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If you watch a little child, you will soon see that he can be angry and want his own way. He may be very good and loving most of the time but sometimes he does wrong things even though he tries not to. As we get older, the wrong things we do seem to get bigger. We can all try to do right, but we often fail. "Why can't I start again?" you might say. "I would do better next time."

Here are three true stories from SOON readers. They show us that God can give us a second chance, even when we have done wrong things. He can change our lives right around so it is as if we have started again.

Anuj from India escaped death in car crash.

The car was crushed

I made a big mistake and also committed a crime. It was 8th December 1999. When I woke it was raining and my family was still asleep. I got up at 8am, took the car keys and drove away in my father's car. I was driving at top speed, about 100km per hour – and then I don't remember anything more.

Three days later I woke up to find myself in hospital. There were bandages on my hands and head. I could not understand how I had got there or what had happened to me. My family were close by my bed, so I asked my mother why I was there. She told me that I'd had an accident with a truck. Then Iremembered taking my father's car and driving away, but even now, I don't remember how the accident happened.

Completely crushed

After 20 days in hospital, I went back home and saw the car completely crushed. I was amazed that I had not been killed. I learned that many people had prayed to God for me while I was in hospital. I realised that God had given me a second chance even though I caused pain to my family and friends. I asked God to forgive me and help me never to hurt anyone again.

Kuluwa from Zambia tells how a bad time in prison led to a new start.

My first grave

On February 21, 2002, I was summoned by Queen Jishipi to appear before the court of law and answer a claim made by her. I refused to obey, so the next day my wife and I were arrested and taken to Kasempa State Prison. I was charged with failing to obey the court order and told to pay a big fine or spend three months in prison. My wife was set free, but I went to prison because I could not pay the fine.

I was in prison serving a three-month sentence with all hope gone. I was behind bars, separated from people. My name changed to 'Prisoner' and there was no-one who could come and rescue me from this bondage. This place was like my first grave on planet earth. I had never known the love of God or learned that he is near to anyone who talks to him.

I was no longer master of my senses

One day my wife visited me and told me that thieves had broken into our home and stolen all our belongings. My problem grew bigger and I was no longer master of my senses. I did not know then that the Christians' holy book, the Bible, tells us about Jesus Christ (Isa Masih), and how he came to "comfort sad people".1

One day a man and his wife came to the prison and told us some good news. It was about Jesus – how he came to this world to bring the love of God into people's lives; how he died to pay the punishment for all our wrong doing; how he wants to take the guilt and fear from our lives and give us new hope and peace.

This message touched me and I felt guilt and shame for all I had done wrong. I asked God to forgive me. It was as though a window of hope opened up for me. God was giving me a second chance, lifting me from the 'grave' I was in and giving me hope for the future.

1) These words are in the Old Testament book of the Bible called Isaiah, chapter 61, verses 1 to 3.

Mugore from Zimbabwe was fishing with friends when things went badly wrong.

Left for dead

"Let's go fishing in the Rivera River", my friends and I decided one day in September. I woke up early in the morning to prepare food for the day. I took my small bag and hooks and off we went. The journey was very good because it was the first time we could go fishing together and everyone was hoping to catch many fish. We travelled seven kilometres to reach the Rivera River. The fishing was so interesting that we forgot the time.

Suddenly we realised it was sunset! It quickly got so dark that one person could not see another who was just one metre away.

They thought it was a crocodile

As I was trying to get out of the water, I stepped on a slippery rock and fell into the river. My friends could not find me. They thought I was taken by a crocodile and was dead. They went home very sad, but God was still with me. I tried all ways to escape from the water, but my leg was very painful. I found it difficult to move.

Somehow I got out of the water and slept on the bank of the river. The next day I struggled home. My friends were astonished to see me because they thought I was dead – but through God's power, I was saved!