Hands folded patiently in his lap, the figure in the tan coat stared fixedly out the window as the city sped past. Cars rushing commuters to work. Snowy streets, glinting in the early morning sun. The sprawling baseball stadium. The bustling train station. The famous St. Louis arch. Hungry eyes soaked it all in.
“It’s the little things I look forward to – going into the kitchen, opening the fridge, getting something to eat.” My fellow passenger spoke in a low voice, tentatively, as if it might not happen if he spoke too loudly.
“I grew up going to church,” he told me, glancing at the Bible on my lap. “But in my 20s I got mixed up in drugs…” A deep sigh revealed a bit of the pain of his choices. “That’s what landed me in prison.”
Suddenly he rummaged in the bag at his feet, producing a small black New Testament with a motorcycle on the cover. “I joined a recovery group in there – they talked about how to get out of my addictions. And they gave me this.” He held it gently, turning it over in his rough hands. “I’ve read the whole thing three times.”
“If I hadn’t gone to prison, I don’t think I would be alive. I was on a dangerous path.” A foot tapped the floor anxiously with the memories. “But if God can turn my life around, he can help anyone.” The gratitude in his weathered face spoke volumes.
“I’ve been up since 4am.” Chuckling, he tugged at the knit cap pulled low on his head. “I was so excited, I couldn’t sleep. This is my first day out.” Eyes weary with all they’d seen, and longing for all they’d not seen, now glimmered with faint hope. “I’m going to my sister’s house – I can’t wait to see my niece and nephew. It’s been a long time…. I’m ready for a fresh start.”
Do you feel it’s too late for a fresh start in your life? Our God is the God of second chances. And third chances. And one hundredth chances. You are never too far gone. All you have to do is quit running. Quit trying to fix your own life. Quit trying to put all the pieces back together. Let Him take over and give you a fresh start!
In this new year, why not give your past, present, and future to the One who knows it all? He loves you dearly and wants to make something beautiful of your life. And just like my friend on the bus, your story can be a story of hope to someone else who desperately needs to know the transforming and restoring power of God’s mercy, grace and forgiveness!
“GOD made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him. When I cleaned up my act, he gave me a fresh start. … I feel put back together, and I’m watching my step. GOD rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.”
(2 Samuel 22:21-25 The Message)