A student of architecture entered a national contest for building design. When a panel of renowned architects awarded the student’s design “Honorable Mention,” she felt utterly depressed and defeated. She was, after all, at the top of her class. She had worked long hours on an innovative and beautiful design. She should have placed better.
At lunch on the last day of the convention, she sat looking at her model over an uneaten sandwich. She noticed an old man looking at her creation too. Not knowing who had designed the building, the man remarked, “This one, I think, is the best of the lot.” Hearing those words, the student went home elated.
Why? Although the competition’s judges had deemed her work the runner-up, one old man liked it. And that one old man was Frank Lloyd Wright, probably the greatest architect of the time.
One of the things I hated during my elementary school days was recess. The reason was we often played games that required choosing teams. Since I possessed minimal athletic skills, I was always one of the last students picked for a team. Needless to say, that did not boost my self-image.
Jeremiah felt like a loser at first, too. He felt like a second rate prophet from a small country, he didn’t think he could measure up to his assignment as God’s spokesman. But God reminded Jeremiah that he possessed a divine formation, a distinctive calling, a chosen vocation. Even before Jeremiah’s birth, God had prepared him to be God’s voice to God’s people.
God wants us to hear a similar message. He calls each one of us. Even before we’re born, the Creator sets us apart for a special purpose. In fact, the apostle Paul claims that God’s plan for us started long before we were born: “He chose us in him before the creation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4).
God’s calling means that we never need to feel inferior or insecure. No matter how tough life becomes, how difficult work gets, how many doubts we have—or even how far we fall—God promises, “I chose you for this, and I’ll never fail you.”