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Second Chance Got Him Rolling
by Rubel Shelly

    Why do some people collapse in a crisis and others rise to a challenge? What is the difference in a victim and a survivor? How can someone who has gotten horribly bad news turn her life story into good news, his tragedy into triumph?

    There is no single answer to such complex questions, but 27-year-old Lance Armstrong has earned the right to be heard on the subject of overcoming obstacles.

    Armstrong is basking in the glory of winning this year’s Tour de France. It is cycling’s most prestigious event. It is also its most demanding. Armstrong completed the three-week, 2,300-mile race with the fastest average speed in the fabled race’s 86-year history. He is the first rider from a U.S. team ever to win the Tour de France. (American Greg LeMond won his three championships riding with a European team.)

    Believe it or not, Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer less than three years ago. The critical issue in the fall of 1996 was not racing but survival. Cancer had spread to his abdomen, lungs, and brain. He had two operations, including brain surgery. He endured twelve weeks of chemotherapy. With such debilitating health problems, who could believe he would ever compete again?

    Lance Armstrong believed it! So he rode 30 to 50 miles each day between chemotheraphy treatments. He did everything he could to regain his health and strength — with a view toward being an elite cyclist again. And did he ever succeed!

Go all the way.
    “For those people who look at my case as an example,” said Armstrong, “I would just like to say one thing: If you ever get a second chance in life for something, go all the way.” Nike has even been running a series of ads making the point that he is the “first dead man” to win the Tour de France!

    Maybe someone has given you a second chance at a career opportunity. Perhaps an improved economy has given your business a second chance. Maybe your second chance has come in a form similar to Lance Armstrong’s — recuperation from cancer, a heart attack, or a terrible injury. Or possibly someone you love has given you a second chance at a relationship that appeared to be hopelessly broken. The God of the Bible is “The God of Second Chances.” Just think about Noah and Abraham, Rahab and Ruth. Or imagine the hope Jesus gave a woman caught in adultery and an apostle who had denied him three times. The Christ who taught his followers to forgive seventy-seven times will not be stingy with his mercies to you.

    Jesus knows how to turn death into life. You can count on him.

From Rubel Shelly's "FAX of Life" printed each Tuesday. See http://www.faithmatters.com for previous issues of the "FAX of Life."

HEARTLIGHT(R) Magazine is a ministry of loving Christians and the Westover Hills church of Christ.
Edited by Phil Ware and Paul Lee.
Copyright © 1996-97, Heartlight, Inc., 8332 Mesa Drive, Austin, TX 78759.
© 1999 Rubel Shelly. Used by permission.