If you are anything like me, you will
have known many occasions when you have received stinging
rejections, and have greatly needed friends and counsellors to pull
out the darts and arrows that have pierced your soul.
In one sense we are wise if we prepare people to experience such
rejection. Even in Jesus’ own day, when compelling evidence of His
Lordship was mounting all around, more people followed their
leaders’ example in rejecting Him than embracing Him as their Lord.
We get glimpses in John’s gospel of
how much people’s reluctance to follow through on their commitment
affected Him. If that was hard enough to bear, Jesus then had to
endure the greatest grief of all: being rejected by someone who was
close to Him. Disillusioned because his Master refused to follow the
path he had once hoped he would, Judas left the door of his heart
wide open for Satan to enter in.15
Judas’ rejection of Jesus was of an
altogether different order from that of Peter, who also denied his
Lord, not once but three times on the night He was arrested. Jesus
knew that Peter’s denial sprang from momentary weakness rather than
from deliberate premeditated choice, which is why He made a point of
seeking him out after the resurrection.
It was always Jesus’ intention that
Peter should serve as His overseer and spokesman, and in due time
Peter showed himself to be a wise and trustworthy leader – despite,
and perhaps even because of, his soul-searing failure. As Tozer
||Repentance is, amongst
other things, a sincere apology for having mistrusted our
Lord so much – and faith is a throwing of oneself with
complete confidence on Christ’s mercy.
If you have been seriously
betrayed or let down by someone close to you, you will know
that there is no pain quite like it in life. If you have
not, it is rather like me trying to describe an acute pain.
You may do your best to put on an under-standing smile, but
a few minutes of the actual pain would be of far more use in
helping you identify with it.
Job describes in graphic detail the
effect his so-called “comforters” had on him.16 Bombarded by unkind
suggestions on the one hand from his fair-weather friends, and by
immense external afflictions on the other, Job preserved his sanity
by refusing to accept accusations he knew to be untrue.
When even his wife urged him to
forget the God-thing altogether, Job replied in terms that most
modern Christians would shrink from expressing quite so directly:
Shall we accept only good and not trouble from the hand of God (Job
So far as God was concerned, it was
this willingness to go through whatever He asks us to experience
that proves the authenticity of His work in us. He is still in
control even when everything looks and feels otherwise. As the Lord
restored Job, so He can also find ways to bless those of us who have
been bruised and battered almost to the point of wanting to quit the
fray. That is why we too can declare:
||When He has tried me, I
shall come forth as gold . . .
Even if He slays me, I will still trust Him.
Job 23:10, 13:1517
Reflect and Pray
At the end of the book of Job, when God breaks through and reveals
Himself to His distressed servant, He makes no effort to give direct
answers to Job’s questions.
Rather He speaks with passion about
the most unlikely animals: wild donkeys, which cannot be tamed to
work in the fields or to carry footsore human beings – and
Leviathan, who is so strong and dangerous that he laughs at men’s
attempts to subdue him.
It is as though the Lord is saying,
“You can’t understand why I made these creatures, Job, but they have
their role and place in My creation – and so too do these intense
sufferings that You have been through.
Don’t be offended and don’t hold