My deer season has not been anything to write home about. One buck in Kentucky that never gave me a chance to draw on, and one buck in Missouri that I shot and never found, is all I can tell you about. But if you don't know, the best season is coming up. (It's the second rut. Don't tell anybody.) Yes, the second rut! Maybe the best deer-hunting secret I know. I can remember a friend telling me about this several years ago. I thought he was crazy and was just telling me this for conversation purposes. But year after year, he showed me the proof. I still wasn't convinced until I began seeing the biggest deer cruising my property during the second and third week of December. I knew then, he was right. Here's why it's the best. Each doe comes in heat during the second or third week of November in most parts of the country. If that doe is not bred during those days, she will come back in heat 30 days later. Since those unbred doe are so few, the bucks are cruising everywhere to find them and take advantage of a second chance. A buck I may never see during any other time of the season, may just show up during those two weeks. So, my season is not over yet! I'm still in the hunt! (pardon the pun)
In other areas of life, second chances are the most beneficial as well. It seems, whether we like it or not, we are less likely to make the same mistake twice. I'm not exactly sure why, except for the memory of past mistakes. They seem to linger a little longer. The sting of a bad decision seems to stay with us when most other emotions are gone. I think this is all the more reason to be thankful that God gives second chances. And it's a great reason to thank God for his plan of salvation and for his plan of restoration. Both are based on grace. You see, grace is the unmerited and undeserved favor of God. And Grace is always initiated by the one who is giving grace. This means, God can give chance after chance, because his favor is not conditional on our response. It's conditional only on he's ability and willingness to keep extending it. I think the problem many of us have is thinking that God thought he was making a perfect creation, and that he doesn't know about our constant tendencies to mess up – time after time. He does, however, know. And he knows not only because he's God, but he knows because he became man through the person of Jesus. It's called the Incarnation, and it is why Christians celebrate Christmas. God became man to identify with our suffering and temptations – and to pay for our second chance – and as many more chances that he wants to give.