(Also posted on the God Encounters Women's Ministry blog for Calvary Baptist Church, Winston-Salem, NC.) www.godencounters.posterous.com
“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” Isaiah 53:3 (NIV)
Ever feel rejected? A failure by the world’s standards?
If so, you are not alone.
We can all identify in some way. We face all kinds of rejection in life and it always stings.
In my past, I have experienced rejection in one of its worst capacities. A little over a decade ago, my first husband left me when I was seven months pregnant with our second child and our daughter was just shy of 3 years old.
At the time I couldn’t imagine a more awful form of rejection.
This past week, the type of rejection I confronted was much more minuscule, but deflating nonetheless. Several months ago I had the opportunity to meet with a Christian publisher about taking on my already self-published book. Although the competition is very tight in the industry, I was encouraged that she had agreed to consider my book proposal.
So as I read the words in my inbox, “I am so sorry but I’m going to have to pass on this one,” I understood. It was too “testimonial.” But I also wanted to cry. It was in fact my story, written from the heart, meant to give God the glory for His faithfulness. It had been my desire that it would encourage others and give them hope.
Due to the personal nature of my book, I know the enemy has enjoyed stirring up all kinds of feelings of insecurity in my little brain since it was published two years ago. I even remember my mother-in-law asking me if I felt like I was “walking around naked.” And that’s exactly how I would describe it!
And so this past week after reading the rejection email, it was easy to let those feelings of self-doubt creep in and to feel almost ridiculous for thinking that I should have written a book in the first place. Everyone has a testimony, so why should mine be any different?
Then I was reminded of why I did it. I am sure I had felt the leading of the Holy Spirit. It wasn’t just my story. It was HIS story. If He wants to use it, He will; on His terms, in His time.
And then I remembered that almost no one gets a book contract on their first try. I recounted one well-known Christian author and speaker’s publishing story she shared at a conference I attended this past summer. Her advice? Keep writing.
But most importantly, it occurred to me that Jesus Himself was rejected while He was here on earth and those verses from Isaiah immediately came to mind. I also remembered the passage in Luke 4 when Jesus was rejected in His own hometown and was reminded that in many cases, family members can be the most critical.
So as we celebrate the birth of sweet Baby Jesus lying in the manger this Christmas, let us not forget that He is the One Who was born to face the ultimate rejection.
I love the way The Message translation describes Isaiah 53:2-3:
“The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling,
a scrubby plant in a parched field.
There was nothing attractive about him,
nothing to cause us to take a second look.
He was looked down on and passed over,
a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away.
We looked down on him, thought he was scum.”
So again I’ll ask, ever been rejected? Looked down on? Passed over? Felt unattractive? Even like scum?
Whatever we face in our earthly trials is only a snippet of what Jesus suffered on our behalf. May we somehow be able to grasp the bigger picture of His earthly presence. That as we sing “Away in a Manger” we remember the Son of the Most High, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, was rejected by men right from the start. Even as there was no room for Him in the inn and He entered the world in a stable filled with smelly animals.
Lord Jesus, no matter what emotions I am feeling from the cold, sometimes cruel world I am temporarily living in, surround me with Your unfailing love, Your peace, Your acceptance, and Your very real presence as I celebrate Your birthday this year. Help me to remember that there is no form of rejection I can face that even comes close to what you willingly came to face just for me. Thank You, Lord Jesus for loving me that much!
Verses for Today:
“But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. “1 Peter 4:13-14 (NIV)
“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit.” Philippians 1:27a (NIV)
“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” John 21:25 (NIV)
© 2010 by Christy Long. All Rights Reserved.