By Tiffany Chartier

Special to the Prosper Press

There is an envelope under a stack of miscellaneous papers on my writing desk. Blue ink from a ballpoint pen reveals my cursive penmanship on the return and recipient’s address. The stamp is in place, albeit slightly crooked. The envelope is ready to be mailed except for one component: it is empty.

I notice the envelope a few times over the last several weeks – three weeks, to be exact. At that time, I selected a single white envelope from the bottom drawer of my filing cabinet. I addressed the envelope to a friend who I knew was going through a tough time. I am not super close to her, but close enough that I cannot ignore Jesus’ tug to reach out. I intend to write her a letter of encouragement … something to let her know I am thinking of her. My thoughts remain with her, but the letter remains unwritten. The envelope gradually becomes buried under bills, receipts, invitations and sticky notes. Out of view, there are days the envelope is forgotten. The remaining days, I chastise myself for not taking the time but tell myself I will write to her when I am at my computer. I find myself at my computer many times with the same outcome – the envelope remains empty.

The envelope is intended for her but will remain forever with me. She passed away unexpectedly last week. I was shocked. I still am. Like a storm, the news came as a jagged rip of lightning - not clean; an uneven match of wills, trying to reconcile what I heard with what I wanted to believe. I could almost count the seconds after the lightning before the thunder of remorse shook me. I felt as empty as the envelope.

What a loss. I did not lose my friend - I know exactly where she is - she is with the Lord. What is lost is the opportunity – the opportunity to engage, to get to know her better, to act on Jesus’ tug. I did not follow His lead. Instead, I put the envelope aside and accommodated my schedule. I set her aside. Out of view. What a miss. I miss her. What a bitter truth to have her on my mind more now that she is gone than during the last several weeks when she was just down the road. Jesus, forgive me. Forgive me for carrying on as if You adjust Your plans to my schedule. As the Creator of time, You alone regulate the timetable of this temporary life. And I am a humbled fool to live as if my hands control time. What a gift. Today is such a gift. What arrogance to live as if I have time - we have time.

There is an envelope that now rests on top of a stack of miscellaneous papers on my writing desk. The envelope is ready to be mailed except for two components: it is empty, and the recipient has changed her address to Heaven. I am keeping the envelope as a reminder to respond to His tugs. When Jesus called the first disciples, they responded without delay.

“‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’ At once they left their nets and followed him” (Matthew 4:19-20).

I desire to be an “at once” disciple for Christ. Discipleship involves action in response to our faith. God is not a God of waste. He uses even our folly to draw us nearer to Him for His glory. The letter that was never written – this will be what God uses in my life to heighten my sensitivity to His voice. To His desires over my distractions. His calling over my plans.

“Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him” (Matthew 4:21-22).

SGLY, dear reader.

(Smile, God Loves You.)

Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian Author and opinion columnist. Submit feedback and connect for more soul lifts on Facebook: Tiffany Kaye Chartier; Instagram:@tiffanysgly; and Twitter: @tiffanychartier.