From July 1995 to July 1997, my husband’s job took our family to southern Spain to live while he was on special assignment. More than once during our second year of living there, I vividly remember telling my husband that a two-year stay was the perfect amount of time for us to be there. During the first year, we stayed busy trying to squeeze in all of the things and go to all of the places that tourists might typically want to go and see. Though we loved every moment of the travel opportunities that we had that year, the second year was even more advantageous. We had opportunity time and again that year to see and do a variety of things that enhanced our understanding of the Spanish people and culture. In effect, our second year in Spain was in itself a second-time-around opportunity.
In general, a “second-time-around” event is not a consequence of any previous action, but an opportunity to learn more about a topic of importance. It is not repetitive, but additional. What is learned in the second-time-around opportunity does not replace that which we had opportunity to learn the first time through, but adds to it to give us an even greater breadth of knowledge and understanding of the topic as a whole. God’s timing in every situation is always impeccable (faultless, perfect). God does not open doors of opportunity in our lives until we have been thoroughly prepared by Him to meet the challenges that may come with the territory that is on the other side of the door. Though the two events are separate entities independent of one another, they do contain commonalities that allow their results to be added together, thereby providing us with a more complete picture of the subject matter.
The opportunity that we are being offered in this case is not to learn about another nation of people here on earth, but about our God and His relationships with all of His people, who will be living with Him in His Kingdom forever. The two stories of importance are The Lesson of the Thanksgiving and Leftovers That Aren’t. Look for their commonalities. Then take a good look at what God may be telling us about Himself, especially in terms of His ability and willingness to provide for all we may need in life.