In the 1800s, poet John Greenleaf Whittier wrote one of his most quoted poems in the English language. The poem was titled, “Maud Muller.” You’ve never heard of it? Actually, not many people remember this sorrowful poem, but generations of people have quoted two famous lines from its final stanza.
“Maud Muller” is about a young maiden who, while working the fields one day, sees a handsome young Judge riding by on horseback. She offers him a drink of cool water. Their encounter lasts only a few moments, but it makes a deep impression on both of them. Maud is greatly attracted to the Judge, and she dreams of marrying someone of his gentleness and integrity. She could leave the fields behind and live as the wife of a wealthy and powerful man.
At the same time, the Judge is attracted to Maud. He is tired of his career, and he dreams of marrying a warm, compassionate woman like Maud and settling into a simpler life in the country. But neither Maud nor the Judge acknowledges their attraction to one another. They are from different social classes—they cannot risk breaking the bonds of social conformity.
Maud later marries a man who brings her much pain and hardship. The Judge also enters into a loveless marriage. In the final stanza of the poem, Whittier offers us this warning: “For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: ‘It might have been!'”
Spiritually speaking, “It might have been” will be the cry of many in the Day of Judgment when the Lord declares, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Mat. 7:23). How many opportunities have been squandered, how many times has the Gospel call been rejected? Do you hear the cry, “What might have been?”
Remember, “For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). Friends, do not waste another opportunity to be right with the Lord. Believe on Him (Jn. 3:16), confess His name (Rom. 10:9-10), repent of your sins (Lk. 13:3), be immersed for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; Mk. 16:16), and live faithfully (Rev. 2:10).