“As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious . . . you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim that excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
1 Peter 1:4, 9
Do you remember the Chicken Soup for the Soul books? You know, those books full of inspirational stories about every person, job, hobby and life circumstance under the sun? I’m pretty sure that Barnes & Noble had a whole section in their store donated to the series. One day while visiting my mother-in-law, I picked up one about adoption (my husband was adopted). As I skimmed its pages, I came across one of those cute cartoons scattered throughout the book. I can’t remember it exactly, but it included a couple kids (one biological and one adopted), and they were comparing families. The little adopted boy ended by saying “My parents chose me.” Nearly a decade later, those words still stick out in my mind.
The morning after we returned home from the hospital with our eldest son, I called my mom practically in tears, begging her to come help. Could she watch him for a few hours so we could get a little bit of sleep? I was desperate. I had no clue how to be a mom. Don’t get me wrong, I knew how to pick up toys, change a diaper and rock a baby. I had the babysitting thing down pat, but parenting? Well, that was a whole other story. He was an extremely fussy baby, and I often wondered if God was punishing me for the sins I had committed before getting married. I wondered, as I still do, if I was cut out to be a mom.
It’s almost been eleven years since that first frightful night, and I am still learning what it means to be a mom to my growing-up little boy. I have jokingly referred to him as my “guinea pig” because he experiences all my firsts. He has been so patient, so resilient, so loving and kind. The boy has a heart of gold, and I know God has been working in his life to speak to me. When I was feeling ungrateful, his little voice sang a song of thanks from the backseat of the car. When Daddy was stuck in a frustrating job, he prayed faithfully every night for years for him to get a new job (and he did).
I want my son to know something . . . If I could go back to that day eleven years ago and pick any baby in that hospital, I would have chosen him. He is my beautiful boy whose eyes dance when he really smiles. He is my black-and-white thinker, but he has also become my dreamer with big ideas for the future. He is my responsible one. He is my fellow book-lover and enjoyer of school supplies. God gave him to us and chose me to be his forever Mommy.
We all want to be chosen. From the very beginning, we desire to be accepted, included and loved. We want to be part of a forever family. No one wants to be rejected, or worse, abandoned. Unfortunately, we live in a fallen world. A world where babies are aborted and children are neglected. A world where kids go to school hungry and come home to an empty house. A world where human parents make mistakes that leave scars. A world where divorce and brokenness are normal. But there is One who is a Father to the fatherless (see Psalm 68:5). Rejected by the world, we were chosen by God. Not because we deserved it, for He came to us in our most helpless state (see Romans 5:6-8). He chose us because He loves (see Isaiah 43:1, 4).
As I write these words about being chosen, there is someone who weighs heavy on my heart. He has experienced too much rejection. He has been abandoned too many times, and he has put walls around his heart for protection that it would never happen again. But I worry—is he protecting himself from the One who will never fail him? “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me” (Isaiah 49:15-16). What wonderfully powerful words spoken by the Lord! Although we live in a fallen world, we do not serve a fallen god. He is not like us. We too often mistake Him for being made in our image, but how faulty our thinking is! He set the example for us! He is the perfect, faultless Father who seeks out His own, regardless of the cost.
Is there someone in your life that needs to be reminded that they are chosen? Is there someone in your family (a spouse, a child) who needs assurance of their special place in your life? If you had to do it again, would you have chosen them? Are you an unexpectedly pregnant mom contemplating abortion or a family considering adoption? Let God show you the path that He has chosen for you! Maybe it’s you who is struggling with the shame of rejection. Maybe you don’t have a forever family. I have great news! God has chosen you!
“. . . but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.”