I hate it when people make the wrong choice.
Especially when it’s just so obvious… you know, the smart decision, the right direction, the intelligent choice, the proven alternative… The thing YOU would have done!
Just give me 15 minutes on a bench at the mall and I can fix half the pop culture injustices of the world:
- That haircut should have never gotten out of a magazine
- You really just bought an IPOD when you can’t afford two of the same shoes
- Sister, quit holding that dude’s hand, he gives me the creeps
- Seriously, pull your pants up
- Hey there young mom, it’s called a pacifier, they’re used to pacify that intense screaming sound coming from that rolling buggy just in front of you which you have obviously somehow grown immune to
- Wow! It should be illegal to pierce that
I am continually amazed how many people miss what is so blatantly obvious to the rest of the world. Some people just make strange choices.
Several years ago when I was in graduate school I began to realize this in a major way. My wife and I were newlyweds ourselves and we were meeting new couples. At school I had met this guy and he invited our family over for dinner at their place.
Free food, no social calendar, we were chronic moochers, everything was looking good.
But, here is the back story. This dude was not exactly a looker.
Since I am a dude and not an expert on dude looks, you just have to trust me on this… Not A Looker.
So, I warned my wife ahead of time not the point and stare like she usually does (just kidding) and tried to prepare her for the first impression.
When we got to the house and knocked on the door, this absolutely gorgeous, knockout college coed opens the door. I was so taken aback that before anything else was said, I blurted out, “I’m sorry, we have the wrong address.”
To which, she said, “Are you Andy?”
It was his wife.
I spent the entire evening trying to figure it out. Did she lose a bet? Was she partially blind? Did her parents come from a country with arranged marriages?
Eventually my curiosity got the best of me and I forced the conversation toward their personal history, and you’ll never believe it. She chose him.
WHAT IS WITH PEOPLE!?!
I just don’t understand the choices some people make. Recently, reading through scripture, I had the same experience once again with our Heavenly Father.
There’s a guy in the New Testament who goes by the name of Saul.
He is a racist bigot who believes in the supremacy of his kind.
He is puffed up, prideful and arrogant about his heritage and his education.
He is a religious zealot and fundamentalist who accepts no one’s faith but his own.
He is a cultural terrorist who sees Christianity as the disease and the Christian as the infidel.
He has imprisoned, tortured and personally killed men and women just for following Jesus.
He is God’s choice to lead the church
In fact, it was on one of his runs to persecute the Christian church in a city called Damascus that God literally knocked him off his high horse and struck him with blindness.
While Saul was recovering from his encounter with God, the Lord spoke to one of his followers named Ananias and gave him this command:
11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”
The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (Ac 9:11-14). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
I don’t fault Ananias at all for hesitating. I believe God is perfect and just and right and wise and sovereign and wicked smart, but this just doesn’t make any sense. To Ananias this would be like waking up a rabid dog by slapping him with a raw steak.
If I can paraphrase what Ananias is thinking: “God, pick anybody else in the world and it would be a better choice than this monster.”
But, that’s when God dropped the bomb.
15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.
The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (Ac 9:15). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
This Saul was God’s chosen instrument. No matter what we saw, what we think, or what we believe. This is God’s choice.
It must have seemed insane to Ananias.
We have the luxury of hindsight: Saul becomes Paul, suffered greatly for the Lord, traveled widely planting the gospel effectively, writes 80% of the New Testament, champions for women within the faith, champions for all races within the faith, fights the good fight.
I love this calling, choosing, preordaining. God sees so much more than we can see and knows more than we will ever know. That’s why He can call a racist, bigoted, terrorist, prideful hound of hell as His “chosen instrument.”
He knows what He is going to do with Him.
But, not just him (Saul/Paul). It’s you and I, too.
Despite our sins, failures, divorces, lusts, thoughts, broken promises, and all the junk, God chose usfor what He knows we are predestined to become:
11 In him we were also chosen,c having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (Eph 1:11-14). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
We got picked, too.
Huh, who knew?