Three seconds sounds like it is almost the snap of your fingers, but no, three seconds, though short, is longer than you might think. Just pause and count in a controlled manner and try not to be rapid – one, two, three. If that is hard to understand, just take the old methodology of saying, “One Mississippi, Two Mississippi, Three Mississippi,” and you’ll get the sense that it is a thoughtful piece of time.
I got to thinking about how much time it is after hearing a highway patrolman encouraging folks to buckle their seatbelts. “It only takes three seconds,” he said, “and those three seconds increase your chances of surviving a wreck enormously.” Three seconds. Just think about it, three seconds is one twentieth of a minute. It is not unusual to hear on the news or read in the paper of some accident where someone was killed or thrown from the car and seriously injured and it simply states they were not wearing their seatbelt. It just seems like a no brainer, yet every day a large portion of the population chooses not to exercise this small safety measure for their good.
As I thought about something as positive as just buckling your seatbelt and the little, minute time that it takes to do it, I thought about how many, many people pass by opportunity after opportunity to give their life to Jesus, to settle their eternal destiny, to know that their sins are forgiven now and life everlasting is theirs, and yet they choose to ignore a decision that may not be much more than the time to buckle your seatbelt.
Now set all the other things aside that you think about you need to do to get your life straightened up. The one thing that is the crucial thing that needs to take place is you turning to God and trusting Him. Just so you can see how soon this experience can take place in your life, just think about the people in Scripture who called out to God only to have Him respond to them immediately.
One was a man who was dying on a cross right next to the cross of Jesus. We do not know his age or have a full understanding of all the things that he had done, but now life comes into perspective as he could see the end in sight and he was taking his last breaths. Though without question he had made some dumb decisions in life, gone the wrong way, chosen the wrong relationships, broken the laws, he’s now dying and the Scripture says he called out to Jesus and said, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom” (Luke 23:42).
Now just pause as you read this article and put that simple statement in the framework of three seconds. “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” You actually can say that in less than three seconds. How fast or slow he said it, we do not know, but even if he paused to catch a breath in mid-sentence, it did not take long for sure. Jesus responded to that man that at that very day he would be with him in paradise.
On another occasion Jesus was talking about two men who went to the temple to pray. One looked up to the heavens and told God about all the good things that he had done, but another man, desperate in his need and in his sinfulness wouldn’t so much as look up but smote himself on the breast and said, “God, be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13). Again, you can look at that and quickly understand it does not take three seconds, but Jesus said of that man that he went home “justified” (Luke 18:14). He was cleansed from his sins and made right with God out of this incredible call to heaven, “God, be merciful to me a sinner.”
Maybe you are struggling with the burden of sin in your own life. You too have made some tragically wrong decisions, gone the wrong way, done the wrong thing, and you feel like you have messed up so that God would never, ever pay attention to you. You are wrong because He loves you right now. He’s waiting to hear from you right now and He will respond to you as soon as you turn from sin to the Savior. He is there to forgive, to lift your burden, change your direction, and give to you life everlasting. Jesus stands at your heart’s door waiting to come into your life. You do not have to memorize all of the Bible or know every little nuance of theology. You don’t have to have twenty years of perfect attendance and Bible study, but you do need to trust Jesus and you can do that right now.
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.