There are missed opportunities in divine providence. The Lord gives opportunities that can be lost. I will mention three.
1. ‘And therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious to you’ Isa 30:18.
There are situations in which the Lord is waiting for us to act. There are enough Christians in Scotland, with enough talents, money and resources to put Christian MSPs into the Scottish Parliament and improve the laws of this land. When will they do so? Are they in fact hypercalvinists waiting for the Holy Spirit to act when He has already acted? What more do they need when the Lord has already provided the resources? ‘Therefore will the Lord wait’ till they learn to act together. It is similar to ‘I will go and return to My place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek My face’ Hos 5:15.
2. ‘Oh that My people had listened to me, and Israel had walked in My ways!
I should soon have subdued their enemies and turned My hand against their adversaries’ Ps 81:13-14.
The Lord tells us what He would have done if they had listened and walked according to His revealed will. They missed out because they didn’t. He would have acted on their behalf; instead, He did not reward disobedience. This does sit well with some people’s fatalistic theology and it is time that people learned their theology from God’s own Word rather than their preconceived ideas.
3. ‘Moses supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not’ Act 7:25.
There was a 40-year delay in the recognition of Moses’ mission to deliver the children of Israel from Egypt Acts 7:25, as well as the 40-year delay in the wilderness—for they ‘could not enter in because of unbelief’ Hebrews 3:17-19.
There were 40 years of extra suffering in Egypt and 40 years more in the wilderness because of missed opportunities, ‘because of unbelief’.
How many more decades must pass before Christians will understand the mandate to promote Christ’s Lordship over the nations? This is Christ’s aim and target:
‘the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ’ Rev 11:15.
Shakespeare commented on it thus:
“There is a tide in the affairs of men,Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.”