showing me such grace and mercy, for giving me this second chance. But when the simulation ended with those words of “you’re not good enough” and “you can’t do this” – it just about broke me. How did I screw this up again? After everything God has done for me, how is it that I’ve somehow found a way to fail Him again.
I had a choice to make in that moment. I could either believe the words of this woman and wallow in my self-pity, fear, and doubts, OR I could trust that the Lord had led me along this path for a reason, that He would continue to lead me into the future, and fully equip me along the way.
Prior to the simulation, I was viewing my second chance from a human perspective: This is my last shot. I can’t screw this up. If I do, it will be the end of me. God has given me a second chance and I need to prove to Him that I deserve it.
Therein lies the problem – I didn’t deserve it. I still don’t, and I never will. And I’m only referring to school/work right now – I haven’t even gotten to the ultimate second chance I received. Even with something as frivolous and unimportant (yes, I said UNimportant) as my education and career, the Lord was so gracious to give me a second chance that I didn’t deserve. Every blessing I have ever received from the Lord, whether it be my health, my amazing family and friends, a place to live, food to eat, clothes and shoes to wear – every single thing I have ever received from the Lord has been gifted to me though I completely and utterly don’t deserve it. I deserve absolutely nothing but the wrath and condemnation of the righteous God I serve. But because He was so merciful, because He saw my blood as precious in His sight, I have been given a second chance. An undeserved second chance… I’m trying to find the words to express exactly how undeserving I am, but I simply cannot. I have only tears and a full heart as I write these words.
Of all the second chances the Lord has given me, the greatest of all is the redemption I have found through Him. He not only gives second chances, but third and fourth…and if we’re really being honest, he gives us “second chances” to the nth power (that’s not to say that we should take advantage of this though). His patience with us is unmatched. His grace towards us is mind-blowing. His mercy, oh His mercy is never ceasing.
Put aside all the second chances you’ve received on this earth – whether they be related to school, or friendships, or relationships of any kind. Each of those second chances is limited – we humans are not in the business of granting each other third and fourth chances. Two is all you get, so make it count. But the thing is, none of those second chances matter. It doesn’t matter if you screw up with school for the third time. It doesn’t matter if you completely bomb your job interview. It doesn’t matter if you’re significant other can’t find it within themselves to forgive and forget. NONE of that matters.
The only second chance we should ever concern ourselves with is that of the Father, giving up His holy, blameless, perfect Son, for a sinful people that would only require umpteenth second chances. Seriously think about that. The perfect Son was sacrificed for an imperfectly imperfect people. Jesus Christ, the Holy Lamb of God, was obedient unto the Father and suffered the cruelest death known to mankind, for US.
I didn’t only make bad decisions about studying while in college. I made a myriad of bad decisions – sinful acts that did nothing but break the Lord’s heart. Despite all these things, He has given me second chance after second chance. Friend, the same is true for you.
Although we fail daily, we must always remember that the Lord has redeemed us. He has called us His children. He will always be faithful. He will never forsake us – no matter how many times we screw up. We are an imperfect people. Our very DNA is flawed. But the cross covers our shame and removes our guilt from us. The blood of Jesus Christ, that was poured out upon that cruel tree, was sprinkled over our blackened, sinful hearts and has made us pure and holy in His sight. His blood was our ransom. We, who were once dead, are ALIVE in Him (Colossians 2:13-14), because He counted our blood as more precious than His.
All glory and honor and praise to Him and Him alone. Our souls shall forever sing praises to His Name. Praise God for His everlasting love, His never-ending faithfulness, and for the millions upon millions of second chances we receive in Him.
Note: If you don’t know this God we speak of and want to know more about Him, email us at ComeAwakeBlog@gmail.com or visit our Prayer Box). And if you DO know this God we speak of, but feel lost or burdened or far from Him – if you have any doubts about who He is, please don’t hesitate to do the same. Blessing to you in Christ, dear friends.
Countless second chances
We’ve been given at the cross
Fragments of brokenness
Salvaged by the art of grace
You craft life from our mistakes
Black skies of my regrets
Outshone by this kindness
New life dawns over my soul
— Second Chances | Rend Collective Experiment