Reading: Romans 9:24-33
My best birthday present ever, never happened. I was seven, and I was at a store in Kearny, New Jersey, called "Two Guys." They sold pets next to the hardware section and in one of the crates were two Border Collie puppies. One was plump and fluffy, sweet and gentle. She cuddled with me and licked my hand. Her littermate was a hot mess. Her coat was wiry; she never stood still, and she bit me. Mom told me that just maybe she would return with my dad that evening, and I might get a special birthday present. Instantly I fell in love. What I couldn't know was that someone else fell in love with the one I wanted. Before my parents could return, she was gone.
I knew immediately that they had returned with the wrong dog when they pulled into the driveway and the puppy was on my mother's head. There was nothing to recommend her to me. She wasn't even cute. She was peculiar. She preferred rocks over balls. She climbed trees; she swam underwater. But she became "my dog," and love turned her idiosyncrasies into admirable qualities. She became famous in the neighborhood as my canine chauffer, happily pulling me through the neighborhood on my skateboard by way of her tail.
When Paul wrote about the hope for Israel's redemption in verse 24, he included us. We were the ones who were not His beloved, who He calls beloved. We were the ones who were not His people who are now called sons of the living God. We are the ones He wouldn't have chosen, but the fact is, He did. It wasn't because we were the only ones left. He actually went out of His way to make a way for you and me-and to redeem all of our hot messes into admirable qualities that glorify Him.