I've read through the Bible several times now and I simply cannot get away from the doctrine of predestination. It screams from nearly every book of the New Testament. Trouble is, I didn't want to believe it. I didn't want to think that certain people were chosen by God and others rejected. To me, it sounded harsh, unfair and gave me little hope for those friends and family who didn't know God.
In Jesus's own words
All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Luke 10:22
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. John 6:44
But then I got to thinking about the captain of a ship. Certainly he had the right to choose who he wanted to take with him. Being the captain, he had an in-depth knowledge of the voyage: what they were carrying in hold, what course they would take, what trials they would endure, what storms would hit them and where their final destination was. Much like a captain, Father God has knowledge of all those things as well. He knows the beginning from the end. He knows the past, present, and future. He knows how and where he wants the voyage to sail through the ages, He knows what He wants to accomplish, and He knows how and when the trip will end. And where! So, why shouldn't He choose who comes along and who doesn't?
But God knows much more than a normal seafaring captain. He knows each person who is standing on the docks in that large port town where he is outfitting his ship. He knows them intimately. He knows everything they will ever do in their life and everything they will do if they come on the voyage. And most important of all, He knows if they will stay on the ship, if their hearts are true to their captain, or if they will rile the crew into a mutiny.
So, let me ask you this. If a human captain could have foreknowledge like that, who do you think he would choose? If he was a wise, good captain who wanted a successful voyage, he would choose those he knew would follow him.
In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will. Ephesians 5:11
Why does this matter? I no longer fear predestination. It brings such freedom and peace! If that dear loved one or friend you've been praying for is God's, he or she will be on board! And the fact that you've been called to so desperately pray for them is proof that they belong to God. Why else would God put a person on your heart to pray so heartily for their salvation if they weren't chosen? So, do you stop praying? No. Absolutely not. Do you stop sharing the good news of the gospel? Never. But rest assured, all will be aboard who are coming aboard!
When the Gentiles heard this, they were very glad and thanked the Lord for his message; and all who were chosen for eternal life became believers Acts 13:48