We want to be chosen.
Whether we’re 7 years old and want to be chosen for the better kickball team at recess, 16 years old and want to be chosen as that special someone’s date to the prom, 30 years old and want to be chosen for that promotion at work that would secure our future.
We want to be chosen.
We want someone to see us, our effort, our talent, and make an intentional decision about who we are as an individual, that will tell us that we’re desirable.
And we let this drive our lives. How many times do I hit the gym this week? How much overtime do I put in at work? How long do I spend picking out my outfit? The list of areas that this desire to be chosen affects is endless. Sometimes we can let this desire run us into the ground. We want to be chosen and we’ll do whatever it takes, even at the risk of burning ourselves out. And if this desire is not met, if I’m not chosen, disappointment and despair can take over so easily.
Before we go any further, let me say that this desire to be chosen is SO GOOD. It’s not a curse that we have to put up with. It’s not a longing that we have to shove way down deep. It’s not a sign of being needy or desperate.
A great priest friend of mine once told me that our ache carries a message. In every corner of my ache lies the voice of the One who can ease it. I won’t hear that voice unless I venture into the ache, but when I do – when I find the courage to inquire about this desire to be chosen, He speaks directly into that deep ache and says, I have chosen you and I am proud to call you my own.
Brothers and sisters, you and I have already been chosen. And we’ve been chosen for something that is greater than any date, any promotion, any world-class kickball team.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you. – John 15:16
We make our choice to follow or not follow God. To love Him or not love Him. And sometimes in the midst of our decision, we forget that God has chosen us first. He chose us long before we had ever heard His name. He chose us, knowing full well that we may choose to never choose Him. He chose us, knowing that we would choose Him, but still hurt Him everyday by our action and inaction.
But even in this – He doesn’t regret His choice for us. I regret choices that I make all the time, like St. Paul who does the thing he doesn’t want to do and doesn’t do the thing he wants to do (Romans 7:15).
The Father’s choice for you and me led Him to much pain and heartbreak, but He doesn’t regret it. It isn’t in His nature to abandon his faithfulness.
Behold, I have graven you on the palms of my hands. – Isaiah 49:16
I once heard about this ancient wedding tradition, where the groom would tattoo the name of his beloved bride on his hands as a sign of his devotion and faithfulness to her.
This is OUR story. When Christ the Bridegroom came to lay down His life for His bride, they pierced His hands with nails. The scars on His hands bear our names. They’re a sign of the lengths that Love will go to show His beloved that He’s chosen her. He’s not leaving. He’s not giving up on us. He’s chosen us and He doesn’t regret it.
Brothers and sisters, our desire to be chosen is satisfied in this. The Father has chosen us. But not just “us” – You and Me. By name. He’s not calling us by the name the world calls us, by what we believe we are sometimes. He doesn’t call us by our sin. He doesn’t call us by our broken circumstance. He doesn’t call us by our disappointments. He doesn’t even call us by our accomplishments.
You shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord will give you. No more shall you be called forsaken or your land desolate; you shall be called My delight is in her, and your land married; for the Lord delights in you. You shall be called Sought out, a city not forsaken. – Isaiah 62:2, 4, 12.
He calls us His. This is what He’s chosen us for –relationship with Him. An intimate relationship, where we find rest in the security of knowing that we have indeed been chosen. And when we’re not chosen for things in this life, we have the blessed assurance of knowing that we’ve been chosen by a good Father, a good Savior. It was a choice that cost Him everything, but there’s no regret in His voice as He calls us by the name He’s given us: Chosen.