It’s Not Too Late
JUNE 21, 2022
I sat down with a man in his late 50’s at a local coffee shop.
This meetup didn’t have an agenda other than connection. He was newer to our congregation and we were simply meeting to get to know each other a bit better. From the outside looking in it seemed like he had the “Midas touch,” everything he did turned to gold. He was self-made and very well off but I could see on his face and sense in his demeanor, he was uncomfortable and dejected. Finally after about 15 minutes of small talk I asked, “Robert, is there something bothering you?” His head sort of sunk and then he looked back up, “I didn’t grow up with much so I worked hard on building something, making something that I could pass down to my kids so they would want for nothing, but along the way I forgot what they really needed was a dad who was there for them…every day I regret not being the dad they needed.” I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect the conversation to take this turn but there we were. In the moment I didn’t know why this was the next question they popped into my head but all I could think to ask was, “are your children still living?” I could tell this took Robert off guard. After a brief hesitation he said, “Yes, they actually live here in our city…why do you ask?” I looked right into Robert’s tired eyes, the eyes of someone carrying the weight of the world and said, “good, then it’s not too late.”
Coupled together these are some of the strongest and most freeing words in our world, in our lives, and in our faith, “it’s not too late.” These words are at the bedrock of the gospel and the very lifeblood of grace. When I hear these words I immediately go the convicted felon on the cross next to Jesus saying, “we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our crimes; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom! (Luke 23:41-42)” This man was on his last leg after a life filled with undoubtable regret. I’m sure he didn’t expect his life to go this way but here he was, on a cross next to Jesus. I don’t know what he expected Jesus to say but praise the Lord these are the words that come out of His mouth, “Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise. (Luke 23:43)” What this man received was forgiveness and a new lease on his eternal soul bedrocked in the overflowing grace of “It’s not too late!”
I don’t know your story but I know you have one just like I do. Maybe your story has birthed regret, shame, even a feeling of hopelessness. Maybe your story is one of open wounds, abuse, addiction, or rejection. Whatever it is and whatever you’ve done or whatever has been done to you, hear Jesus saying, “it’s not too late.” Even if Robert’s answer about his children had been different, I would still have told him it’s not too late to take that pain to Jesus and find grace and peace in His love. It’s not too late to turn to Him. It’s not too late to seek reconciliation. It’s not too late to forgive. It’s not too late to walk another path. No matter how much time has passed, because of the incomparable grace of Jesus, allow these beautifully true and hope filled words to rise above all of the other noise…”My child, it’s not too late.”