Scripture has some incredibly compelling stories of second chances. Jonah was swallowed by a whale, but was “released” three days later. Peter’s infamous denial of Christ was forgiven by the resurrected Lord. Oh, and those guys thrown into the fiery furnace had quite a story to tell, too.
But none of these guys have anything on Dr. William Mackay’s God-given second chance!
Mackay was born into a pious home in Scotland in 1839. His parents – and especially his mother – fervently taught him about the love of Jesus Christ. Oftentimes, he would even find his mother engrossed in prayer on his behalf. But sadly, none of their efforts bore fruit; he grew farther from God with every passing year, until finally, he left home to pursue a degree in medicine.
Though he’d abandoned God, God had not abandoned him…and God proved that in a hospital room years later. What happened that fateful day is best told in Dr. Mackay’s own words.
One day a seriously injured laborer was brought into the hospital. The case was hopeless. He seemed to realize his condition, for he was fully conscious, and asked me how long he would last. I gave him my opinion in as cautious a manner as I could.
“Have you any relatives whom we could notify?” I continued.
The patient shook his head. His only wish was to see his landlady, because he owed her a small sum, and wished to bid her farewell. He also requested his landlady send him, “The Book.”
I went to see him on my regular visits as least once a day. What struck me most was the quiet, almost happy expression constantly on his face.
After the man died, some things about the deceased’s affairs were to be attended to in my presence. “What shall we do with this?” asked the nurse, holding up a book in her hand.
“What kind of book is it?” I asked.
“The Bible of the poor man. As long as he was able to read it, he did so, and when he was unable to do so anymore, he kept it under his bed cover.”
I took the Bible and – could I trust my eyes? It was my own Bible! The Bible which my mother had given me when I left my parents’ home, and which later, when short of money, I sold for a small amount. My name was still in it, written in my mother’s hand!
With a deep sense of shame I looked upon the precious Book. It had given comfort and refreshing to the unfortunate man in his last hours. It had been a guide to him into eternal life, so that he had been enabled to die in peace and happiness. And this Book, the last gift of my mother, I had actually sold for a ridiculous price.
Be it sufficient to say that the regained possession of my Bible was the cause of my conversion.
What a faithful God we serve!
Then Sings My Soul by Robert J. Morgan. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2003, Pages 146-147.
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(Resource cataloged by David R Smith)