Never has, never will!

Last night I dreamt I was rejected.

I was in some kind of group of friends and acquaintances and we were taking turns to make some relevant comments about who knows what. (It was a dream; it doesn’t have to make sense!) I’d hardly got out the first two sentences of my comments before someone made it very clear that I was boring and needn’t continue. Maybe they were right, though I didn’t think so, but that’s not the point. I felt rejected and it hurt. The dream continued and when I woke up I knew it had been a dream – but it still hurt.

There’s been a lot of rejection in my life. Little things that I didn’t necessarily notice along the way, but such things add up. They hurt, and for me rejection became a root of problems in my life. Maybe you can identify with this.

But I’ve come to realise two important things.

1) I’m in good company! Jesus, too, was rejected.

He was despised and rejected—
    a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
    He was despised, and we did not care.
Isaiah 53:3

He came to his own people, and even they rejected him.
John 1:11

That’s not just nice to know, it means He understands how I feel – how you feel- because He has felt it too!

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to feel sympathy for our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin.
Hebrews 4:14-15

But it gets better!

2) I’ve learned it also means that, if we don’t reject Him,  He will never reject us!

Jesus promises it in John 6:37.

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I once asked God about rejection. I don’t know exactly how I phrased the question but it must have been something about whether or not He rejected me because the answer came back quick as a flash, not in religious jargon, but paraphrasing the words of Denny Crane in Boston Legal, who had never lost at trial and didn’t expect to: “Never have, never will!”

So if you feel rejected, remember He knows all about it, knows how it feels, and if you go to Him, He will never reject you!

Never has, never will!

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You can’t disappoint God!

On a couple of occasions during the last week I’ve chatted with people who were worried that God was disappointed in them. Disappointed in them for being afraid, for failing, for various things.

I told them it wasn’t – still isn’t – true, and now I want to tell you.

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Picture from Christy Woods’ post on the same subject (see below)

I think a lot of us, if we think about God at all, have the idea that we must be big disappointments to Him. Our parents – perhaps especially our fathers – may have told us that we were a disappointment. They had hoped for so much more. We’ve chosen the wrong career or not done well enough in the right one. We’ve married the wrong person, or not married soon enough, or not married at all. Worse, maybe we’ve failed in a career or marriage, or not visited them or talked to them often enough – or too much.

Sometimes it seems that whatever we do or don’t do, it’s never right and we’re just a great big disappointment.

Even if our parents are not like that, there may be others who are and we somehow come to believe that God is the same.

He is not like that!

Yes, He cares about our decisions, but none of them come as a surprise to Him. He knows what we are going to get right and wrong before we do. And since He is never surprised He cannot be disappointed. (I could write another post about how His knowledge about us interacts with our ability to choose, but let’s leave that as a mystery for now.)

You see, disappointment can only be the result of a situation arising or a person behaving in a way that fails to meet our expectations. God has no expectations (because He knows us) but He is full of expectancy (because He knows Himself!)

It’s hard to convey this paradox, but one analogy is that of the parent with a young child. They are full of expectancy, looking forward to seeing the child develop and grow up, but they are not disappointed if, as a toddler, they walk a few steps and fall down. They don’t expect perfect walking and will pick the child up and encourage them. Next time they will walk a bit further.

Although you can see plenty of apparent disappointment in the Old Testament (the “old arrangement”), under the “new arrangement” we see love and forgiveness, mercy and grace.

The one person Jesus might have been really disappointed with was Peter. Peter was warned about denying Jesus, but proudly declared that he would rather die. But within 24 hours he had denied even knowing Jesus, adding some swear words for emphasis!

What did Jesus say when he met Peter?

Did He say, “Peter, you’re a real disappointment. I warned you and you still did it. After three years with me to teach you, I had hoped for better!” No, he asked Peter if he loved Him. He asked three times, not to rub it in that Peter denied Him three times, but because Peter need to hear himself three times that he was, at least, fond of Jesus. And at each repetition Jesus gave Peter a mission.

After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”
“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.
Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”
“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.
A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.”

John 21:15-17

We may feel that we let God down in many ways, even many times a day, but He is not disappointed.

As He did to the woman in John 8:11, Jesus says to us, with such a tender expression in His eyes, “I do not condemn you… Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”

And He might add, “Do you love me? Then pass it on…”


Now read Christy Wood’s post – where I found the picture!