Summary: This is a short talk given at a lunch for mainly elderly people, many of whom have known recent bereavement, and some of whom may not yet consider themselves Christians or Church Members.
Never too late?
Shortly after I passed my driving test I was due to travel from my then home in Yateley, Hampshire, UK for a weekend away somewhere in Wales. It was the furthest I had ever driven at the time and my mother very kindly allowed me to use her car. Sadly the car was (for me back then) embarrassingly old and small. I’ve no idea how I managed to cram myself and 4 other people into that tiny red Fiat Panda!
I had a quick look at the map before we left, wrote down a few instructions, and gave them to one of the others in the car. Several hours later after overheating in a traffic jam, stopping, calling out the AA, and then overheating a bit more, I turned left at a large roundabout and found myself heading down a slip road onto a Motorway. It was dark, and there was a problem. I’d already been on the motorways I needed to go on, and we were already very, very late! We needed to check in by 10.30pm. It was already 10pm!
I did not want to be late. I did not want to miss out on the room which had been prepared for me at the holiday village, and so I stopped the car on the slip road. The good news was that there were no other cars trying to come on to the motorway as I reversed up the slip road and back to the roundabout. At the time it felt like a sudden crisis. Of course if the Police had seen me they would not have been amused, but I knew that I did not want to be any later than I already was. Time was running out.
Of course I wouldn’t repeat that episode now. I would like to think that first of all I wouldn’t take such a drastically wrong turning; but if I did, I hope I would have the patience to deal with the consequences of my actions. I hope!
I guess for all of us we can think of times when we have faced a crisis of some kind and we have needed to make a decision.
One of the biggest crisis we all face at some point in our lives is bereavement. Losing a loved one is heartbreakingly awful, and for me one of the hardest things I have ever had to do was to take my Granddad’s funeral in January of this year; and yet I knew that the right thing to do was to take it. I had a few days in which to take that decision, but I knew I couldn’t keep my Grandma waiting. I had to make a decision.
If life is a bit like my journey to Wales all those years ago, then I guess we all have times when our engines overheat, times when we face a crisis, times when take a wrong turn off the roundabout, times when we don’t want to be late for our destination.
I think of my friend Doug. When Doug was 80 his wife died; but as Doug began to consider his own life and his own future, and the crossroads or the roundabout of life he was on, he knew he had to make a decision.
My friend Doug remembered that as a child he had been taught about the love of God. He remembered that as a child he had loved God, and loved the fact that Jesus said to his friends, “I am going to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2); and in his 80’s Doug made a very real decision to commit his life, and entrust his eternal future into the hands of Jesus Christ (John 14:1). Today, Doug has a peace in his heart which no future crisis can take away (John 14:27).
Whatever our situation is; wherever we may be on the road of life, it has been my experience that God waits patiently for us to respond to him. When I was on that motorway slip road I did not want to miss out on my opportunity to check in. I knew I had taken a wrong turn and I did not want to be late. I did not want to miss out on the room which had been prepared for me in advance. Can I encourage you to consider that there is a heavenly destination prepared for each of us (John 14: 2-4), and that there is a road and a map to get us there.