Sometimes, procrastination is the only thing worth putting off. When faced with a difficult situation, don't you want to put off dealing with it and hope it goes away? Do you find that often the situation only gets worse the longer you wait?
Take, for example, meeting a deadline for submitting an article to a fine publication. Waiting until the last minute only increases the pressure and inconveniences the publisher (I learned that last month!).
Besides that, within a matter of days, other pressure points popped up: I awoke with a toothache; got a call for a job interview; and the CHECK ENGINE light went on. As important as these issues were, I waited until the day before to prepare for the interview, waited a week to see the dentist, and am still hoping the LIGHT goes out. Hoping doesn't usually make things go away or get better.
I often receive mail from readers who don't like what I've written. I suspect, from the vehemence of expression, that the readers are trying to drown out the words of God that speak of their responsibility to their Creator. Examples of this are found in the book of Acts. In chapter four, Peter and John were arrested by the religious authorities for "teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead" (v. 2). They were let go because the evidence of their work in healing a lame man was evident. Despite the proof of the apostles' preaching, the leaders hoped they could silence them and they would go away.
According to Acts 7:57, after Stephen's irrefutable sermon about Jesus, "[T]hey cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him" and stoned him to death. They didn't want to listen to the warning and hoped it (and Stephen) would go away. Stephen went to a better place, and the message produced the greatest apostle and missionary ever: Paul.
Back to our pressure points: One other exciting recent event was the purchase of our cemetery plots. Not exactly the kind of thing one plans for a memorable weekend, but it was necessary. Because the deadline of death is hidden in God's counsel, we thought it wise to make arrangements now so as not to burden others when the time comes. Because the plot is merely a rental space, I don't particularly care where I'm interred; the point is that we are prepared for that time because we heeded the apostle's warning in 2 Corinthians above and accepted Jesus Christ's free offer to forgive us our sins, reconcile us to God, and prepare a heavenly place for us (John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:20; John 14:2 - 3).
Since beginning this article, the dentist cured my toothache; I aced the interview; and discovered the problem behind the LIGHT was minor. Moreover, I'm making the deadline with this article, no longer keeping readers in limbo, and providing fodder for the next angry letters. None of these warnings went away, and nothing would have gotten better on its own.
The truths of Scripture will never change, and God will not go away. However, it is possible -- but not profitable -- to ignore what He says and go away from Him. As for those who choose to walk away, "They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might" (2 Thessalonians 1:9).
Time moves on relentlessly; deadlines draw closer every moment; each moment that passes is a lost opportunity for preparation. "Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says, 'In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.' Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:1 - 2).
Salvation and obedience to the Lord are not worth putting off!
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