I find myself saying it more often these days. Maybe it’s because of what I’ve lived through in this one life. We all have trials, hardships and heartbreaks. I’ve had my share. Some may think I’ve had just a little bit more, but I’ve found out in the most humbling ways that I’ve had a lot less than so many.

I’ve never been a single mother wondering how I was going to feed my children the next meal, but I’ve known some who have. I’ve never had to go on the run to escape an abusive husband who’s sworn to kill me, but I’ve known some who have.

I’ve never battled mental illness. Day after day. Week after week. Year after year. Or endured the stigma that’s attached to those who do, but I’ve known and loved some who have.

I’ve never spent the last few days of my life making sure that everyone else will be all right, giving them encouragement and love with my last few breaths, but I’ve known some who have.

I’ve never risked my life to attend an illegal house church just so that I could hear more about Jesus, but I’ve heard about it from those who’ve witnessed it firsthand. They’re moved by the incredible courage of oppressed Christians, and they’re in awe of the undeniable presence of God.

Yes, I find myself saying these words more and more these days. Not because they’re good words to say. Not because they’re soothing or the proper thing to say. No, because they need to be said. They wave at me from distances others do not see. From hidden landscapes and far-off seas that don’t exist in the Midwest even though I feel sea mist on my face. They demand to be seen. To be heard.

They nudge me from the inside with help from the Holy Spirit. (Is it completely improper to think that sometimes the Lord gives us a nudge that’s actually closer to a little kick?)

These words won’t leave until I release them on my tongue. The minute they hit my tongue, they shoot forth with intensity and boldness. They have a life of their own.

What are these seemingly important words? They are very simple.

None of us is guaranteed any time past this one moment.

Uh, that’s not the next moment. It’s the one moment in which we’re presently living. The one in which we’re presently taking a breath. Right now. I’ve witnessed it countless times. Someone breathes in but they don’t breathe out. Or the opposite. They exhale, but they don’t inhale. We’ve all heard the stories. Someone is doing something one minute and gone the next.

None of us is guaranteed any time past this one moment.

So what does that mean for you and me? It means we need to love the people we love right now and let them know it. We need to let go of grudges and give forgiveness like it’s a special gift for everyone, because it is.

We need to surrender our lives to the Lord God of all creation. This minute. The one in which we’re still breathing. There will come a moment when we no longer have that choice to make. When that opportunity for salvation through Jesus is no longer an option.

Don’t be fooled by our culture. Not everyone who participates in life gets a ribbon that allows him or her into Heaven. Being a good person won’t get you there. Going to church once a week and dropping money into the collection plate won’t get you there.

There’s only one way to Heaven. Jesus himself tells us that in the Bible. “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

You can’t slide in on your charm. Your money. Your fame. Your family name. Your good looks or your Mama’s faith. You can’t sneak in a side window or enter smelling like the things and people you worship who are not the one true God.

Nope. And neither can the ones you love.

“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

None of us is guaranteed any time past this one moment, that’s why we have to be ready for eternity right now. Don’t let another moment pass before you surrender your life to Jesus. Don’t let another moment pass before you share the Good News with others. You may not have one more moment on this earth. Make it count.

Kathy Yoder is a devotional writer. She may be reached at kathyyoder4@gmail.com.

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