Chance or Chosen?

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. (Romans 8:28 NLT)

Have you ever wondered why things have happened in your life as they have?

It was the Fall of 1967 when I arrived on campus of the small Christian College in Indiana to begin my Junior year. My roommate was a young man from California whom I’d never met, so arriving on campus a few days before classes began afforded us time to get acquainted. I was a bashful introvert, but he was outgoing, energetic and always looking for ways to have fun.

Old Main was a large Administration building that served many needs for the college, but for two young boys with time on their hands, it became an intriguing challenge. There was a long, enclosed metal fire escape that ran from the roof to the ground, spanning the three floors of the aging structure. It was designed, of course, to give occupants an avenue of escape in case of fire, but what we envisioned was more of a midnight thrill ride.

Our plan was to find the opening of the fire escape, slide down, then run for our lives, very likely laughing our heads off. It all seemed so simple, but, as in life, things didn’t go as planned. We got in the building, making our way to the slide without a hitch, but then discovered the large padlock on the gate that covered the opening. Okay, plan B!

Being the budding scholars we were, we concluded there must be another way into the slide. To this day I can’t begin to imagine what must have been going through our minds to lead us to this conclusion, but we decided to go out onto the steep, tile roof to see if we could access the slide. The plot thickened as we discovered the tiles were wet, making them extremely slippery. Not to be deterred, we ever so cautiously made our way to the outside of the slide, but no access was visible, presenting to us yet another decision – give up and go back or press on.

Old Main

My wife will tell you, when I hit a snag while working on a project, I’m not one to give up easily. I like to see things to completion. Apparently that trait existed when I was young, because my choice on the roof that night was to take that final peek, which was for me, almost literally my FINAL peek. As I slowly inched my way to the corner of the housing of the slide, I felt my feet beginning to lose their grip on the slick tile and I began to slide towards the edge of the roof. Fearing the worst, my heart was pounding furiously, but as I came to within inches of the edge, I felt a hand grab mine, preventing me from falling. My new roommate had saved my life!

I would like to say that was the end of my lapses in judgment, but the reality is, I’ve had many, some with severe consequences. And the sad reality is, I’m not alone. Each of us, even as Christ-followers, struggles with staying on the path of obedience to the Lord, but fortunately, our omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent Savior never falters in His care of us. As Rick Warren said, “God never wastes a problem,” and God’s Word affirms He is constantly, meticulously, unerringly working behind the scenes, putting people in our lives at just the right time, in just the right way to guide us back onto the path.

In Romans 8:28-30 Paul writes: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. For God knew His people in advance, and He chose them to become like His Son, so that His Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, He called them to come to Him. And having called them, He gave them right standing with Himself. And having given them right standing, He gave them His glory.” NLT

People make mistakes, we do stupid things (like me on that roof), we sin and disobey the God we profess to love. But God, who sees our day of death as clearly as He sees our day of birth and sees every detail of our life before we’re conceived, engineers EVERY circumstance in our lives for our good and His glory. Why would He do that? Because He loves us and He has chosen us as His instruments to declare His praise and glory before a lost and fallen world.

For those of us who have chosen to follow Jesus, the details of our lives are not “chance.” God brings purpose out of every circumstance in order to redeem them for His honor and glory. By His grace He is able to use every heartache, every pain, every loss, every gain, every negative, every positive, to enable us to mature and ultimately, to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, our Savior. And please don’t hear what I’m not saying. God doesn’t CAUSE everything, but He does work THROUGH every circumstance of our lives.

God chose my parents, as He chose my roommate. He hand-picked the people of my life to help me on the path that would lead me to who I am today. We are all products of our choices. God doesn’t make us obey Him, nor does He make our choices for us, but He does, in unmistakable ways, guide us to an intersection of opportunity where we’ll either choose to follow Him or choose to reject Him. And, in my understanding, that isn’t a once and for all choice. I choose EVERY moment of ever day to follow Jesus or reject Him, just as I choose every day to accept the privileges of marriage or reject them.

Today, in this moment, I choose Jesus! Why is that important? Because it’s the only moment in which I have the privilege of choice. Every decision we make is in THIS moment. And the beauty and majesty that surrounds that choice for those of us who are on God’s path is this: WE ARE CHOSEN! We’re not accidents or after thoughts in God’s mind. As Pastor Rick Warren says: “There may be illegitimate parents, but there’s no such thing as an illegitimate child.” We are purposely given life and uniquely chosen to display God’s glory!

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Blessings, Ed 🙂 

2 thoughts on “Chance or Chosen?

  1. Pastor Ed, I really like the way you have connected real life experiences with the words of our Lord and Savior. It helps to see how God’s Word for a Christian is interwoven into our everyday lives. I love your Blog!


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