I had polio when I was an infant. The resulting disability was severe scoliosis – a twisting of the spine in both the thoracic and lumbar regions. The evidence of this twist is that one shoulder blade sticks out and the opposing hip is raised.
As a child, I was terribly self‐conscious of my condition and the attendant ramifications. Because of medical treatments attempting to stem the potentially fatal twisting, I was prohibited from participating in the elementary school’s physical education program. As a result, if there were teams for anything, whether a game or any competition, I was never chosen. I was always the last one standing along the wall waiting for some compassionate leader to place me on a team, even though the team members were looking at me with eyes that were pleading “No, not here, not on this team!”
While I am certain that my experience is not typical, I suspect that there is a universal understanding of the feeling of not being chosen – of being left at the wall, waiting – of rejection.
But, praise the Lord, He has looked on me with favor. In John 15:13‐17, Jesus says:
Greater love has no one than this: that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
God has chosen His people, from the foundation of the world. Indeed, in Deuteronomy 7 we read:
It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
Deuteronomy 7:7-8 [ESV]
In the New Testament, Paul reiterates the concept of God’s intentional selection of those who would be His people:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.
Ephesians 1:3-4 [ESV]
Being chosen by God includes recognizing His intimate knowledge of us, not merely as one of millions of creatures that inhabit this planet called Earth. Centuries before Jesus lived, David wrote that God knew him even before he was born. Specifically, in Psalm 139:16 we read:
“…in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
This tells me that God’s knowledge of us is personal and intimate. Such intimacy is further described in Psalm 139 when we are told that God knows my thoughts, my words, and my ways.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
Who else knows us like this? Not even my husband, who knows me very well, can predict what I am going to say before I say it. Indeed, this is often evident by the look on his face after I say something that catches him by surprise!
Yet Scripture says that, despite knowing all about me, God loves me and that He chose me to be a child of His even before time began, before the foundation of the world.
Just think of it – the God of the universe, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, knows us as specific individuals on this minute planet in just one of the galaxies of the massive universe. And, in His sovereign majesty He has chosen us! He loves us, guides us, counsels us, and is present with us moment by moment. Indeed, His Spirit indwells those who claim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior … that means intimate communication with Him, now and forever more.
Shouldn’t this personal God receive our honor and worship? Shouldn’t His love to us cause us to follow Jesus’ example in love and service to each other, and to all those we come in contact with as we live our life for the Lord? I pray that we would respond to His wondrous grace and mercy with gratitude, love, reverence, obedience, and overwhelming joy!
Father, forgive me when I have accepted your love and grace without recognizing the incredible cost of my salvation; without remembering the magnitude of my sin that has been atoned for by Jesus’ death and resurrection; and forgive me when I fail to give others grace, mercy, love and encouragement. Father, thank you for your mercy in not giving me what I deserve, and thank you for your grace in giving me that which I could never acquire on my own, adoption into your family through Jesus Christ my Savior and Lord.