We have been going through a lot this summer. And this week, a major change came about with my job when our division was announced as being sold. So this morning’s devotional was timely as I found myself being sold off to new owners, as Mia finds herself in a new school year facing the prospect of making new friends and facing new rejections, and as we have all recently realized how our not cleaning up after ourselves after Mandee works so hard to maintain our household doesn’t demonstrate to her how much we value and appreciate her. It is natural for us to want to be noticed, appreciated, valued, and wanted — and that natural tendency to rely on the people around us to fulfill those “wants” — it leaves us open to be hurt.
How quickly we can become hurt when we feel we have been rejected, overlooked, forgotten. As we have been encountering a lot of unexpected surprises this summer that all have felt like “losses” at the time, I have to admit that as each successive one came, my eagerness to suffer for the glory of God has waned and I have realized that even my strength to “Trust in God” is something I must rely on Him to provide. I’ve realized that there is no pride or honor in the moment when we are truly “suffering well” — that would be standing in our own strength — but there is brokenness and full surrender and a realization that we must rely on something greater than ourselves.
When we are overwhelmed by the many circumstances of this life, when the unknown looms ahead of us like a dark cloud, when the sufferings and trials prove to be real and not just “theoretical possibilities” — it is here that we find ourselves necessarily humbled and contrite before the Lord.
And we can see in scripture that Jesus faced rejection on such a grander scale than we will know personally:
When Jesus had finished telling these stories and illustrations, he left that part of the country. He returned to Nazareth, his hometown. When he taught there in the synagogue, everyone was amazed and said, “Where does he get this wisdom and the power to do miracles?” Then they scoffed, “He’s just the carpenter’s son, and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers—James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. All his sisters live right here among us. Where did he learn all these things?” And they were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his own family.” And so he did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief.
Matthew 13:53-58 NLT
Oh, Lord, teach us too truly give all of our worries and cares to you. We don’t even know how to do that right on our own. We find ourselves saying “I trust you” but find ourselves stressed, anxious, worrying, and seemingly powerless against the very things you have told us to hand over to you. Father, you know our weakness even better than the enemy who would try to exploit them for wickedness — but we ask you humbly,
Come rescue us from ourselves, from our pride and expectations — from thinking that we “deserve” from others or from you — from our self centered thinking and planning — from so many tricks, traps, and snares that we so easily fall into.
And help us to be aware of how we might have slighted, forgotten, overlooked, dismissed, or rejected others around us as well. Help to repair those relationships, to heal those wounds, and to reshape us in the ways that are best.
And help us to remember how many times we have forgotten and rejected you, oh God. Not just when we have chosen TV, sports, jobs, friends, etc over you — but when we’ve refused to fully surrender and trust in you. Lord, you are compassionate and slow to anger, and that is very good, because we can truly be foolish time and time again. Help us to turn from our ways and trust in you — truly trust in you no matter where you have to take us, no matter how fiery the furnace, no matter how great the need, no matter how broken any dreams and expectations of ours need to become in order that your best, your abundant life, your perfect will be the door that is opened to us and that we walk through confident in you alone.
Some great additional study resources:
The Bait of Satan, 20th Anniversary Edition: Living Free from the Deadly Trap of Offense https://www.amazon.com/dp/1621365484/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_oquFBbJFC262A
Boundaries Updated and Expanded Edition: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life https://www.amazon.com/dp/0310351804/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_HpuFBb47QBD1C