I “almost” made it to the major leagues. I “almost” led my team to the College World Series. I “almost” made it to my grandmother’s funeral. “Almost.” It can be a sad word, can’t it? Some of the “almost’s” in life’s journey we control; some, we can’t.
We are not alone. The Bible is filled with the sadness of “almost.” Consider Moses. He led a large group of complaining, hardheaded and rebellious slaves out of captivity only to be lost in the desert for decades. In the process, God molded Moses into a great leader. He “almost” made it to the Promised Land. Because of his faithfulness, he eventually made it to “The Promised Land.”
Several hundred years later, there was a powerful monarch in Rome called Agrippa. Paul couldn’t resist the tugging of the Holy Spirit and passionately shared his personal testimony and the Gospel with this agnostic leader. His eternally sad reply to Paul, “Thou almost persuadest me to be a Christian” (Acts 26:28). The true sadness here is that Agrippa didn’t only reject Paul; he turned his back on the loving Savior of his soul.
There are many more, including Nicodemus who looked Christ in the eye and heard the great Teacher say, “You must be born again.” Nicodemus went away sorrowful. Pontius Pilate was face-to-face with Jesus and asked Him “What is truth?” He was standing inches from The Truth. Judas traveled, listened, learned and witnessed miracles from the Master but never opened his heart to his Friend. All of these men were close. They were “almost” embracing life everlasting, but from all accounts, they are now very sorrowful.
Now the good news: For every sinner mentioned who “almost” took the step of faith in Christ there are many who believed, trusted and surrendered…sinners—blind to Truth, stuck in darkness instead of embracing Light— who traded sorrow for joy and cynicism for faith. There was the woman at the well, the prostitute dodging stones, the prodigal son, the thief on the cross, persecutors of Christians…and me.
Rejecting Christ would have been the saddest “almost.” I can live with lost chances in major league baseball and not winning the big championship. But now that I know Christ, the “almost’s” in my life carry little weight.
Jesus said, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36)