Have you ever wondered what your life would be like today if you never said, “Yes” to Jesus when He called you? Kind of like a George Bailey (It’s A Wonderful Life) 'what if' speculation. (By the way, if you ‘still’ have not said yes to Him, please read on anyway. I end this essay offering something for you, too).
Of course there’s no ‘for sure’ to the ‘what-ifs’, but if you’re past the age of 40, you have enough information to extrapolate where the many crossroads of your life would have likely taken you if you’d never answered Christ’s call on your life.
I met Jesus in 1972 while on the Yokosuka Naval Base. If I’d turned Him away, I’d have never met the many sailors and marines and their families I was so privileged to meet while stationed there for three years. I would likely have chosen to make a career out of the navy . . . but knowing the wanderlust I struggle with even to this day, I doubt I would have stuck it out for the 20 years.
If I had rejected Jesus in 1972, I never would have met the best friend and lover I could ever have hoped to know and love in return. Nancy and I would never have had our three children – who have blessed our lives immeasurably. I’d have never gone to Bible College, or seminary. Never taught a Sunday school class or led others to a saving faith in Christ.
I never would have ended up a registered nurse, never returned to the navy and then retire as Commander. I never would have had the unspeakable privilege to train new generations of nurses in the art and science and service of nursing.
If I’d turned Jesus away in 1972, I’d likely have gone though two or more wives, had children with each of them, and probably not on speaking terms with any of them because the only role models I had of husbands and fathers were the two terrible examples I grew up with during childhood.
If I’d turned Jesus away in 1972 when I was 22, I’d be 66 today, probably sitting in an apartment somewhere by myself with a ton of regrets about my life – and wishing in vain it had been different.
But – and this really is the central point of my speculative reminiscing – knowing God as I know Him today, if I had turned Jesus down in 1972, and now sat at my keyboard wishing my life had been different – it would not be too late for my life to change.
The very fact that I’d be wishing it’d been different would be enough of a move toward God that He would then move toward me – and offer me a new beginning, beginning today.
I like to speculate what life would have been like if my life had taken a wrong turn 44 years ago, because those speculative trails lead me to the glorious truth of how much I needed Jesus in 1972, and how much I still need Him today.
So, go ahead. Speculate for yourself. And oh, by the way, if you chose wrong back when you should have chosen better . . . here again is that critical point:
You can still have a new life – starting today.