Nikki…usually wore a black leather motorcycle jacket, boots and jeans. Chicken soup and pasta fagioli were among her specialties. One friend said the 54-year-old Long Branch woman was a jockey years ago, while another said it was more likely that she simply worked with horses at the racetrack. She spoke her mind, often tried to help those in need and had a good heart, friends said. ’She was a tough broad, ’ said one neighbor, Denise, who did not want her last name published. ’I can tell you that, and that’s how you can describe her — as a tough broad.’ Asbury Park Press, August 2008
Nikki was found dead, brutally murdered in her apartment; the alleged assailant was arrested.
Nikki was not a friend, but back in the day we hung out and drank excessively in the same filthy places. That was over thirty years ago. Perhaps six years later I met Jesus. In that time, and in the decades since, I never thought to introduce Nikki to Jesus. I supposed, having been in and out of trouble (and jail) through her life, others likely shared the Gospel with her. My hope is that somewhere prior to her last gulp of air one of those seeds germinated, yet I cannot help but think I had squandered an opportunity or two to speak the truth to her.
Now don’t get me wrong; I am not taking on the burden (of the possibility) of her not being saved. That choice was always hers. I’m confident if she didn’t hear the Gospel from me, God would have sent someone else. What troubles me, in a ‘I-have-a-chance-to-learn-from-my-mistakes’ kind of way, is that I quenched the work of the Holy Spirit when I opted to do or say nothing—in that sense I denied Jesus Christ. It would seem that I failed to see the urgency of the situation.
I am not proud of it, but when I read that Nikki died, I chuckled. Oh not at the fact that she had been brutally murdered, but because I had assumed (because of her hazardous life style) she was probably already dead. Girls like Nikki tend to have short lives. I confess that it got me thinking that the only real difference between Nikki and me is that I made one good choice in my life and she did not, that good choice of course being to accept God’s free gift of grace.
In Nikki’s passing a few years ago, I re-concluded I needed to step it up a notch, oh not to overreact in my flesh, but to be more in tune to the Lord’s promptings and when He is guiding me to open my mouth on His behalf. Life is short and people are dying in their sin. Yes it’s true, God will send somebody; His will will be done, but shame on us if we’re chosen and we say no.
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