I wrote a new song a few weeks ago called “To Start Over Again.” My pastor, Carl Morris, called me up and said, “Get your pen out. I want you to write down the following two sentences. I don't know if anything will become of it, but I want to at least run it by you.” Within a few days I had the whole song, which is rare, because most of my songs take months to complete. It's a song of regret but also of hope and redemption. Here it is.
TO START OVER AGAIN
I had a chance, but I did not take it
I had a choice, but I did not make it
I live with regret, and I just can't shake it
But it's not too late to start over again
I had a future that I went and shattered
I had hopes that somehow got scattered
I sinned and I lost the one thing that mattered
But it's not too late to start over again.
And I know I can't replace the past with things that might have been
And there's only one thing left to do to heal this heart again
Sweet forgiveness, the kind that frees us
One by one, I'll pick up the pieces
I'll gather them up and take them to Jesus
For it's not too late to start over again
Broken pieces. I'll just take them to Jesus
He told me it's not too late to start over again
Lyrics by Lawrence Chewning and Carl Morris, Music by Lawrence Chewning
Copyright 2019 by CHEWNING TUNES (ASCAP)
I've been thinking a lot lately about the last line, “It's not too late to start over again.” That is the incredibly good news about following Jesus. He offers us a fresh start. I was reading the story of Joseph of Arimathea recently, the man who donated his own new tomb where they placed the crucified body of Jesus. Joseph is an example of a person who failed God and himself but who realized it was not too late to start over again.
The Bible says Joseph of Arimathea was a secret disciple who never spoke up for Jesus during Jesus' lifetime. Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin, the ruling body that made the decision for Jesus to die. Although Joseph believed Jesus was the Messiah, he evidently remained silent. The Bible also indicates the reason he kept it secret was because he was afraid of the reaction he would get from his peers. I can imagine he must have felt a deep sense of shame and regret when Jesus died. Jesus had walked and taught among the people for three and a half years, and during all this time, Joseph of Arimathea kept his true feelings to himself and played it safe. And then came the sobering realization that Jesus was dead. He had blown his chance to show His love to Jesus while he was alive. And yet, in the face of his deep failure and regret, he came to the conclusion it was not too late to start over again. The Bible says Joseph courageously went to Pilate and requested the body of Jesus. And then he and another secret disciple, Nicodemus, broke ranks and openly prepared Jesus' body and honored Him by placing him in Joseph's own tomb. This was a bold action because Joseph had just witnessed what his cohorts at the Sanhedrin were capable of doing to anyone they considered to be a blasphemer.
For over 2,000 years history has honored Joseph of Arimathea, the man who was ashamed to openly follow Jesus but who, nonetheless, made the decision it was not too late to start over again. It was Joseph's tomb that became the site of the greatest miracle in human history.
You and I don't have to live with regrets about the past either. As the last line of the new song states, “Broken pieces. I'll just take them to Jesus. He told me it's not too late to start over again.”