I packed supplies into boxes for the craft sale, wondering if any of my books would sell. I folded the table cloth and pressed it into a bin, imagining myself perched in front of the display, chatting with strangers. Suddenly my thoughts were flooded with memories of rejection – friends, family, co-workers and neighbours who had decided not to know me anymore. I instantly felt unlikeable; unwanted. Pain bubbled quietly beneath the surface, slowly rising…
I dreaded the coming hours of greeting strangers. What might people see if they looked in my eyes right now? They’d see a wimp … a loser… a loner who should be left alone. Maybe I’ll just hide behind the table and read. That would be easier…
The faces of those who left me behind still danced happily in my memory. They seemed to smile, oblivious to my pain. Why have I been such an outsider? What is the deal with all this rejection?
Then I remembered Beth Moore’s challenge to consider God’s sovereignty. Maybe all those lost and broken relationships were ordained by God out of His great love for me. Maybe it was part of the design to make me who I am, maybe even to keep me from where I should not go. I imagine what my life would look like had none of it happened. I suspect I would be enjoying some great friendships. I would likely be comfortable. I might have found great fulfillment in those relationships. … But would I have sought God as I have and desperately clung to Him? I don’t know.
I’m filled with joy and thanks and praise as I consider the good that God has already made from my pain.
Because of those hurts, I am drawn to Christ. We have rejection in common. “He came to his own people, and even they rejected him.” John 1:11 Jesus understands my pain and doesn’t belittle it. (like I do) He walks with me through it, hurts with me, and heals me. I love Him because He first loved me.
Because of those hurts, I can comfort others. I have compassion for those who are lonely and hurt. And because I’ve received comfort from the Holy Spirit, I can also comfort others. “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 2 Corinthians 1:4
Because of those hurts, I’m available. As I’m drawn to Jesus, I’m drawn away from dependence on people to feel ‘okay’. I want to feel worthy, acceptable, wanted. My instinct is to fulfill that through people. When I cling to God for that acceptance, I become significant. I want to obey Him. I want to know Him. I want to do His will. I’m available to the Holy Spirit. When I become fulfilled and comfortable with the stuff of life, I don’t seek God with all my heart and mind. I prefer to stay comfortable. Being a little on the fringe – not a central part of a core group of friends - is uncomfortable sometimes. I’m beginning to see it as a blessing, not as lack.
Thank you Lord, for drawing me to you. Thank you for loving me enough to subject me to pain, and for revealing to me that it is an act of love. Lord, thank you that you suffered for me and understand lonliness and rejection. Please help me overcome these hurts completely – restore me Lord, so I can return your comfort to others who hurt and are alone. Thank you Jesus that you have good plans for me and that I get to play a part in whatever it is you’re doing. Thank you for calling me your child. Lord, my heart bursts with joy and thanks. I can’t stop crying. You love me. You love me so much. Thank you Jesus that I get to share in your glory and joy and kingdom. I love you too!