From “Misfit” to Beloved! Chosen and Loved by God

From "Misfit" to Beloved

Going from “misfit” to “beloved” requires more than a simple name change. To realize how loved and chosen by God we are reshapes everything!

“Misfit!” they called me. Whether within my family and outside, belonging seemed distant, often unattainable. I never quite fit in among the predominantly male student population in our one-room country schoolhouse. Nor did I quite measure up to family expectations and standards. The name “misfit” fit me well, eventually becoming an invisible internal compass, determining personal expectations, goals, and desires.

Even in adulthood, echoes of the nickname infiltrated relationships and clouded personal perspectives. Until one day, God spoke, not in audible words, but rather through deep impressions to a wounded heart, “I love you! I have chosen you!”

Have you heard Him whisper your name within your inner recesses? Have you sensed His loving Presence?

“Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the LORD called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name. He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow (and) said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.”
Isaiah 49:1-3

Was Isaiah referring to God’s call over his life. Or was he speaking of the nation of Israel or to the ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ? Perhaps all three and more! All who are “hidden in Christ”, who have a personal relationship with Him, can identify.

God knew each one of us “from our mother’s womb.” He continues to speak our names, wooing us close.

Chosen

I love these verses. Before conception, God has a plan for every life. No one enters the world by mistake or arrives by chance.

Alone

We may legitimately place our names in this passage. I have used The Passion Translation as an example. Insert your name where I have inserted mine, then read and reread it. Allow the truth of God’s sovereign love and care to permeate our hearts.

“Listen to what I have to say, you islands. Pay attention to me, you who live in distant lands. Yahweh called (MaryAnn) as his own before (she) was born and named (her) while (she) was still in (her) mother’s womb. He gives (her) words that pierce and penetrate. He hid (her) and protected (her) in the shadow of his hand . . . prepared (her) like a polished arrow and concealed (her) in his quiver. And he said to (her), “(MaryAnn), you are my special servant; in you I will be glorified.”

If this seems like a stretch, it really isn’t. The Bible says that when we believe in and confess Jesus, we become hidden in Him.

“For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.”
Colossians 3:3

It is a profound truth. God loves the unlovely. He chooses the misfits, renegades, and outcasts. In Him, we all find belonging, family, identity, and purpose. Before, any of us proved ourselves worthy, He loved us. Before conception, He knew us and chose us,

Loved

Nothing we did merited such grace. Nothing we could ever do validates His love. In our worst, He loved. Nothing can stop the reckless, indescribable love God has toward us.

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:6-8

Lightbulbs Different

Jesus provided the ultimate demonstration of love to us by giving His life for us on the cross.

We all hold remnants of “misfit” stories — moments or seasons of profound rejection, cast-aways from the comfort or care of others. Isaiah again scribes a clear image for us,

“For your Maker is your husband — the LORD Almighty is his name — the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. The LORD will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit — a wife who married young, only to be rejected.” says your God.”
Isaiah 54:5-6

Our husband calls us His beloved. He comes to us as our Maker, the LORD Almighty, the Holy One, Redeemer, and the “God of all the earth.” We have not been short changed! The One who knows us best — deeply and intimately more — loves us most.

Jesus tasted rejection. He, more than any of us, felt the sting of “misfit” — fully God, yet fully man. Divinity robed in human flesh. He understands. So, he reaches out with endless love to you and me.

Beloved

To be loved by someone is a privilege, but to be loved by holy, righteous, perfect God, is incomprehensible! To declare such things of ourselves would be presumptuous. But when God declares them, the truth becomes life-giving, sustaining, and powerful.

You are His beloved! One who is greatly loved!

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! ...” 1 John 3:1

Different Cubes

Right now, God greatly loves us. Right now, He secures us into His holy family as His chosen children. Not after we clean ourselves up or improve in some way, but right now. Now, He loves! He plays no favorites. Even though He loves everyone, only those who believe in Him and receive Jesus develop the capacity to truly experience it.

Receive

For those bearing the label of “misfit,” receiving love becomes a challenge. Thoughts of unworthiness invade the reality of His divine love, warping and twisting it. Far too many people carry the scars of failed commitments and broken promises, which mask the promise of love’s full potential.

Misfit Locker

When two people devote themselves to love each other in marriage, they often exchange rings as a symbol of enduring love. Though the rings may last, the pledged devotion too often fades — its essence cast away and discarded like an old garments. But not with God. God loves perfectly and permanently.

God speaks through Isaiah again, saying,

“See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands . . .”
Isaiah 49:16

God publicly demonstrates His lavish love for each of us, wanting everyone to see and know. Your name and mine, your identity and mine, He carves into His being. “Engraving” carries the sense of a commandment or decree. The engraving becomes God’s decree of His undying love and devotion before the entire world and throughout all ages.

A Prayer

You, too, can move from “misfit” to beloved. You, too, may experience God’s deep love. If this is your daily reality, then thank Him again for it! But if HIs love seems foreign, I would like to encourage you by faith to reach out, accept His love.

Dear Lord, thank You for loving me and making room for me in your family even before I was born. Thank You for offering me — the least, the misfit, the outcast — Your great love. Today, I simply receive Your love. May I experience the power and presence of Your love in undeniable ways. I possess nothing of earthly value to offer You in return. As You have loved me, I choose to love You. Thank You.

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A Double Portion — Double for the Trouble

Double Portion

The saying “double for the trouble” originated with God. He turns even the most difficult situations for our good and His glory. I grew up hearing this idiom without knowing where or how it began.

Has someone ever stolen something from you? Perhaps money or possessions? Maybe reputation or position? Be encouraged, my friends! If we continue to trust God, putting our hope in Him, He will restore.

“And when you and your children return to the LORD your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you.”
Deuteronomy 30:2-3

God moves beyond simple restoration, however, desiring to give us double for the trouble we go through.

Two Kittens

The Thief

Make no mistake! Jesus warns — a thief lurks among us.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
John 10:10

This thief comes with evil intention to steal everything and anything he can, rushing in like a lion to the kill, destroying fully and completely. But God! Ha! I love those words whenever I read them. But God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to bring us both physical and spiritual life, now and forever. God’s restoration exceeds everything the enemy tries to destroy. God gives back to the full.

“Full” here means superior, superabundant, excessive, and preeminent. When God gives double for the trouble the enemy has caused, it defies explanation or expectation.

Two horses

Double for the Trouble

Elisha became Elijah’s servant and understudy. If you think tagging with this out-spoken miracle-working great prophet was easy, think again! Only Elisha succeeded at the task. Elijah tried to shake him off more than once, but Elisha tracked his master diligently. Finally, Elijah asked,

” . . . ‘Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?’ ‘Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,’ Elisha replied.’ ”
2 Kings 2:9

And Elisha received what he asked for!

Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, banishing him from home and family. Slavery turned to imprisonment through no fault of his own. Years earlier, God had given Joseph dreams of his divine destiny — dreams that under the circumstance appeared lost and stolen forever. For a season,

“They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons, till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the LORD proved him true.”
Psalm 105:18

But God! But God proved Himself faithful, elevating Joseph from the prison to a palace, second in rank only to Pharoah. Much later, when Joseph’s descendants inherited the promised land, Joseph received double for the trouble.

“This is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘These are the boundaries of the land that you will divide among the twelve tribes of Israel as their inheritance, with two portions for Joseph.”
Ezekiel 47:13

God’s sovereignty exceeds time and circumstances.

Two Birds

More Not Less

Sometimes the losses we experience come through our own mistakes, poor choices. or even sinful actions. Job didn’t fit any of these scenarios. Yet in a single day he lost his work force of oxen and donkeys, his revenue in sheep and shepherds, his means of transportation by camels, and even his closest relationships with family. Refusing to blame God for the extreme tragedy, he acknowledged everything came from God and ultimately belonged to Him.

Even when Satan inflicted what he thought would be a fatal blow, painful sores head to toe, Job maintained his devotion and faithfulness to God.

No matter how many times I hear Job’s story, I marvel. Look at the ending to Job’s story.

“After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.”
Job 42:10

Double for the trouble! God restored twice the number of sheep, camels, oxen, and donkeys, many more children, and a hundred and forty more years to his life (Job 42:12-17)

God doesn’t always restore like for like. Hebrews 11, also known as the Bible’s faith chapter, tells us sometimes the full reward isn’t realized until heaven. God will come through for you, though. He always has; He always will.

Two Sheep

Double Portion

I’m not sure what you have been or are facing. May I encourage you today with these words from the prophet Isaiah?

“Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours. For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them.”
Isaiah 61:7-8

Does shame feel like your portion? Don’t despair. God is preparing a double portion of His inheritance for you. Have you felt the sting of disgrace? Your story isn’t over yet! God’s grace is greater. His justice final. Because He is faithful, we wait in hope for Him to turn things around and make them right.

Zechariah understood God’s guarantee of double for the trouble. God announced through Zechariah this promise.

“Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.”
Zechariah 9:12

Our fortress is none other than God Himself. Let’s return to and stick with our Mighty Fortress! As willing prisoners, we hold with hope to God. God announced to Heaven and Earth His promise to “restore twice as much” as anyone or anything has taken from us.

Restoration is coming! Double for the trouble we have endured! Don’t lose hope, dear ones, hold fast.

Two Fish

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