Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Second Chance at Life

Second Chance at Life

By Brenda Black

“And it will be said: 'Build up, build up, prepare the road! Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people.' For this is what the high and lofty One says – he who lives forever, whose name is holy: 'I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite. I will not accuse forever, nor will I always be angry, for then the spirit of man would grow faint before me – the breath of man that I have created. I was enraged by his sinful greed; I punished him, and hid my face in anger, yet he kept on in his willful ways. I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will guide him and restore comfort to him, creating praise on the lips...'” (Isaiah 57:14-19a)

Shame for sins committed, grief for time wasted, humility when forgiven and genuine repentance - we rarely see any of these. Until today. Over three million have witnessed one man's magic moment by watching a viral internet clip and the related news story behind Ted Williams, an ex-radio announcer. The homeless man with the golden voice was discovered panhandling in Ohio behind a sign that read: “I have a god given gift of voice. I'm an ex-radio announcer who has fallen on hard times. Please! Any help will be greatfully appreciated. Thank you and God bless. Happy holidays.

A news reporter discovered the thin man with shaggy hair who sacrificed his career to drugs and alcohol, but who's been clean now for over two years. His subsequent video interview on CBS' "The Early Show" flings wide the doors of opportunity for Williams to get a second chance with his booming larynx and his life.

My heart was so warmed by his sincerity and I couldn't help but think how grateful he seems for the simplest of things. He wants a home or an apartment so he can cook. He wants a job and to be responsible and pay taxes. When was the last time you thanked God for the ability to pay taxes? Does it ever cross any of our minds that the heat blowing through vents in our homes or the boss who demands a solid day's work for a fair pay check is not a guarantee for any of us? Thank God for heat! Thank God for jobs! Thank God for the food on our tables and the shoes on our feet! Thank God for the talents and abilities and intellect that positions us for useful service. Thank God for everything!

I was already convicted when I compared my wants to his simple list of needs. Then he shared with quivering voice the most important thing he desired. He wanted to see his 92-year-old mother and tell her he was back on track – clean and sober. And in unashamed broken and contrite fashion, Williams praised the Lord with his silver lips and golden voice. I can only imagine how God is pleased to be glorified by one so humble and appreciative of the turn of events. But when you hear this man's story, pay special attention to the fact that he found the Lord while he was at the bottom. He praised the Lord when he yet had nothing. He thanked the Lord, not CBS for discovering him.

“'Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live...

“'Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

“'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord. 'As the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.'” (Ish. 55:1-3, 6-11)

May the Lord fulfill His purpose in Ted Williams. May the Lord fulfill His purpose in each of us so that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess the golden truth that God is good.

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