On Second Chances

You can probably tell from my references in this space that I am somewhat of a history buff. I guess you have to branch out sometimes. There’s more to life than just zombies, you know.

With the kids out of town this week, Mrs. Letson and I have been watching some episodes of the World War II mini-series The Pacific,which we found at the library. It is produced by the same Spielberg/Hanks team that gave us Band of Brothers, but it certainly doesn’t measure up to the highly-acclaimed earlier series, if for no other that someone got the idea that a bigger dose of profanity would make it better. It doesn’t.
What stands out about the series–and what stands out in war in general–is how seemingly random it is that some live and some die. It is rarely that the good soldier makes it while the careless soldier doesn’t. Most often it is that one takes a bullet, while his buddy next to him is missed. And the rest of the story, then, is what does that fellow do with the second chance he’s been given.
That reminded me of a story I read several years back about a civilian who had been in Hiroshima, Japan on Aug. 6, 1945 when the first atomic bomb was dropped on his city. Miraculously, he survived the blast. He decided that there was no future in Hiroshima, and the next day, he moved. To Nagasaki. And a day later–on this very date, in fact, 69 years ago–he experienced his second atomic bomb!
The article I read reported that after surviving his second nuclear blast, he did not talk much about the experience. I can well understand his reticence. The old line, “out of the frying pan into the fire” surely was his experience.
I have tried to imagine what it would have been like to have made the decision he made. You have just gone through a horror unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Somehow, you lived through it. So, you move away, hoping never to experience another, and relocate yourself right onto the target of a similar horror. My guess is he probably never felt confident about another decision he made the rest of his life.
Though some would say this guy had the ultimate in “bad luck,” I’d say this was one man who was truly blessed! How many people could say they lived in two cities that had atomic bombs dropped on them–and survived! It’s a story of a second–and third–chance at life. I don’t know how his life played out, but I sure hope he made the most of the extra opportunities that were providentially given to him by his survival.
God is still in the business of giving second chances, even if we don’t see something as obvious as a nuclear explosion to recognize it. That’s what the gospel is all about–that Jesus Christ paid the price so that we could have a new beginning. By His grace, God delights in giving us a fresh start. Be sure you make the most of yours!
I am praying for you, as I hope you are for me, and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.
–Pastor Ken