A DIVINE RSVP
Right now I am in the middle of planning my daughter's fourth birthday party. She is head-over-heels for a Shopkins-themed birthday and, thanks to some clever scouting on the facebook marketplace, it will happen. She is super excited. And honestly, so am I.
This is the first year she's had a real opinion on the guest list. She has little girlfriends from her preschool class and her Sunday School class that she really wanted to invite. I hope they can all make it. But the truth is, there is a chance I could set the party up and decorate the house and make all the cupcakes in the world and we could end up eating a chick-fil-a party tray all by ourselves (I mean, I could think of worse things ...). But that's the thing about parties: it is not up to the host to decide who comes. It is solely up to the guest themselves on whether or not they attend the party.
The same holds true for those of us living the Christian life.
Romans 8:30 reads: and those He predestined, He also called, and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified.
I was wondering why the Lord thought it necessary to include all of those specifications and what the nuances of the definitions of each word contributed to the verse. More specifically, I wondered why the Lord specified both "predestined" and "called." Don't those essentially mean the same thing? As in, if the Lord decided before time began that your story would look a certain way (predestined), doesn't that also mean that you were called to live that story?
Predestined indeed means that we have been chosen for a particular purpose, the purpose God wrote for us before we were even formed in our mother's wombs (Psalm 139:13-14). But to be called? To be called means that someone is requesting your presence. Which means that you have the ability to accept or deny that request.
God planned your story. He wrote it out before even Adam took his first breath. That is the part of those in Christ being predestined. But to be called? That is where you come in. That is where you have the choice to listen and obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit as He leads you in the story God wrote for you, or keep your head down and your side blinders on.
Do you know what is one thousand percent easier than obeying the call of God in your life? Netflix binges. Mindless scrolling. Reaching for the same unhealthy behaviors instead of breaking into a new pattern of living. It is always easier to do nothing than get up, get ready, and go to the party. But there's a lot waiting for you if you do make that choice.
Now I know that there is a great deal of debate in theological circles over the idea of predestination. I am no Bible scholar, not in the least. I am a simple layperson just trying my best to understand God's word. But this realization, this tiny, subtle use of the word "call" made such a difference to my heart as I realized my ability to answer "no" to God's divine RSVP on my life.
God wrote my story, that is true. And every day, He invites me to participate in that story in the biggest, best way possible, the one that will have the most eternal impact on my soul and the souls around me. I could stay home and stay comfortable. Or I could reply yes to God's divine RSVP and enjoy to the fullest everything walking closely with Him has to offer.