My brother is moving to North Carolina to pastor a church there. I know there are a lot of reasons for this move. One of the reasons is that my sister lives there. You see, I have one brother, and one sister. My brother is closer in age to my older sister than he is to me. They share lots of memories, went to the same Bible college, and have several of the same friends. I am the “caboose” of the family. I have a few fond memories of my brother and sister growing up, but they were not around a lot. Even so, a part of me still longs for their stamp of approval in my life. The curse of being the “baby” of the family, I guess. You know, the youngest is always wanting attention. 😉
I am genuinely happy that my brother and sister will be living within an hour of each other, but I’d be lying to say that I didn’t feel a little left out. It’s as though the caboose has been unhooked from the train and left to sit on the tracks. It’s a lonely feeling. Each year, my mother will go out to see my sister for the holidays and in the summer time, like she already does, only now it will be a big family reunion…minus the caboose. Then again, there’s that part of me that is excited for my sister, who hasn’t had anyone from her side of the family living near her in years. So there I am, happy/sad, happy/sad. A caboose on a roller coaster!
My point, however, is theological. My brother made a choice. A very logical choice. He picked the sister he knows the best. He picked the sister with whom he has the most in common. He didn’t choose me. If I were in his position, I would have picked her, too. God has also made choices, in eternity, above time, before the foundation of the world.
My brother has every right to choose which sister to live near. Genesis 2:24 says, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife…” According to scripture, I have no say over my brother’s life, or his choices. He has obeyed the scripture by leaving and cleaving. Likewise, I have no say over God or His will. The scripture says in Isaiah 43:13, “Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?” And Romans 9: 14-19 says,
14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
If my brother, a man, can choose one sister over another, why can’t God, the creator of all that was, is, and will be to come, choose to do that which He pleases with His own creation? Who am I, or any human, to say to God, “No, God, you can’t choose a people to come from (Abraham, Israel), or people to call to salvation (the elect) because that wouldn’t be fair”? Even we, when we create something, choose what we shall do with that thing we have created. My sister knits scarves. She doesn’t wait for the scarf to decide where it wants to go, but rather, she gives it away to the person of her choosing. As a mother, I do not have to ask my child what he wants to eat, I can put before him that which he should eat and he will eat it. On and on the analogy goes: the creator, the owner, choosing what to do with his creation, without regard for whom he may be leaving out.
There is not one single person walking around saying, “I would love to be God’s child, but I’m not chosen.” If they are thinking that way, they should cry out to God for salvation, for He will not turn away from those who call upon Him (Rom. 10:13). However, there are many people who have not been chosen for something by man who are very hurt. Remember those days of choosing teams for kickball? Remember holding your breath, hoping against hope that you wouldn’t be chosen last? Yeah, I remember.
When I make a choice, I do it based on the good I can see in that person or situation, like my brother did. But God’s choice was not made because He saw good in me (or in any of mankind) at all. He chose me before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4) and He will never let me go (John 10:28).
Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.
~ Psalm 65:4