I Missed the Mark!
by Kay McDaniel
“You may delay, but time will not.”
It was 1994. I missed a precious moment given to me by God to encourage my dear friend. A window of opportunity had shone through and I pulled down the shade!
I was a university professor in Tennessee and my dear friend was in Mississippi. The many miles between us had never interfered with our special relationship. Sadly, my friend had cancer and it was making its vicious presence known in her body. Her last arduous bout with chemotherapy left her with a raspy voice and deflated spirit. She ached to see an old familiar friend.
When I flew to Louisiana to celebrate Christmas with my family, I called my friend and said that I was going to find a way to come see her. My ears perked up at the sound of my dear friend’s voice. She was so excited, as was I, to see each other. We quickly confirmed the details and before we clicked off I affirmed I would see her shortly.
Ten days. One would think in that brief period I would have made the trip to see her but the Christmas holidays were jam-packed with activities. But not a day escaped without my thoughts drifting toward her. Yet, I procrastinated.
Now, my return trip to Tennessee was just 30 hours away and I still had not seen my friend. After wrestling with the map I rationalized it would be too difficult to fit in a ten hour drive to Mississippi. Reluctantly, I called and apologized for not being able to make the trip to see her. As was my friend's normal response, she completely understood.
Fenced in by green
We immediately started talking about what we would do when we saw each other. Much like giggling schoolgirls, we eagerly etched a date in our calendars to get together the following summer. We were happy because we would have more time to see each other then.
Four months later, I felt a sharp pain shoot to my heart as I was being informed the terrible news about my friend. Her body gave out, she had passed away in the night. With tears streaming my face, my thoughts immediately traced back to the cancelled trip. I bemoaned my decision not to visit her that day.
Why did I succumb to procrastination and not heed the distinct pull from God's spirit? How could I have allowed the busyness of life interfere with God’s will? Regret sank my spirit. Like the Titanic ship, there was no saving it. God, who had numbered the exact days she had on earth, had given me one last opportunity with my friend. And I simply blew it.
Today, her name remains in my address book. It is set apart by stained teardrops smudging the area. It serves as a reminder to me of God’s “divine appointments” in our lives. It serves as a reminder to me of God's "divine appointments" in our lives. It is a place of conviction. It reminds me of when the disciples couldn't stay awake just one hour to “watch and pray” for their Lord.
Ray of Hope
Do you remember the scene? It was the hour of destiny. It was a defining moment for the disciples. At the moment Christ needed them “to be there” for him, they let him down. Mark 13:24 states that “his soul was overwhelmed with sorrow - even to the point of death." Knowing there was no relief in sight, and at that moment he knelt to talk to his Father – the only one who would not leave him.
After Christ prayed, he returned to the disciples. What a sight it must have been to his blood shot eyes, weary heart and fatigued body. Instead of the disciples' pounding heaven’s throne room on their Lord's behalf, Christ found them snoring away among the rocks, seemingly without a care in the world.
The disciples just didn’t get it. They missed the point. They didn't comprehend the magnitude of what was about to occur. These original disciples did not set out to wound Christ. But they did. I never intended to miss such a precious moment with my friend. But I did.
The brutal physical pain Jesus was about to experience on the cross could not match the agonizing anguish Christ felt in his spirit. Yet, "a crushed reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish" (Isaiah 42:3, NIV).
As Christians, we often fall short of the mark; however, this makes the gift of God’s grace more remarkable and valuable. When our shortcomings are glaringly visible, God’s grace is gently magnified. These moments acutely reveal our utter humanity and dependency on God. And that isn’t all bad. Through failure, I learned to seize each moment life offers so I won't miss God-given moments.
Friend, when a window of opportunity appears, don't pull down the shade. Instead, fully embrace it. Walk in God's light thereby avoiding the dark pain of delayed decisions. Because, lost time is never found again.