I was a good kick ball player years ago and subsequently was never “picked last.” But I remember feeling pain for those who were – the clumsy science kids or the heavyset kids with Blow Pops in their lunchboxes.
Not only is it painful not to get picked often and early, but watching our children not get picked is excruciating. When TBC was not picked for the first round of Safety Patrols in Fourth Grade, it was as if her whole world had collapsed. When she didn’t make a certain soccer team in high school, it felt like someone had died.
Of course allowing our kids to learn resilience and how to cope with loss is a big part of parenting. They will make choices. Their dream colleges will make choices. Their potential employers will make choices. Their prospective boyfriends and girlfriends will make choices.
Sometimes we are chosen. And sometimes we aren’t.
As I pastor, I could neatly sum it all up to “It wasn’t meant to be.” God’s plan and all that. Something/someone better will come along. This is preparing you for something in your future. But these words do not seem helpful in the bitter depths of emptiness and agony.
Sometimes pastors imagine themselves in a certain pulpit, on a certain staff, serving a certain people but they are not chosen. Is it because I am too young? Too old? Too white? Too dark? Too gay? Too single? Too conservative? Too liberal? Too much like the last pastor? Too little like the last pastor?
Why didn’t he/she/they pick me?
Sometimes a job is picked over a relationship. Sometimes a way of life is chosen over a person. This also hurts.
How do we convey this in light of our most excruciating disappointments?
You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.
You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off ;
do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God;
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Are they just words? How do we convey the reality of always being chosen by God – even if nobody else chooses us? This is my prayer for those who don’t feel chosen tonight.