Frozen Fish, Jail Birds, and Second Chances
Monday, December 23, 2013
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A friend of mine told me a great story about his goldfish. His family built a pond in their front yard and placed numerous large goldfish in it. They fed the goldfish regularly and watched them grow. One winter day, it got really cold and the pond froze. The fish froze too. They were stuck in the middle of the ice, completely frozen fish. In a few days it warmed up, as it does in South Texas, and my friend and his family went to the pond to retrieve the dead goldfish. To their surprise, the goldfish were happily swimming around in the pond. They had been dead and were now alive.
Now I wasn't quite sure about this story, so in the name of theology, I bought a goldfish from the pet store and did a little experiment. Yes, I took the goldfish and put him in the freezer. Guess what? He froze! Not straight forward with his mouth wide open but upside down. I knew for sure he was a goner. I placed him on the kitchen counter in his frozen water cell to thaw. A few hours later, I went to check on my frozen fish in case some miracle happened. Much to my amazement, the goldfish's gills were beginning to move. Not long after, he was swimming around in his bowl. A little slower than before, perhaps, but swimming!
So I named him Lazarus. He is still alive in a friend's pond to this day. He received a second chance.
We have also received a second chance. God has come among us in the person of Jesus Christ to give us a second chance. He doesn't want us to be frozen, immobilized by shame or fear or pride or sin of any kind. God has forgiven you and me, and he deeply desires to show that forgiveness to others through our lives.
Sometimes God offers these second chances in the most unusual circumstances. Many years ago I worked for a camp in East Texas. I was coming home from Dallas late one evening, and the headlight of my car went out. A policeman pulled me over about a mile from my house. I apologized for my headlight being out and described the situation. He took my driver's license and checked my record just in case. When he came back to the car, he asked me to get out and put my hands against the car. He proceeded to handcuff me and read me my rights.
I kept saying, "It was just a headlight!"
He told me there was a warrant out for my arrest.
At the county jail, I got my one phone call. I called my dad, who is a lawyer, and he hung up on me because he thought it was a crank call. He finally answered but couldn't do anything until the next morning.
They fingerprinted me and gave me a beautiful orange uniform with flip flops. They took me down to a cell and locked me in with five other guys. Four people were lying on the two bunk beds, and one lay on a table.
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