Most people have experienced the thrill of being chosen and the disappointment of being left out. Whether it was a simple game of pick-up basketball that you were or were not a desired teammate for or if it were for an opportunity you truly desired, we experience the value of being chosen in our lives.
This decision to choose someone, to me, is the great beauty of adoption. The adopted child is chosen, out of all the children in the world this child is selected by their parents. As beautiful as this reality is in adoption, I believe every parent has the ability to show their children the beauty of being chosen. I did not choose my children out of the children in the world to be mine, but I choose them every day to be mine. I choose them in my choices, my decisions, my affections, and my priorities.
I shared a story from my childhood in my sermon yesterday that illustrates this for me. My life is filled with story after story of my dad choosing me. He still chooses me. If for any reason I needed my dad by my side today, he would choose to be there. It would not matter what he had to leave behind or hand off to someone else or rearrange. He would choose me.
The story was about a game of catch. My dad and I played hours of ball in our yard growing up. We played basketball (I could not legit beat my dad till I was 16), football, and baseball. Baseball was a game I was genuinely terrible at. I could throw and catch fine but I could not hit a baseball to save my life. That did not matter, there was still hour upon hour of catch with dad. He would throw grounders, pop flies, and pitch to me. But really, he would choose me. He would choose to be with me. He would choose to build me into a man. He would choose to spend time with me…instruct me…and when the time came, to help me come to grips with my limitations and realities as a player.
One summer day I asked dad to play catch with me after lunch. He needed to get back to work. Dad was a hard worker and put in many hours at T.L. James Construction Co. He did not, however, neglect us to do that. Dad was known to leave work and come home and eat dinner or go to a ball game or take the family to church, and then after the activity was over, he would head back to work to finish a project or program. This summer day Dad told me he had to get back to work and could not play. I understood and went out into the yard with just myself a ball and a glove and started throwing the ball up and catching it.
Dad saw me out in the yard playing catch alone as he drove away. He stopped, backed the truck back down the hill, and played catch with me. It was probably only 15 to 30 minutes, but, honestly it is the only game of catch I truly remember. I remember where we were in the yard, what dad was wearing, but I do not remember the conversation. We played hundreds of games of catch and ball and I remember doing it but I rarely remember the details. I remember this day because I realized the decision dad made.
Dad chose me. He chose me over work for that short period of time. He probably worked late that day to make up for it and get his work done. He did not have a pattern of bailing on work to play catch. He taught me priorities, but that day he taught me that I was the priority. He taught me that many times, but I remember this lesson.
It is a lesson I hope I have learned well. I believe my children know I choose them. I choose them because I love them. They are mine and I am theirs.
I am so grateful for a great earthly father. A dad that loves me, cares for me, and chooses me. My dad taught me to love the Lord. The Heavenly Father is a great picture and truth for me. It is an imagery I have never struggled with. The idea that a loving Father would choose a child, in spite of their behavior and struggles, is not foreign to me. It has always been my life.
Remember, that we have been given a spirit, not of fear or timidity, but one of adoption as the children of God. Remember, that perfect love drives out fear.
You might not have had a father like mine, but you have a Heavenly Father who chooses you. He chooses you in the midst of your sin against him and demonstrates his love to you by giving his only son. He chooses you. Will you choose him?
(P.S. Dad, thanks for all the life and faith lessons. You are a great blessing. It is truly an honor to be your son. Thank you for choosing me. Thank you for loving me. But most importantly, thank you for choosing to follow and love the Lord Jesus Christ. I love you, Pop.)