I was thinking today about the choices I’ve made in my life. I’m wondering why I’m so generally dissatisfied with the present yet I have this overwhelming inner knowing that there is this huge plan for my life. I am 34 years old. I had a child out of wedlock, I have been divorced, I have attempted suicide numerous times as teen unsuccessfully. There was a point in which I was so mentally unstable that I am certain I was a burden to everyone in my life. I have essentially chosen wrong when faced with every major decision along the way. Or have I?
I’ve heard of this “predestination” but I guess I never really gave it too much thought. Then, during my devotions I ran across this verse in John 15:16 that says “You didn’t choose me, I chose you.” What does that mean? I thought I made the choice because whosoever calls on his name shall be saved right? (Acts 2:21) I started to do some studying today. The word “predestination” comes from the Greek word “proorivzw”. It’s in the New Testament six times. In Acts 4:28, Romans 8:29-30, 1 Corinthians 2:7, Ephesians 1:5, and Ephesians 1:11. I also found out that predestination isn’t the technical term for what I’m diving into here. It’s actually called the Doctrine of Election. If you do any of your own research you can find a ton by googling predestination vs. free will. I encourage you to do so since I am absolutely no expert on this subject.
There are only 6 passages in which the predestination word is translated in the exact way it’s meant to be but it is in so many more verses than just those. The one that really caught my attention was a phrase in Revelations 13:8 that says “everyone whose name is not written in the lamb’s book of life before the foundation of the world”. That caught me off guard and I’ve never before understood it this way which is why I’m so intrigued by this subject. If it was written before the foundation of the world it has to be predetermined doesn’t it? Matthew Henry’s Commentary says this:
8. The limitation of the devil’s power and success, and that both as to time and persons. He is limited in point of time; his reign is to continue forty-and-two months (Rev. 13:5), suitable to the other prophetical characters of the reign of antichrist. He is also limited as to the persons and people that he shall entirely subject his will and power; it will be only those whose names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life. Christ had a chosen remnant, redeemed by his blood, recorded in his book, sealed by his Spirit; and though the devil and antichrist might overcome their bodily strength, and take away their natural life, they could never conquer their souls, nor prevail with them to forsake their Saviour and revolt to his enemies.
Wow! I was chosen, hand-picked, by God himself?
There are numerous verses that tell us God hand-picked us. Here’s some of my favorites:
- Eph 1:4-5 he chose us in him before the foundation of the world
- Rom 8:28-30 he also predestined, called, glorified…
- Eph 1:5 he predestined us
- John 6:44 No one can come to me unless the father who sent me draws him
- 2 Tim 1:9 called us to a holy calling for his own purpose of grace before the ages began
- Prov 16:4 The Lord has made everything for his purpose even the wicked for the day of trouble
- Col 3:12 God’s chosen ones … compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, patience
- Mark 4:10-12 only the chosen understand
- Eph 2:8-9 by grace you have been saved by faith but this is not your doing it’s a gift from God
- 1 Thes 1:4 he has chosen you
- Eph 1:9-11 predestined
- Gal 1:15 set me apart before I was born
- John 13:18 I know who I have chosen
- Acts 4:28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place
Free will. I was taught from a young age that we have free will. It has always been the explanation for all of the bad in the world. I’m not convinced that we don’t have free will I just think that God is all-knowing and he already knows what we will choose. But why would he choose me? I’m such a failure! I haven’t done anything right! I’m probably the last person that deserves to be in Christ’s VIP line. The only explanation I found was something he told Moses. He said he will have mercy on who he has mercy on and compassion for who he has compassion for. (Rom 9:15) I hope one day he tells me. I am honored. Humbled. Undeserving. And eternally grateful. It’s funny because I think he uses the biggest screw-ups just so there’s no question that it’s God. 1 Corinthians 1:24-26 even says out of those who were called not many were wise according to the world’s standards, powerful, or of a noble birth.
The best example I thought of to explain how I believe in predetermination and in free will was while watching my sons eat dinner. I made a huge, yummy dinner, by the way but, hypothetically, if I sat in front of them a plate full of candy and a plate full of broccoli they will chose the candy. They still had free choice it’s just that I already knew what they’d pick. Neal Stephenson said “This is not of the two great labyrinths into which human minds are drawn: the question of free will verses predestination.” There’s not one Christian I know that came to Christ because they knew they were the elect few. They didn’t know that until they had already chosen Christ. I guess if you don’t believe in predestination you could easily avoid proper hermeneutics to support your beliefs but it seems pretty clear to me just after investing a couple hours to studying the topic.
I find a lot of comfort in this new discovery of mine. Maybe all of my “wrong” choices were all a part of his master plan. And my plan is yet to come. We are his workmanship created in Christ for good works which God planned beforehand. (Eph 2:10) This would also explain how he says that he will turn everything to good for his glory. Furthermore, the discontentment I feel in my everyday surroundings can be explained in a couple ways. One being this is not my home and the majority of the people surrounding me are different because they are of the world. I’ve always been the ugly duckling or the black sheep. It has made me feel inadequate, inferior, and sad. I want to be accepted like everyone else. I want desperately to be understood. But if Many are called and few are chosen (Matt 22:14)- that means many are not the chosen few and if they’re not the chosen few then they do not understand (Mark 4:10-12). John 15:19 has a whole new meaning to me tonight. It says if you were of the world the world would love you as its own but because you are not of the world- I chose you- the world hates you.
For the first time in years I see a whole world of possibilities. I think my eyes have been opened and allowed to see myself, for the first time, as God sees me. I can’t quite smiling actually. I can make peace with the divorce. I can make peace with so many things. Because, God, the creator of the universe sent Jesus to die for ME! He knew I’d screw up. He still picked me. So he’s already forgiven me. He just has compassion on me because he just does. That’s so incredible. Talk about a revelation. There is a plan and all of this junk is just part of the bigger picture. I can still walk out the plan for my life even if I took a wrong turn. God already knew which route I’d take but he’s still got my destination marked on the map. Thank you Jesus! I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. God is so good.