Good Try, But Not Good Enough
The man and his wife came in and sat down. As the first songs were played a sweet move of the Spirit of God began to sweep through the congregation. Saints raised their hands in worship, some clapped, and still others rejoiced in dancing. The man and his wife sat perfectly still, but they were not unaffected. Slowly a tear trickled down the man’s face. His wife sniffed. Another tear followed the first one. She reached for a tissue. Soon both were crying in earnest as the Presence of God tugged at their hearts, drawing them toward Him. The worship service came to an end, the Pastor read his text and began to preach. He preached the Word of God in love and sincerity, desperately trying to reach the man and his wife. The couple’s tears had not abated, rather they cried through the entire sermon.
When the Pastor had preached everything he felt like God had asked him to say, he invited everyone that would to come to the front and pray. The man sat rigidly, hands gripping the pew in front of him so hard his knuckles were white as he fought the urge to go forward and give his heart to God. For the next half an hour as others around them prayed and responded to the Word of God, the man and his wife sat stubbornly refusing to move. Finally, the service was over, the conviction lifted, the tears all dried. The man approached the Pastor, his brother, and said, "Good try, Robby. Real good try…but not quite good enough.”
When I heard the Pastor relay this story several years after it took place, you could still see the heartache in his eyes, still read the “Did I do enough?” questions in his facial expression, and still see the frustration at seeing his brother come so close to turning his life over to God…and yet it wasn’t quite good enough. As I pondered his words I realized that while it hurt horribly for the Pastor personally, the reality was that his brother really hadn't been addressing him that day. Sure, he thought he was, but for all practical purposes his statement had been, “Good try, God. Real good try…but not quite good enough.” Because while it was the Pastor whose mouth did the preaching, it was the almighty God who was gently reaching, wooing, and calling this man and his wife. He was doing His very best to draw them to Himself so He could give them a wonderful life that was sweeter than any they had ever known. But alas! The man decided that God’s best wasn’t quite good enough for him.
Sadly, this man is not alone. For some it seems that Calvary was a good try, but the sacrifice He made isn’t good enough for them, and certainly not sufficient to merit a change in lifestyle. He reaches for them, but the gentle drawing of His Presence just isn’t sweet enough to pull them to an altar. He offers them a good marriage and a strong family serving Him together, but that doesn’t compare to a life in the world with its many lovers and great entertainment. God presents a clean life free of addiction, promiscuity, and emptiness, but somehow that seems lackluster when compared to the thrills of sin. He promises them Heaven, but Heaven dulls in comparison to the appeal of living according to one’s own desires. Yes, God offers us His very best, and for some it’s a good try…but not quite good enough.
For some who choose to spurn God’s best the consequences will only be seen in eternity, when they are done living life the way they want to live it and death claims them unprepared. For others their lives will meet shipwreck, leaving them empty and hurting and wondering where they went wrong. For this man his decision would cost him his children – one would die of a drug overdose and the other would face intense struggles with addiction among other things. I have often wondered if he stood at the grave of his child and wished he had allowed God’s offer to be good enough when his children were young enough to be shown a better path.
The great God of Heaven loves us enough to offer each of us salvation that He paid for with His own blood. It’s up to us to choose to accept that offer…or callously say, “Good try, God, but not quite good enough.”
Note: The story above is true. I changed the names to avoid ready identification of the people involved.
Sis. Hood is author and editor at The Lighthouse Blog. An accomplished Christian teacher and communicator, she travels with her husband as they serve as Evangelists.