Waiting in the crowd, wondering if you were going to be the last chosen, and facing the fear that there might be an odd number and you wouldn’t be chosen at all is an intense fear that a child takes on in the first grade. Everything is new, nothing certain. When I was a young kid, awareness slowly let me know that life was threw things at me so I learned to adapt. It is as if after a while you knew your pecking order. It may still hurt but at least you know it is coming. The trouble with first grade is that you don’t know it is coming! You start with a fear that you are on the outside and it never quite leaves you.
I grew up feeling, like many, that I was on the outside with God. It wasn’t my parents fault, I surmise now that they must have felt many of the same emotions. The challenge sat in front of me because I couldn’t find anything that made me worthy. My simple conclusion was that I must be on the outside; right? As life experiences came I saw many of them through the glasses of my childhood. I wasn’t good enough for Divinity. I had nothing to offer to God. My cries of the night went unanswered. Silence, being separated from God, and exploring the spiritual wilderness were my lot in life. I was out.
In my experience one of life’s greatest contrasts with heaven is something that permeates everyday life, competition. We know the clich?s well.
“Only the strong survive.”
“One must win.”
“Those who come second lost.”
These may be our clich?s but they certainly are not God’s! Joel word applies to you and me waiting in the crowd to be chosen by Divinity. “Whoever calls, 'Help, God!' gets help. On Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be a great rescue—just as God said. Included in the survivors are those that God calls.” (Joel 2.32) Life may feel like we are on the outs – God says otherwise.