The Pains We Face: Rejection

by Carolyn Hope

“Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. ‘Where did this man get these things?’ they asked. ‘What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.’ He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.” (Mark 6:1-6)

Every person is born with an inherent need for acceptance. When we are rejected, it wounds us at our core. Rejection is a knife that plunges deep into the heart. It can result in depression, anxiety, and insecurity. When you’re rejected, you often doubt yourself and wonder, “What’s wrong with me?” If you’re rejected long enough, you begin to feel defeated and hopeless. This is especially true when rejection comes from someone you care deeply for.

In this world, you are going to be rejected. It doesn’t matter how hard you try to be what everyone wants you to be. Jesus was the only perfect person who has ever walked this earth, and even He was rejected. People will find a reason to reject you. They’ll reject you based on anything and everything: your appearance, your style, your personality, your job, your social class, your upbringing, etc. You can either live unfazed by rejection or tormented by it. You have an enemy who is threatened by your presence, and thereby seeks to keep you locked in fear through experiences of rejection.

There is good news: the rejection of the world cannot compare to the acceptance of Christ. If you let Him be the source of your identity, instead of basing your value on others’ opinions of you, you will become free from the effects of rejection. You’ll be able to walk in courage and boldness because no matter what any person thinks of you, you’ll know the truth of what Jesus says about you.

You are worthy. You are loved. You are beautiful and strong, and enough. You don’t have to measure up to the standard of the world; simply accept the love of your Father. His arms are always open to you. He will never reject you. He loves you and accepts you without reserve. Grab onto hope today. You can live confident and free in the One who made you and fully accepts you.

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The Pains We Face: Loss

by Carolyn Hope

“At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.’ In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” (Job 1:20-22)

When Job said this, he had just heard the news that all his oxen, donkeys, sheep, camels, servants, and sons and daughters were gone. All he had left was his wife. He was dealing with total loss on every side. What will you do if your business gets flooded, and your building is damaged beyond repair? What will you say if the stock market crashes and all your investments go down the drain? How will you act if your child gets sick, and instead of recovering, gets worse?

The most remarkable part about Job’s story to me is what he did with the news he was given. Job began to mourn, but as he did, he worshipped. He worshipped! If you have experienced loss of any kind, then you can understand how unique of a response Job’s was. Worship is many times the last thing we want to do when tragedy strikes. When you lose something or someone dear to your heart, it leaves a hole that can’t really be filled in. There’s healing, yes; but you’re never quite the same.

Loss will change you. You get to determine how it changes you. You can become bitter and angry, or you can become stronger and greater. The way you let loss change you for the better is by worshipping your King. No matter what you’ve been through, He’s still worthy. No matter the pain you’re feeling, He’s still good. No matter what you’ve lost, or what the enemy has stolen from you, Jesus still loves you.

Job wasn’t perfect. Later in his story, he tried to understand what he was going through, and he finally had to let go and trust the Lord. You can’t always understand pain, especially when it runs deep. There comes a point where you have to decide if you’re going to trust your mind, or the One Who made it. It’s so hard to see clearly when you hurt so much. Take heart, dear one; there’s a Father who sees better than you do, and He holds you securely in His hands.

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The Pains We Face: Disappointment

by Carolyn Hope

 “Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.) So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, ‘What are we to drink?'” (Exodus 15:22-24)

One of the most sinking sensations is that of disappointment. Hope deferred truly does make the heart sick (Proverbs 13:12). There is something about disappointment that makes colors seem duller, and our hearts feel heavier.

The Israelites experienced this shortly after becoming a free people. They had searched three long days in the scorching hot sun for water, and yet they found nothing. Then in the distance, an oasis appeared! All the Hebrews rushed to the pools of water, relieved to finally have found some respite for their parched and dangerously dehydrated bodies. But as they cupped their hands full of water and took a long drink, they tasted a deep bitterness; it was so revolting that they couldn’t bear to drink it. How did these people respond? They grumbled and complained.

Disappointment is going to come into your life. Maybe you won’t get any of the jobs you earnestly applied for and desperately need, or perhaps you were hoping for a relationship to go a certain direction, and it doesn’t. It could even be something simple and small, like finding out Chick-fil-a is closed because it’s Sunday. The disappointing circumstances in your life don’t matter as much as the way you respond to them. Will you dwell in your disappointment, and become irritable or frustrated, or will you push through the moment of pain, and trust God to work it for your good? God has a way of redeeming the irredeemable. He knows how to rebuild broken bridges. He is greater than whatever disappointment you’re facing. Let Him into your pain, and He will heal it. Will you give Him freedom to move in your heart today?

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The Pains We Face: Failure

by Carolyn Hope

“One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand … When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian.” (Exodus 2:11-12, 15)

 

“‘So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.’ But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?'” (Exodus 3:10-11)

Everyone knows what failure feels like. There are many reasons why people fail. Sometimes, it’s because of outside circumstances and situations you can’t control. Other times, it’s because you’ve set your expectations too high, or maybe, you were simply incompetent for what you needed to do. Regardless of where your failure comes from, you are not alone. All of us have failed at some point in our lives.

Moses was no exception. He had a strong sense of justice from an early age. Although he spent most of his early life in the luxuries of royalty, he had a heart for his relatives and people in poverty. He wanted to save the Hebrews from their yoke of slavery, but when he attempted to, his actions didn’t have the results he hoped they would. In fact, he had to flee for his life to the wilderness. He had failed. As a consequence of his failure, Moses gave up on his dream and contented himself with the life of a shepherd. When God appeared to Moses forty years later, He found a man who was insecure and reluctant to accept the very mission he had tried to accomplish on his own before.

Why was Moses so hesitant and afraid? Moses had begun to identify himself with his failure. In his mind, he had one shot, and he missed it. And now, God wanted him to try again? This plan, however, was different. This plan worked because it was a partnership between Moses and God.

It’s easy for us to disqualify ourselves because of past failures. “I tried that before.” “Oh, I’ve done that several times. It never worked.” “It’s just not my luck, I guess.” God never disqualifies you based on your failed endeavors. He calls you and qualifies you for whatever He has planned. And nothing you have ever done can change who He says you are, and who He designed you to be. Don’t identify with your failures. Choose to believe in what God says about you. You were created for victory! Don’t let your failures hold you back from trying again. Get back up, dust yourself off, and go for it. You’ll make it. Jesus is with you, and He’s calling you to more.

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The Pains We Face: Regret

by Carolyn Hope

“And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, ‘Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.’ But Peter said, ‘Man, I do not know what you are talking about.’ And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.  And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly.” (Luke 22:59-62)

For many years, the story of Peter’s denial has been a picture of regret to me. When I read other Scriptures, however, I notice that the term “regret” is typically used in a negative sense; that is to say, regret is something Christians should not be feeling. Paul makes a distinction between godly sorrow and regret in 2 Corinthians 7:10, when he says, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” There are differences between regret and godly sorrow. Regret doesn’t offer hope; godly sorrow does. Regret does not lead to repentance; godly sorrow does. Regret says, “You’re stuck,” while godly sorrow says, “You’re better. You can move forward.”

When you wallow in regret, you are completely self-focused. “I shouldn’t have done that.” “I should have been better, kinder, more patient, etc.” You’re relying on yourself to be perfect. Jesus came so you could live free from regret. When you slip and fall, you’re supposed to get back up again. The way you rise from a fall is by letting Jesus pull you up. His strength is greater than your weakness. His love is deeper than your selfishness. His mercy is stronger than your failures.

All of my life, I have looked at this scene in Scripture incorrectly. I’ve pictured Jesus staring at Peter with a piercing gaze, full of sadness and disappointment. The message I’ve believed Jesus conveyed was, “Peter, how could you?” Now I see the truth: Jesus didn’t look at Peter to remind him that he messed up. He looked at Peter because He loved him. There was no anger in Jesus’ eyes. There was no disappointment. Instead, there were kindness, mercy, and love, calling Peter to come back to Him.

You don’t have to be afraid of peering into Jesus’ eyes. He loves you. You are free, flawless, and enough in His view. Your failures don’t have to separate you from Him. Even the greatest of wrongs can be made right in Jesus’ love. He longs for you to be close. Don’t get stuck in the mire of regret. Let go, move forward, and draw near to the One who has eyes full of love for you.

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The Pains We Face

by Carolyn Hope

This world is filled with pain. There are many kinds of pain: physical, emotional, and mental are some. Pain is hard to deal with, not only because it’s so unpleasant, but also because it can be challenging to explain. Sometimes, the deeper you dig into the pain you’re feeling, the more it hurts.

This week, I’d like to delve into some of the pains we face. There are much more than can be covered in a week, but we’ll look at emotional pains such as regret, failure, and disappointment. To every type of hurt, Jesus is the Healer. He offers hope when nothing else does.

If you’re experiencing something painful, I want you to know that I am sorry for what you’re going through. Don’t give up yet. You can make it through this. Jesus is with you, and He will make all wrong things right. Take courage today. You are a conqueror, and this too shall be overcome.

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