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A Missed Opportunity

When I came home from church today (May 22nd, 2016), I was saddened by the news of a fallen friend and boss. It troubled me dearly because I was looking forward to talking with him soon when I traveled to south Florida.

About four years ago, he had contacted me about a walking cane I owned. He told me that if I ever wanted to get rid of it to let him know because he would like to have first bids on it.

You say, that must be some type of walking cane? Let me tell you about this cane. This cane was special. It lived in water for a while. In fact, it was part of a root on a tree that was in the Suwanee River located in White Springs, Florida. A gentleman, who had a friend who was having a hard time getting around, thought “I bet I could help my friend out by doing something special for him.” So, he cut a piece of this root off a dying tree and cut it to the right length. Then he styled it, cleaned it up and made a beautiful walking cane for his friend. It had a one of a kind design and there would never be another one like it.

The gentleman who received the cane used it until his health got the best of him and he ended up in a wheelchair. A few months later, I met this man and he told me the story of the cane and the history behind it. In fact, he told me that he no longer needed it, but wanted me to have it because I was now having issues with walking due to my bad knees and bad back.

This cane was different to say the least. My father-n-law would often say to me, “Walking tall! Walking tall!!” The cane was about 1-1/2 inches in diameter and was very heavy. It was not for just anybody to use. It was just an ugly root at one time, but this stranger found it and made something good out of it. It was special!

A friend of mine saw a picture of me and my wife in which I was using the cane. He then asked me about it. He had lost his leg from diabetes and now had an artificial leg but had been looking for a heavy-duty cane. He had been such a good friend and good boss (chief of police) that I sent it to him via my sister who happened to be traveling to south Florida. I didn’t have to do that but wanted to because I figured he needed it more than I did now.

You might be thinking, so what it’s just a cane. Why all the comments about a walking cane? Well, though it may not seem to be anything to you, it was special to me just like this story. You see, I was nothing in life. A man come along and said, it looks like I can do something with this root (me). He picked me up, cleaned me up, shaped it (me) and then said one day I am going to use you in a special way. You (root) will be used to help people walk better. In fact, the ones that use it (you) to help them walk better will brag on you (root).

So, in simple words, God found me just laying around having no purpose in life. He had been around me in life, but I never wanted anything to do with him. He picked me up, cleaned me up and now because of him I am a changed person. I had to realize that I needed a change. I needed Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. I was a no-good piece of root laying in the water, but He saw something special in me. In fact, I would go so far as to say that he sees something special in you too.

Finally, in 1991 getting tried of my life the way it was and having nowhere else to turn, I turned to Jesus Christ. I am 100% different that what I was. Yes, I still make mistakes, but Jesus never gives up on me and continues to mold me.

My friend gave me a chance in my law enforcement career. He was not only a great boss but a great friend. With his help, and the help of others, I became the police officer I was. However, in my personal life Jesus Christ changed me as well. He made me a minister of the Gospel.

My heart is cops! Not only do I love cops, but my friends that were cops and that I used to work side by side with. I trusted them with my life. We have seen the worse in people’s lives. We saw broken people; homes and you name it.

After my law enforcement career, I talked with several officers who knew that there had to be something else in life other that what we experienced as cops. They found Jesus Christ as well. But then there were others who didn’t. I guess that’s why God laid on my heart to start as outreach ministry to law enforcement and first responders. I understood just what they experienced.

I never had any idea that today I would have been an evangelist, minister, author and writer. God has allowed me to write four books, a Bible Study and fifty-four gospel tracts so far. The biggest challenge in my life has been going back to all the ones I used to work with side by side and witnessing to them about what God has done in my life. Sometimes I have missed opportunities.

I say to you: …. not only do I love and care about you, but Jesus Christ loves you. John 3:16, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. He, and He alone, changed my life.

Please don’t continue to go through life without him. All you need to do is to ask Jesus Christ to forgive you for your sins and ask Him to save you. If He can change me, then He can change you. We have been though too much in life and seen too much. Know that life can be better with Jesus Christ in it. Some of us know already, but you need to know as well.

Maybe, this is the reason God changed me – so that one day He could use me to reach out to you and give you hope.

Bro. Joe Taylor