When God called Abraham, He told him to leave everything and everyone behind (Gen 12:1-3). He obeyed, but some of his family went with him including his father and his nephew. They went about half-way to the promised land of Canaan from the city of Ur and stopped in a city called Haran. There Abraham's father died (Gen 11:31-32). Then Abraham left Haran to go to Canaan, and his nephew Lot continued with him (Gen 12:4). There was not enough space for both Abraham and Lot in the same area, so Abraham graciously offered Lot the first choice on where to go to make room (Gen 13). Lot chose the plains of the Jordan River while Abraham stayed in the hill country in the promised land. The plain was near the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot ended up living in Sodom, which was a very poor decision. He was taken captive in a war and Abraham had to rescue him (Gen 14). He went back afterward, and was under the judgment that God was about to pour out on Sodom, but Abraham interceded for him (Gen 18-19). He lost most of his family in the judgment. His wife almost escaped the judgment, but did not. He had been right there with Abraham on the ground floor of one of the greatest things God ever did. He was almost part of it, but just missed it.
Solomon had David for a father. What a heritage. He was chosen to be the next king of Israel, and to build the temple of God (1Chr 28-2Ki 1). He loved God for many years, but when he was old he married many pagan wives who turned his heart away from God (1Ki 11). He even built idols within sight of the very temple he built for God. He almost finished his life with a great legacy for the next generation. The book of Ecclesiastes is his account of regret for an opportunity wasted.
Paul was arrested in Jerusalem under false allegations from the Jews because he was a Christian (Acts 22). He became a political hot potato while in custody (Acts 23-35). Finally his case was brought before king Agrippa, before whom Paul gave his testimony (Acts 26). Agrippa responded by saying, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian (Acts 26:28)." Paul replied "I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds (Acts 28:29)."
When Jesus came to His people, this was the greatest opportunity they were ever given. He was right there walking among them, teaching them, and doing mighty miracles for them. Yet as a people they missed the day of their visitation (Lk 19:41:44). God gave these people great opprtunities, and they just missed them. Almost is not good enough. Whether we realize it or not, God gives us many opportunities to be blessed. It is our responsibility to realize them and take them. So close and yet so far is the epitaph of too many people. We need to pray and be spiritually aware of God, and what He is doing in our lives. Regret is a cruel master. Joy comes when we know the will of God and do it.