Why Me? – by Sheila Graham
The question came up in a discussion between my son and me on Romans, chapters 9 to 11. Why are some chosen by God and others are not? Though I firmly believe Christ died and was resurrected so all could have the gift of salvation and eternal life, sometimes the question why me or why you comes to mind. How is it we enjoy the relationship we have with our Savior when some of our friends, neighbors and family do not?
In Romans, Paul writes that God hardened the heart of Pharoah in the time of Moses and has even hardened the hearts of Israel, his chosen people. Is this what we can expect from the loving and gracious God who is love itself? Is God an elitist? Though these were more rhetorical questions than anything else, my son was surprised I could even bring up those questions. He is an attorney (yes, there are Christian attorneys) with a keen sense of justice, but also with a deep respect for Scripture.
He began quoting John 15:16 (all scriptures NIV, unless otherwise noted): “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit….” And, Ephesians 1:5-6: “In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will….” And, 1 Peter 2:9: “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession….”
Then he asked me to pray over those scriptures in Romans and ask God’s Spirit to guide me in understanding! Before he thought his mother had left the spirit-led track entirely, I explained I was voicing the thoughts many have when they read these and other scriptures.
In his parable of the wedding feast, Jesus says, “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14, KJV). Is this godly love? Is God hardening hearts, thus damning some while saving others? No! Jesus is saying many have heard about him and his sacrifice for our salvation, but not all will respond as soon as we personally might like.
Remember Lydia, seller of purple cloth, in Acts 16:14? She didn’t ask for Paul to come to Macedonia to preach the gospel to her; God sent him. When she heard Paul’s message, the Lord opened her heart to respond. This is an example of God’s personal calling through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. God’s calling comes by nothing we do, but by grace alone. Salvation is in him and him alone.
Why Lydia and why you and me and not others? Through Christ God has given all humanity his freely given gift of salvation, but only God knows who will respond to his call and when. If you are concerned about some of your loved ones, read those words from Paul in Romans again. As my son advised me, pray over those scriptures and ask God’s Spirit to guide you in understanding. God will not abandon us and he will not abandon our loved ones. As we pray for our family and friends, we can be assured God has perfect timing and he desires all to be in his Kingdom.
Sheila Graham has a master’s of arts in religion from Azusa Pacific University and a master’s of arts in women’s studies in religion from Claremont Graduate University. Among her many published writings is her book From Fear to Faith, which includes personal accounts of discrimination against women in an authoritative, legalistic religious sect. From Fear to Faith is available on Amazon.com.