Weakness wins – sometimes. We grow weary in our well doing. We feel alone and forgotten. We stumble and struggle to take the next step.
What is it that should come to mind when we find ourselves feeling this way?
I think it is this: “I chose you.”
Jesus spoke this sentence of comfort. It came during His long Last Supper talk with His Apostles (see John 15:16). These men needed a sentence like this. They were learning all kinds of new things in the Upper Room in Jerusalem that night.
Jesus told them He was going away to the Father. He was leaving to make places for them in Heaven. He told them the Holy Spirit was coming to live in them and in all believers. He told them that they would be doing great, great things in the power of the Spirit. Sorrow, they would have to learn how to deal with it. The world’s hatred and persecutions were coming, He said.
All of this, I am sure, left this ragtag gang of misfits with boggled minds. Centuries later, concepts about the Apostles have become twisted. They have been elevated to hero status. But really they were people altogether like you and me.
Love Made Him Do It
The good news for them was that the success of the mission Jesus imparted to them would not depend on them. Jesus knew they, like all men and women, were made from dust.
Life never seems to let us forget where we came from. Our human natures pull us toward the soil from which we are made. Just when we think we have gotten something figured out, we take a tumble and wind up with our faces planted in the dirt.
“I chose you.”
These are the words that need to come to our minds when this happens.
His mind and heart have always been toward us. He was there as we were being fearfully and wonderfully made in the wombs of our mothers. He considered and crafted His purpose for us before He made the mountains and hills and valleys, even before He scattered the stars in the sky and gave them their names.
He chose us for one big reason, I think. It was love that made Him do it. We are here to give length and breadth, height and depth, to love; for God is love. The image of God in us is the image of His love. He desired to display the image of His love throughout all Creation. That He sets His heart on ones such as us surely befuddles the angels and baffles and infuriates the devil.
Jesus kept telling the disciples to “love one another as I have loved you.” Give space for His love, He told them. Forgive with His forgiveness. Open love’s door and show people into the big, expansive room of grace and the finished work.
We have to let love flow out from us and among us. And when we find this difficult to do, as we often will, we just have to remember this simple and profound truth:
“I chose you.”
Never Forsaken, Never Forgotten
At times, I have felt very much un-chosen. All of us have these feelings. We wander away like confused lambs. Before long, our wool has gotten us entangled in a thicket of thorns. We lose sight of the Good Shepherd and His flock. We’re stuck.
But we are never forgotten or forsaken. We look up and we can see His long staff reaching toward us. His eyes are fixed on us. We can be out of place, certainly; really it happens every day in some way. Yet, we can never be out of His mind and heart.
He seeks us and rescues us. He sets us free from the mess of weeds and twigs that bind us. With strength and care, He lifts us to His shoulders. He Himself carries us home along the right way, to be sure that we get back with the others. He doesn’t leave us to find our own way back. Lost ones are brought back to the fold.
In Luke 15, Jesus tells us the Shepherd does this joyfully. The Son celebrates when the lost are found. He calls His friends and neighbors to rejoice with Him. He wants the Father, the Spirit, the Church, and the angels to enjoy the fruit of redemption.He made the way for us to be one with Him. This oneness is forever. He cannot forsake those who are His. He is faithful, He is just. He forgives. Click To Tweet
“I chose you.”
How many did He choose? Not so many. There were the 99 and the one who came home. Just a little flock, but one loved by Him. A few coins, a small family with only two sons – this is what God works with, according to Luke 15.
He made the way for us to be one with Him. This oneness is forever. He cannot forsake those who are His. He is faithful, He is just. He forgives. He’s greater than our old hearts that can hang on to bitterness and heaviness.
“I chose you.”
The Shepherd’s love will not let us go. The green pastures, the still waters, the prepared tables – all have been provided by Him (see Psalm 23). We may stray from those things at times. His goodness and mercy remains, however, following after us all of our days.