I was in a store the other day and was overwhelmed with pity for a pair of pants—they were a mustard-yellow colour with a windowpane pattern. Strangely, they were made out of flannel, so it was hard to know if they were for impressing your friends at the golf club or for getting cozy at bedtime.
I looked at those pants and I thought, Nobody is going to take you home. Ever.
It reminded me of a children’s story called “Orphan Arthur.” The story centred on an orphan boy who was never chosen for adoption. It has been a long time since I heard the story, but I recall the reason had something to do with his red hair, which at that particular time in history was a deal breaker for prospective parents. I imagine they would tell the matron, “Our hearts are filled with so much love that we feel as if we will burst if we can’t share it with a child who needs a home—but not that one. His hair doesn’t match our wallpaper.”
So there I was, looking at these orphan pants and feeling sorry for them. Actually, all the clothes in this particular store are orphans. It’s a department store outlet that gathers unsold inventory from their different locations. So basically, these are clothes nobody else would buy. It’s probably a flawed fashion strategy on my part to buy the clothes that thousands of people have looked at and said, “Nah, I don’t think so.”
But I feel a certain solidarity with these clothes that probably goes back to my experience playing games as a child. I was not very athletic, so when teams were chosen for footy or whatever, I was usually the last person picked. It was humiliating to be standing there alone and watch the last team captain delay his final pick, scanning the horizon to make sure there wasn’t one more child available with better ball-handling skills, or possibly even a sheepdog.
So I sympathise with that pair of pants that nobody will buy.
Maybe you also have had experiences in which you were the last to be picked. Maybe in your dating life it feels as though you’re waiting for the return of Halley’s Comet. Maybe you’ve been passed over for that promotion so often that you’re just about to give up on your career. You might feel like collapsing in despair and spending the rest of your life eating crisps and watching reruns of Mythbusters. But while that is an attractive option, consider this: sometimes whether or not you are picked says more about who’s doing the picking than it says about you.
For example, television advertisers prefer to pick people aged between 18 and 35 to see their adverts. Is it really a compliment that marketing executives think you’re more likely to buy caffeinated sugar water than an older person? I don’t think so.
Sometime before the first Easter, Jesus told His disciples, “I have chosen you out of the world” (John 15:19, italics added). Isn’t it amazing that the CEO of the universe picks us for a relationship with Him?
So we are chosen by God, even if it seems as though the whole world has passed us over. Even if we have red hair, He will adopt us and take us home.