The Second Call

In his classic The Ragamuffin Gospel author Brennan Manning devotes a chapter to the “Second Call” in the Christian’s Life.

Sometimes things don’t work out according to plan, Manning says. Sometimes Christians are devastated by death, disease, divorce, debt or disaster and find that they cannot live the afternoon of their lives by the morning plan. They have to find a new plan. They have to construct new goals and start over.

There is simply no other way.

This is the time when Christians are often surprised by a second call, when God intervenes and calls them as clearly and definitively as the first time around, and sometimes even clearer.

The Bible is full of second calls: Moses at the Burning Bush, The Prodigal Son, the distraught Peter at the Sea of Tiberias, to name but a few. These were people who once had a sense of destiny but who lost it as a result of the mistakes they had made: Moses became an exile in Midian, the Prodigal ended up in a pigsty, Peter went back to his fishing boat.

Yet they were all given a second chance. In fact, it was their response to the second call that made them legends.

The saying “God forgives, people don’t” is true indeed. Like the Prodigal’s older brother, we often frown when our fallen ones want to get up. Our sense of self righteousness is threatened by the notion that God wants to restore them fully and unconditionally, and so we prefer them to remain in the pigsty from where they can make us look better than them.

C. S. Lewis once spoke of the four ages that people go through: Unenchantment, Enchantment, Disenchantment, Re-enchantment.

If you have become disenchanted in your faith, don’t give up. Allow God to re-enchant you.

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