It comes at the end of many athletic event. The clock is winding down. The teams on their field of competition are tired, maybe even exhausted. The fans know that only a miracle will change the inevitable. The commentator finally says what everyone knows, “The heroic efforts of the team have come too late.” It’s over.
I remember an incident in college where I had become very socially involved. No, I wasn’t an activist like some of my friends. I was socially involved hanging out with my buddies. As the semester worked its way toward completion I awoke one day realizing the huge amount of work I still had to do on a good number of projects. As I worked hard to get the projects done I realized that I did not have enough time to do the work to the level of competence that I desired and of which I was capable. Too late.
One of the most sad examples of being too late comes from the medical realm. I have known a number of people who knew in their bodies that something was not right. They couldn’t define exactly what wasn’t right; they simply knew something was off. So, they did more exercise, changed their diets a bit, worked on their positive mental attitude, but avoided doing the one thing they knew they ought to do…go see a doctor. Finally things got so bad they went to see their physician. The Doctor ordered a complete work up on blood, EKG, etc. The tests came back, were reviewed and then the physician had to say the bad news: To late, there is nothing we can do.
These examples of “Too Late” are common to us and most of us could add our own to the mix. I have discovered as a pastor that there are folks who take these experiences of life and transplant them into the spiritual world. “God could never forgive me” they say. “God doesn’t want someone like me.” “If you knew what I have done, the type of person I am on the inside, you wouldn’t be saying that God loves me. It is too late. I’m too far gone.”
This Sunday we had a miracle. Many within his circle of friends probably thought it would never happen. He had talked about his beliefs. He and his wife had watched the TV preachers. They had read the Good Book, regularly. He had wanted to take the step, but, fulfilling those words from Romans 10:9, 10
If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
…it hadn’t been done…until Sunday.
On Sunday, Frank, 89 years young, stood before the people of God and answered these questions:
Is Jesus Christ your savior and Lord?
Do you trust in him?
Is it your intent to continue as his disciple, learning his ways and showing his love?
With Frank affirming each of those questions and receiving the water of baptism something shifted in his soul. As the water ran down his face it mixed with the tears that flowed from his eyes. Something happened that is only known in the soul as it stands in the presence of God loves us.
Too late? Never!!