In the mid eighties through mid nineties I witnessed a number of divorces among some close friends. At the time I was an untrained observer and thought “That’s just what happens sometimes.” As I look back, I can now recognize where it could have been different for them.
Sure, there were some pretty bad situations, but I can also identify some missed opportunities as well. In two cases, well-planned interventions might have made a life changing difference. In another, stubborn pride took away his spouse’s hope of a satisfying marriage. He was offered repeated chances to work on the marriage, but refused. Tragically, there were children involved in all three cases. At one point, Nan and I might have been a statistic. But I was offered a last chance and I took it.
What was that chance? It was to go into counseling to work out our issues.
I can remember my thoughts at the time. “Nan thinks I’m broken (I was) and need to be fixed.” The truth was that we were both in need of an overhaul. “What if I change and she doesn’t?” It’s a realistic concern, but that rarely happens with couples counseling. “Will our feelings towards each other change enough to make this a satisfying relationship?” They did.
I could have said “no” to Nan’s counselor the day he called me to come join them for a session. I would have missed my chance, not just for a healed relationship, but for so many other things that were a byproduct.
What might hold someone back from accepting their last best chance?
As I said earlier, pride is a big one. So is fear. Shall we throw in some apathy and ambivalence and perhaps a dash of defeat? All these might lead to a reluctance to take a step in an uncertain but hopeful direction.
It’s not just relevant in relationships, either. How about a chance to make some adjustments to keep a job that is in jeopardy because of your behavior? Or maybe it’s a one-time offer to leave a stable, but dead end job for a better one, but you have to step up to a new level of maturity or responsibility.
I also want to include deathbed salvation on this list. It’s a shame to miss a life of serving God and others and experiencing the peace and contentment that comes with the assurance of heaven. But it’s much worse to miss an eternity with God because you pass up your last best chance.
Just something to think about.