Articles and thoughts by Steve Green.
Have you every have one of those uneasy playground experiences where members of two teams were being chosen for a game? Self-appointed captains stood opposite the group of anxious participants, sizing up each one, selecting the best candidates who would ensure victory.
There were the confident ones who always got picked first. They had no worries. Their athletic prowess assured them of a top spot in any contest. Then there were the others who looked longingly at the captains, hoping to appear useful and be of some value to the team.
I wondered what it was like to always be chosen first. Those few had a relaxed and confident demeanor. The truth of the matter is, the captains usually had a pretty good idea of how each kid played. I mean, the reason some got picked first is that they really were better than the others. And the reason the rest of us squirmed under the scrutiny of the captains was that deep down we knew we were not as good as we would like to be.
In the course of time we try to find our niche; something that we are good at. Our goal is to be recognized as capable and welcomed by those who see our value. One of the most significant events in life is being chosen by someone to be a mate. At the beginning of the process, both people try to make a good impression and are on their best behavior. To be chosen is an awesome thing. To have someone love us is amazing. Eventually, however, the good impression fades and we realize that we have chosen a real person, complete with the good, the bad and the sometimes ugly!
The greatest gift I ever received from Marijean was when she looked me straight in the eyes, knowing everything about me; the foolish, the shameful, the sinful and the broken, and said, “I still chose you.” There are no words to describe such an act.
The only thing that surpasses that gift is God’s own choosing of us. Ephesians 1:4 says that “he chose us in him before the foundation of the world.” That is truly remarkable! Imagine. God knew every detail of our fallenness, every failure, every corruption of our hearts even before we came to be. Still, he chose us in Christ to be adopted into his family and to be given the full rights of sons and daughters. It’s one thing to chose someone based on limited information, for that is all we have of one another. Yet doesn’t it stagger the mind to think that with full awareness, the One who sees beyond our fig leaves and is not impressed by our PR, still would chose us as His own? That kind of love is transforming. No wonder Paul prayed that the believers in Ephesus would “have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,” and that they would be filled with all the fullness of God.
In this life there will still be anxious moments of uncertainty and insecurity when we might not be chosen by others. But where it really matters, in things eternal and lasting, we need to remember that the One who knows us best, loves us most. He chose us in Christ, before the foundation of the world.
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