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When You Wish You Had A Different Life

      Man is like a breath; His days are like a passing shadow. (Psalm 144:4 NKJV)

Life happens in an instant — one way this moment, then completely different in the next.

We define “instant” as a quick or very short moment of time. That instantaneous moment involves the present actions or events of life. It’s the only moment you have — like the choice you made to read this article at this specific moment. (Thank you, by the way!)

The reality about a life “instant” is that anything can happen, both good and bad. For example, lives are changed instantaneously by a baby’s birth, an unexpected death, a doctor’s call, a fatal car crash, a recruiter’s job offer or a judge’s sentence. After that specific moment, life is never the same.

Quite often, our choices factor into those instant changes. A married couple chooses to conceive a child. A prospective candidate submits a job application, hoping to get a job. A judge rules in response to whatever law was broken.

But then there are unexpected instances — those life surprises that knock us for a loop. We have no control over death, negative health reports or wrecks. And yet, those instants happen every day.

Think about how life changed for these people in the “instants” of their lives:

  • Joseph was imprisoned for something he didn’t do. I have to believe he asked God to grant him justice and get him out of his nasty predicament. Yet, there he sat, day after day. Until his instant when God moved him from the prison to the palace. In an instant, his life changed.
  • Daniel lived in a foreign land as a captured exile. Like many of us who experience adversity, he probably scratched his head from time to time and wondered, “How in the world did I end up here?” Until his instant when God changed his environment from one of servitude to leadership. In an instant, his life changed.
  • Job was a righteous man who loved and followed God as an example for his children to follow. He enjoyed great wealth and affluence. Until his instant when he lost his riches, his children and his health. In an instant, his life changed.
  • Let’s not forget Moses’ instant at the burning bush, Gideon’s instant in the winepress, Elijah’s instant on Mount Carmel or Paul’s instant on the Damascus road.
  • Then there’s the young lady named Mary, sitting alone one quiet, hot afternoon. The sudden appearance of Gabriel probably scared her, yet his message was even more terrifying and life-changing. “You will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.” In an instant, God’s plan of salvation began, and Mary’s life was forever changed.

We have many examples of how life’s instants arrive unexpectedly to rock our worlds. They come at different ages, forms, times and circumstances. Some are within our control, while others are not. But one instant awaits us all: Death casts its shadow while standing beside our pathways. We don’t know when, where or how, but its inevitability is certain.

Cynthia was a dear friend. Her infectious smile, warm hugs, encouraging words and prayerful lifestyle marked her as a follower of Christ. Yet, in an instant, a stroke at the age of 54 ended her earthly life and instantaneously ushered her into the presence of Jesus. In that moment, God supernaturally transitioned her from a world of pain to an eternity of joy.

Considering the unexpected instants of life, I pose the following candid questions that I have faced. How have you prepared to face your instants?

Do you minimize their expectancy by making wise, moral decisions?

More personally, do you fully trust God’s sovereignty as He interacts within your life events?

When unexpected adversity, trials or storms crash into your life, are you ready?

Most importantly, have you made your eternal preparation for life’s final “instant,” when death knocks on your door?

Yes, life happens in an instant. Are you ready?

About Nate Stevens

As a “missionary kid” who grew up in a Christian home and church, Nate Stevens has enjoyed a 30-year banking career in a variety of leadership roles. He is the author of Matched 4 Marriage – Meant 4 Life. He is a popular speaker at conferences, seminars and Bible study groups for singles, young adults, young marrieds and youth. Nate currently lives near Charlotte, North Carolina, is a newlywed to his beautiful wife, Karen, and is an active dad with two awesome kids, Melissa and Mitchell.
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