Now, I’m not saying we should be afraid that we might die at any moment or that someone we love is going to die. Certainly we should have faith to live long and strong on this earth. But what about those people who are not walking with God? What about those who are not standing in faith for a long life? What if they pass our way and we don’t even open our mouths about Jesus or try to do anything for them — and then later we hear, “Did you know that So-and-so died?”
I’m in my middle-age years now, and one thing I’ve started to notice is that a lot of my life has already passed by. And although many wonderful things have happened in my life as I’ve followed the Lord, I know there are certain things God has asked me to do that I have not done because I put them off. I kept thinking, I’ll do it tomorrow. I have time to wait — until it was too late.
For example, many years ago when my husband Rick and I had just started ministering on the road, I had a dream that I knew was from the Lord. I dreamed of a young man with whom I went to high school — a good friend I hadn’t thought of in many years. In my dream, this young man was dying of AIDS.
My first faithless thought was, What can I do? Surely there is nothing I can do. So what do you think I did? I did nothing. I didn’t even pray!
Three months went by. Then one day I was visiting my little hometown of Miami, Oklahoma, and I happened to read the obituaries in the local newspaper. There it was — the name of the young man I had dreamed about. The newspaper said he had died of a long-term illness at home.
I didn’t know it on the night God gave me that dream, but I had three months — and only three months — to act on what He had shown me. The clock was ticking; the days and weeks were passing by. Then came the day of the young man’s death, and my time to obey was over. God had wanted to reach out to my high school friend through me, but I had done nothing.
Something similar happened the night before those two young women were killed in that train accident. Many of their fellow Bible school students woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep. The Holy Spirit was alerting them to pray to avert a tragedy, but none of them picked up on His quiet leading. Not one of them spent time that night in prayer.
God is trying to save us. He is trying to save our children and our neighbors. But we hinder His ability to work in a situation where time is critical if He has to wait for us to obey. We have to change our attitude about time.
Too often we act like we have all the time we need, anytime we want it. We act like everyone we love is going to live a long time and we can therefore take him or her for granted.
But we need to be wise about what we do with our time. The Bible says that our lives are like a vapor (James 4:14).
Psalm 103:15,16 says the same thing a different way: “As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.”
Our time on this earth is limited, and God has already numbered our days, ordaining good works for us to walk in.
Our time on this earth is limited, and the Lord has already numbered our days, ordaining good works for us to walk in. So let it never be said of us that Jesus found us sleeping on our watch. Let Him never have reason to say, “Your opportunity has been lost. Sleep on, and take your rest”!