Election and American Individualism

During my freshman year of college, I was exposed to the doctrine of election. Little did I know that a few short years later, I would myself subscribe to such a doctrine. At the time, it was ludicrous. Of course I had control over my life. Of course I had the right to choose. Of course being a Christian was what I did when I professed my faith in front of my church. Looking back now, I realize that my struggle and opposition to this doctrine was rooted in my unwillingness to give up control. This control issue grew in the soil of American individualism, where one can determine the path of their life. Now, I find myself strangely comforted and attracted by election, knowing that it is God acting on my behalf.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t wrestle with election anymore. I do. But not because I still want to control my life and take credit for my faith. Rather, I struggle with stories in the Bible where God chooses someone and the  other is thus not chosen. Why did God choose the Israelites and not the Canaanites? Why did God choose Jacob and not Esau? Or Isaac and not Ishmael? These are the wrestlings I continue to face every time I pick up the OT and find that God chooses some while not choosing others. Election can be a conundrum at times. Maybe as time passes, I will see things differently.

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