The Weekly Word - A Devotion for the Week of June 14
“You didn’t choose me. I chose you.” (John 15:16)
Remember the story of the prodigal son? We typically pay a lot of attention to the son who returns, properly humbled and contrite, to the family he abandoned. We relate to the son’s need to seek forgiveness; we see ourselves in his act of returning to his father and his home.
But let’s look more closely at the role of the father in that story for a moment. The Bible tells us that the father saw the son when the son “was still a long way off.” In other words, the father didn’t welcome his son back only after his son confessed and repented. The father was already waiting with open arms. In fact, he had been waiting all along. The son had already been chosen, loved and cherished by the father; that fact had never changed. What had changed was that the son was now finally choosing the father.
It seems we can forget the divine order of things. We forget that God chose each one of us as His beloved child even before we took our first wailing breath on this Earth. We forget that the door to God’s love and grace is open from the get-go and never closes – a standing invitation to each one of us.
We do choose God, but the nuance here is in the order of events: we choose God in response to Him choosing us first. The invitation into God’s ever-present grace and love, into the God-with-us life, is waiting for us on the day we are born. That invitation is never rescinded, no matter how far we stray, no matter how many mistakes we make along the way. We are already and always chosen by Him without having to do a single thing. We choose whether we will say yes to the invitation.
Gracious God, I’m not sure I always truly believe I am chosen by You, no matter what. Sometimes, especially on days when I am not living my best self, I start to doubt that You love me and still choose me as I am. Thank You for this loving reminder today that You chose me before I was even born. Thank You for continuing to choose me every day. Amen.