What man of you, having no sheep, does not leave his home and go after a sheep that has never been in his possession? And when he has found a sheep that has also been looking for him, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying: “Rejoice with me, for this sheep and I have found one another!”
Or what woman, possessing no silver coins, if she desires some money, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds a pile of coins? And when she has convinced one coin to accept her as owner, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying: “Rejoice with me, for this coin and I have agreed to belong to one another!”
Off the bat, I’d better apologize for messing with these parables. I’m sure many of us know how the real ones go (see Luke 15), and Christ’s versions are much better than these. But look at how they lose their power when the treasures of sheep and coin are not already in the mind of the searchers? The shepherd knew the exact sheep he was looking for. The woman treasured a precise silver coin.
Okay I know that the Calvinistic view of predestination and foreordained election is controversial for many. I actually sympathize with the difficulty many have with it. I try not to misrepresent non-Calvinist points of view (see how the shepherd and woman were searching as well?) If you don’t buy into unconditional election, at least see the potential appeal. And see what is lost when it is rejected. Try to see the pastoral implications of that kind of predestined election. For the converted, it means that God did not just have you in His foreknowledge. In some sense, He already possessed you. The shepherd looked for the sheep he missed. The woman found the coin she had treasured. And God searches those whom He will, known and desired by Him apart from any searching of their own.
There are implications of Calvinistic election that can be troubling (I’m sure some might show up in the comment section). Can you believe that they sometimes trouble me? But if God is God, He gets to look for whom He will and take home that which is His. And that, despite everything else, can be of great comfort.