Does God choose the people who have never sinned, the followers of the law, the do-gooders who stand out? No. So often he chooses sinners to carry out his will. Think of Abraham who showed the door to Haggar and his son by her when his son Isaac was born. And what about Jacob who cheated his brother out of his rightful inheritance. Moses who grew up in the Pharaoh’s palace, killed an Egyptian who was harassing an Israelite and went into exile because of this deed. King David who killed Goliath and was a popular ruler, but eventually killed the husband of the woman he wanted to marry. Jonah who refused to go to Nineveh when the Lord asked Him to. And most of all, Paul who had hounded the early Christians—he was chosen to spread the Gospel, the teachings of Jesus to non-Jews across the Mediterranean Sea. Why would God choose these people, among many others in the Bible, to be His servants. Sinful. Flawed. Murderers, even.
God certainly doesn’t think like we humans do! We would look for the perfect, the obedient ones. We would pass right over the sinners and the unworthy! We continue to punish prisoners long after they’ve paid for their crimes. And yet here is God making these choices. And just to take Paul as an example, after an encounter with the risen Christ and some time to process what he experienced, Paul more than makes up for the troubles he caused the early church as he not only spread the new religion throughout the region, but then wrote incredible letters to the early churches outlining his teachings that are still being studied today!
Flawed sinners. Human beings. Headstrong. Egocentric. And so much more. How could God choose them? How could God choose us? Us sinners, us headstrong, egocentric human beings? I repeat: God does not think or act like we do. He confronts. He helps. He challenges. He sets the purpose for a person. He heals and transforms. And does so much more! Since He created each of us, He knows what we are truly capable of. And we, like Paul, after an encounter with the risen Christ, change in unheard of ways, into someone who is mightily useful to our Lord and His agenda for us.
It’s a stretch for us to see ourselves as God sees us, to not stumble on the sins we have committed, the shame and guilt we would hide, the pain and suffering we have endured. And yet, if we are to trust God with our lives, we have to take in His love for us, His forgiveness for all that we are, His calling us in spite of our imperfections. It is like God can see all that we are and still like and love and forgive us. He can use us even if we will never be perfect in our love for Him. It is like He has a plan in mind for each of us and can’t wait to execute it. Think of the father in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Did he once ream out his errant child? Did he exact punishment from him for his great misdeeds? Did he limit who the son could be in his life? No. No and NO! He restored him to his rightful place in the family and celebrated his return!
To take in God’s love for us we have to let go of a lot of judgment on ourselves. We have to let go of others’ opinions about who we should be. We have to detach from all the ways the world would have us believe and act and be. So, then we’re down to the essence of who we are, naked and imperfect before God. And there is His love, His forgiveness, His welcome! Chew on that for a while!
Questions to ponder over the week: Am I aware and amazed that God is working with me, through me, in me stripping away all that stands between us? Do I know what purpose God has in mind for me? How willing am I to follow His lead? Wherever He takes me? Am I willing to give my all, all that I can as a flawed human being, to God?
Blessing of the week: May we be the people of God who can let God’s love shine through us as we walk with Him. May we be comfortable with our failings and with our successes, standing in the truth about ourselves. May we be true to our Lord.
Check out my other website, deepeningyourfaith.com, for information about spiritual practices and more writing about the spiritual life.
I am collecting conversion stories. I am still not sure what the Lord’s intention is for collecting these, But if you would care to share yours, I would only use your initials to identify the author.
. I am still not sure what the Lord’s intention is for collecting these, But if you would care to share yours, I would only use your initials to identify the author.
 Luke 15:11-32