Thursdays are for blog posts on the theme of faith in our world.
I want a life that’s perfect from the get go and forevermore. Possible right?! Wishful thinking.
Life includes the headaches, trials, and pains. Dealing with these emotions and circumstances isn’t easy. Faith plays a role to help along the way, or at least sometimes it seems as though faith can help, other times you’re left screaming at the sky.
For me, the centre of my faith is simply living out the character of Jesus in my neighborhood then beyond. Conversely, the constant struggle of my faith is living out the character of Jesus in the neighborhood then beyond.
When I’m asked the question, how does faith help face moments of disappointment, disconnect, and rejection, I try to point to examples where Jesus may have dealt with the same issues. For example, rejection in relationships, I’m curious how (and why) Jesus continued to love his followers even when they turned away repeatedly. Jesus was human so he must have had intense struggles with rejection. How did Christ love even in the midst of total rejection, and might that help me deal with something similar?
This is the theme when it comes to love of the ‘absolute’ variety, a love that goes to the very end and then one step more: Christ-like love loves generously and in return may receive nothing.
Brokenness hurts bad, especially unreciprocated love.
In no way am I suggesting unhealthy relationships are OK (you should just ‘stick it out’). I am suggesting that the very thing we need as humans–connection/relationships–is the very same thing that can give us the most pain. That’s the risk and it’s worth it. How we deal with the risk and loss if it should arrive is found in how Jesus dealt with brokenness in relationships. A crucial story about this is found in the fateful final 24 hours of his life.
It began at night.
The hour was coming when Jesus would be betrayed and crucified. He knew what to expect when nobody else could. Sneaking out with a chosen few, he heads into the darkness to quietly pray his final prayers. He asks his companions to stay awake and keep watch. They keep falling asleep.
The most arduous and physically draining prayers found in scripture are the ones spoken next. Jesus asks God to take away his responsibility that was unfolding. Rejection comes when Jesus sits in the garden of Gethsemane on the night he was going to be crucified and in heated and painful prayer he cries out to God, “take this cup away from me”. He’s calling out, “why me God…”
And in the pit of despair the answer he received? Only quiet. Jesus meekly responded in the midst of the seeming nothingness, “thy will be done.”
Have you ever prayed at the seeming pit of your despair only to get quiet….?
God was quiet which would be easy to consider as abandonment. Then, as Jesus’ arrest happens, and the trial unfolds, his friends abandon him one by one by one. Jesus was rejected by nearly all of his followers save for a few who made it to the cross with him (including his mother). There, his final breathes include, “God, why have you forsaken me?”
Jesus was always waiting with open arms but the world, those disciples, you and me, turned on him. Jesus bore that silence from God all the way to the cross, and in his ultimate time of need, also held rejection of the world and his heart as the Father turned his face.
In the low of rejection and despair we’re never guaranteed deliverance. Jesus shows us that profound struggles are not only normal and very difficult, they may also remain unresolved in this lifetime. That doesn’t it any easier, but it does suggest we have a Saviour who can sympathize with our hurt, and that somewhere in the misery, we can rest on a shred of faith as we cry, “thy will be done.”
Love like Christ loves, that’s all we have to give. The rest is unknown.