Imagine you’re a runner. You love running. You’ve trained for this meet as best as you can. This is your first race and you want to do well. You take your position in the starting block. “Just one time around the track,” you remind yourself. You’ve run it many times before, but those were only practice runs. They didn’t count. Nobody was watching. Nobody was racing. Now is the time that counts.
The gun fires and you’re off. You blast out of the starting block full force. You’ve trained hard for this. There’s nothing else in the world at this moment that you desire more than winning. You feel like this is what you were created to do. At this moment you feel so alive, so in tune with your body. Your legs seem to be stretching further than they’ve ever stretched, your heart is pounding but your breathing is steady. You hear the padding of your footsteps ever so lightly and feel the strength in your arms pulling you along. You’re giving this race every ounce of energy that you have, holding nothing back. Then you see it – the finish line. You race towards it and realize, you’re in the middle of the pack. You push harder and harder, but the leader remains a few feet ahead. She raises her arms triumphantly as she breaks through the ribbon at the finish line, the event that you fantasized about for so long. That was supposed to be you breaking that ribbon.
Instead, you cross the finish line feeling so average, so middle-of-the-packish. You hang your head. You gave it everything and you still fell short. You saunter over to the bench as you hear the cries, hoots, and hollering from the crowd. But it’s not for you. You plop down on the bench, rest your elbows on your legs, and hang your head, as perspiration from your effort, drips to the ground. That’s the only thing you have to show for your efforts – perspiration. You’re wondering why you even bothered entering the race at all. What were you thinking? Did you actually believe you stood a chance? You shake your head in disbelief.
You close your eyes and get lost in your own thoughts when you hear footsteps on the track. Probably somebody going to congratulate the champion, you think without bothering to look. The footsteps approach. You wish they’d hurry on by and leave you to yourself once again. But they don’t hurry. They are purposeful, even steps that come closer and stop directly in front of you. You don’t even bother to open your eyes. The last thing you want to hear at this moment is this person’s condolences for the race. Maybe if you ignore him, he’ll go away.
Just then you feel a gentle wisp by your hair, and you feel something soft and velvety, almost silky, touch your neck. Why, it’s probably the softest sense you’ve felt in your whole entire life. Then you feel a light weight drop in front of your chest. You instinctively reach for it and notice it’s a medal – a gold medal on the most beautiful deep purple ribbon you’ve ever seen. You realize there must be some mistake. This medal doesn’t belong to you. Yet, for the moment, you cherish the feel of the silky velvet on your neck. How you wished it did belong to you.
Your eyes glance at the sandaled feet before you, unmoving. Your eyes wander up to the full person dressed in a white gown. You see a rope gathering the robe around his waist. It’s a man with a mustache, beard, and brown shoulder length hair staring down at you with the most loving, smiling eyes you’ve ever seen. The expression on his face is peaceful and confident, loving and kind. You’ve never seen him before, yet you recognize him. Your eyes open wide in awe, as you realize this is the Son of God standing before you. Jesus extends his hand toward you with His nail-scarred palm up, waiting for you to place your hand in His.
“Congratulations,” you hear from the deep baritone voice.
“But I didn’t win,” you quickly correct him, reaching to remove the medal from your neck.
“I’m scouting for the best players for my team. I’ve been watching you and I choose you.” His hand is still outstretched waiting for your acceptance.
“But, but,” you stammer, “I didn’t win the race. I didn’t even come in second. In fact, I might as well have come in last.”
“That’s not what I saw,” He confidently says. “I saw a woman out there, give everything she had for what she believed in. You were the best at being you. You’re exactly who I want for my team. I choose you. Will you accept?”
Your own handle trembles as it caresses the luxurious ribbon. Will you put it in His? What does this mean? He doesn’t coax. He doesn’t persuade. He’s a complete gentleman and He’s in no hurry. His outstretched arm never seems to tire. He simply waits for you to place your hand in His and follow where He leads.
Is He inviting you to take the next step, to trust Him in the unknown? Is He asking you to obey Him in a situation you’ve been avoiding? Has He been tugging on your heart, but you’ve been resisting? Are you ready to surrender all into His trustworthy hands?
He chose you, my friend. He wants you on His team to follow where He leads, where you’ll receive unspeakable joy, unmeasurable peace, and unfathomable rewards. Will you put your hand in His? He’s waiting.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last… John 15:16