I think I can relate a little fraction of a bit to the light that blinded Paul on his way to persecute the Christians. I would have to say that we both took advantage of escaping with life! Though mine was staying in this life his was a spiritual rebirth that put him on his way to heaven!
I was driving down the road on my way home about a month ago. It was the time of day that the sun was blinding me. The road I was on was a busy street and my next turn would be a left at the traffic light. The sun was so bright I couldn’t see the traffic light but I did see the turn lane. I was able to make out the oncoming traffic down the road and saw that I had time to make my turn. With the light blinding my eyes I turned too soon. My heart went to my throat as I realized what I had done. I found myself almost driving into the curb. The road I was trying to turn on was 30 feet ahead and I was in the lane of oncoming traffic. Luckily I was able to drive quickly against traffic and take a round left turn just before the oncoming traffic got there. As I hurriedly made the turn onto the side road my heart was racing. I almost got killed I thought and it was true.
One of my favorite movie series ever was “Back To The Future.” It was about time travel as they went back in time in the first episode forward in the second and back further in the third. The concept that is true in each of them is that one thing effects everything. Decisions that we make today effect everything later on. If you are married take for example the circumstances of you meeting your future spouse. Maybe it was by chance that you met them. Now consider what life might have been if that event didn’t happen. It would effect where you live, the kids that you have, everything! When Marty by accident interfered with the course of history it started changing events that followed. Like the Back to the Future movies, you may say that where you are in life and the people that you are with almost didn’t happen.
I’ll bet you can think of a lot of almost things that happened in your own life. Maybe you were almost killed like me. Maybe you almost won the lottery or almost invested your money with a dishonest person. Maybe you almost married someone else or you almost bought a different house. Maybe you almost by accident burned the house down. Maybe you almost became famous or you were sick and almost died. There are so many close calls in life that we almost do or don’t do a lot of things.
A book was written by Roger Bruns that is titled “Almost History.” It has information about documents for events that never happened. Included is a speech prepared for President Nixon in case the Apollo 13 astronauts died. Also included is an apology from General Eisenhower for the failure of D-Day. Some events like the time that Lincoln got a letter from a young girl encouraging him to grow a beard may not make a big difference. In this case it probably only changed the picture of the president on the five dollar bill. Other almost situations such as Hitler almost taking over the world would have changed everything had it happened. The thing about things that almost happened is if they did other things would have been built from them. Suddenly everything becomes different if the almost actually happened.
I think it was in March of 1971 that I went to a basketball tournament. It was sponsored by a group called “Word of Life.” They contacted churches in our state and had them recruit players to play basketball for a Saturday. At lunch time a message was delivered to the participants. I was not a Christian at the time. Actually I wasn’t even on the team. I was in junior high and this was a high school group. They won the previous Saturday and had advanced to this tournament in Ohio. I was invited to go along and decided to go! Our team dominated in the region but met much stiffer competition in this tournament. At lunch time I heard probably the most powerful sermon I have ever heard before or since. I did not become a Christian that day, but the impact of that sermon weighed on me a lot when I made a commitment two and a half years later.
As always the basketball players that day reluctantly sat in the bleachers as the speaker was introduced. I remember a pro player for the Cincinnati Royals named Darrel Imhoff gave his testimony. After that the other speaker took us to Acts chapter 26. It was about Paul presenting his case in front of King Agrippa. Paul had been arrested for preaching the gospel and the leaders couldn’t find evidence that he did anything wrong. He was brought to the king to state his case and he did it very impressively. He told of how he was an enemy of the Christians until he was blinded by a light on his way to persecute the Christians. He told of the voice he heard “Saul, Saul why are you persecuting me?” King Agrippa listened with great interest as Paul laid out his story. Verse 28 states “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.”
The speaker that day concentrated on that word “almost.” He stated that nowhere else in the Bible does it mention that King Agrippa became a Christian. If he never did and is now in eternity without God the speaker concluded that King Agrippa is languishing on those words “Almost, Almost, Almost.” He concluded his sermon that we don’t want to almost become a Christian. We don’t want to regret the day when we almost accepted Christ. Truly we live through a lot of almost circumstances in our lives. Sometimes things work out fine the way that we end up traveling. Other almost situations we regret and wish we would have gone the other way with our decision. If you haven’t already, take advantage of God’s saving grace while it is available. Then you won’t have to regret the time you didn’t but almost did.