Though neither of us could afford the time off work, my wife and I took a long walk through the forest last week. It was so utterly rejuvenating that when we returned to our office I decided that we couldn’t have afforded not to have gone.
Experiencing a kaleidoscope of new blossoms, birds breaking into rapturous song, lush green ferns unfolding themselves from a long winter’s sleep, and a parade of colorful caterpillars, all in the company of my soul-mate, filled my heart with joy.
Spring, sweeping away the vestiges of winter, brings the message of renewal, hope, and second chances. It may seem dark and cold but it is never all over. For those who faithfully love God there is always tomorrow. As the lowly caterpillar transforms into a butterfly, there is a second act for everyone.
I shouldn’t really have needed a walk in the forest to remind me of this heartwarming truth. After all, Scripture offers so many affirmations of rebirth. One is evident from the arrangement of the Torah into the so-called Five Books of Moses.
People who pore lovingly over its pages are encouraged to explore the themes of each book of the Torah. The careful reader will quickly discern that the book of Deuteronomy, in Hebrew Devarim, recaps much of the previous four books repeating many of the laws and events found earlier. For instance, we find:
The Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 5 and Exodus 20)
The story of the spies (Deuteronomy 1 and Numbers 13)
Moses delegating authority (Deuteronomy 1 and Exodus 18)
However, some concepts we encounter in Deuteronomy for the first time. Obviously in a short Thought Tool I am able only to provide a brief glimpse into the vast wonders of this discussion so here are just a few.
Divorce (Deuteronomy 24:1-4)
Levirate marriage whereby the brother of a man who died childless
marries the widow (Deuteronomy 25:5-6)
God reciprocating and returning to us
when we return to Him (Deuteronomy 30:8-10)
A common feature in these examples is that there is a second act. Sometimes things may go badly but it is not all over. Sometimes we abandon God and feel utterly alienated from Him. Callers to my radio show in
Sometimes a marriage has deteriorated so badly that it can never be restored. While this doesn’t happen as often as many couples think, it does happen. Well, a second act is possible. One has to endure the pain of a divorce but then rebuilding is possible.
The book of Deuteronomy even presents the example of a life which might be seen as leaving no impact – dying childless. Even in that situation, a means to perpetuate the person’s life exists. Today, while levirate marriage is not allowed, the point remains. Whatever our first act, we all have the ability, profoundly and spiritually, to impact the world in our second act.
To raise the curtain on your second act, you must first lower it on your first. Doing so can take courage because sometimes it is just plain easier to resign yourself to pain than to abandon your caterpillar skin and soar like a butterfly.
The 3 keys are courage, inspiration, and motivation. Courage can be found by reading Joshua, Judges, and Psalms. Inspiration is acquired by returning to God and remembering that this “…is not hidden from you and is not far away..” (Deuteronomy 30:11)