I remember watching Goran Ivanisevic play Pat Rafter in the Wimbledon tennis final of 2001. It was the greatest sporting event I have ever seen. On one hand you had Pat Rafter. A great tennis player and one of the nicest players on the circuit at the time. He had lost two previous Wimbledon finals and was hoping for third time lucky.

On the other hand you had Ivanisevic; a giant Croatian at 6″ 4 inches who had beaten the home British hope Tim Henman in the semi final. Goran had lost three previous Wimbledon finals. To lose this would have been devastating. To look back at your career and remember how you had not one, but four opportunities to win Wimbledon and blown it, would have eaten away at you for the rest of your life.

Goran won an epic final match in five sets.

He was ranked 125 in the world.

He shouldn’t have even been playing; only being given a wild card entry at the last minute.

It was one of the greatest comeback stories in sport ever.

It was everything sport should be.

There weren’t many people who gave him a chance of winning it never mind getting to the final. But he did. Which made me think. How the heck did he pull it off?

I mean imagine being in his position. Not only is everyone writing you off but even when you get to the final you are expected to crumble, given your history. Somehow though he overcome all the voices and believed he could do it. He believed that no matter what had happened before it didn’t have to effect him now.

Maybe you look back at your life and see wasted opportunity after wasted opportunity. Maybe you see how you failed yourself and the people you love. Maybe all you can hear is the voice telling you “remember last night?, you’re just going to blow it, might as well give up”.

But it doesn’t need to work out that way.

When the Prodigal Son came back home he must have started to doubt he had made the right choice to come back. He was so close to home but in some ways so far. Would his father shut the door in his face or welcome him back? I’m sure he relived in his head the expression on his father’s face the day he asked to leave. I’m sure he remembered the nights he lay in the gutter, his money spent and his life in tatters. I’m sure these thoughts were there when he was travelling home. But we all know how the story goes.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”

The past didn’t matter anymore. In one simple act his Father ripped up the history book and began to write a new story.

Finally the son was free to be himself and feel alive again. He had wasted so many chances but this time he was given another and he took it.

His Father just wanted His child back.

The truth is that God feels exactly the same about you. No matter how many nights you have wasted sitting in front of a computer masturbating there is another chance for you. No matter how many lies you have told to cover your sin there is another chance for you. No matter how guilt ridden and ashamed you feel there is another chance for you.

It’s so easy for us to get bogged down by our past. To start believing that we are the sum of our failures. But we aren’t. To believe we are worthless and don’t deserve to succeed. But we aren’t and we do. Next time you think you can’t be free of your past, don’t believe it for a second.

Remember Goran.

Remember the Son.

Remember your Father is waiting.