This week I had a conversation with a person that resulted in their reading Romans 9:14 – 24, apparently for the first time. They could not believe it said what it did. Why? I am not certain but, it seemed part of the reason was that the passage has God’s choices in the center of things rather than ours. That is troubling. That is especially troubling for those who see themselves in control of their lives. See themselves as the center of the story. For in reality, they are not.
So it seems that when they find passages of Scripture that trouble them; that do not align with their view of how things should work; either much energy is expended to change what a simple reading of the text would indicate, or they dismiss the passage as one that should not be in the Bible at all, not because of text criticism but because it does not fit their agenda.
One thing about this journey we are on as followers of Christ that is so difficult, is that we are engaged with a God who is far beyond our comprehension. Unless He deigns to reveal Himself to us, we have no hope of understanding Him. So as we come face to face with Him in the Scripture, it is little wonder that we are uncomfortable. We should be. After all, we are separated from Him. Except for His grace demonstrated through the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son, we would stay in that state.
By His choice, we do not.