Rejection. The word drips with misery. It is painful. When we are rejected we tend to reject others.
I was not the most popular child during my growing up years. Skinny, sickly and uncoordinated, I never seemed to fit in. I had friends, but they seemed to come and go. We moved a lot and by the 3rd grade I had lived in Maryland twice and was back in Pennsylvania for the second time.
I hated recess and gym class because I was the kid who always seemed to be picked last. Occasionally a friend would pick me next to last to save me the "embarrassment" of being picked last. Throughout my elementary and junior high years I was beat up, pushed around, chased, and so harassed that I began to fear the very thought of walking the halls. I remember once sitting on a ramp talking to a friend and waking up on the ground. A kid, one I had never met, took a pair of cleats and repeatedly beat me over the back and neck until I passed out.
The there was the other forms of rejection I experienced. Girls. I always had an interest in girls from the time I was very young but never found the interest reciprocated. My brother, who was a year younger than I, always seemed to like the same girls and they tended to gravitate to him. I was once told he was the better looking one, and many just saw me as a "friend", if at all. They would laugh at me if I expressed interest in them. One girlfriend I did have, broke up with me and wanted me to arrange a date with my brother!
These and other areas of rejection were piling up to the point that, by my late teens, I no longer cared. I had developed a wall around my heart that was very thick. I was going to make sure no one hurt me again. I had excepted Christ into my life at the age of 14 but I was not yet ready to let Him reign in my life! I became very thick-skinned in many areas. I still felt the pain of past and ongoing rejections but as time went by the pain impacted me less and less. I remained this way until I was 24. That summer I fell hard for a woman at my work. We hit it off fast and I was determined to keep her in my life. There was a problem though...I wanted to be a missionary and she did not. I ignored her subtle and not so subtle hints in this regard and went on enjoying my summer romance. Then she threw me a curve by breaking off our relationship and saying she felt God had wanted her to do so. I was angry and hurt not only at her but this time at God as well. Again I had been rejected.
Shortly afterward I went to Texas for a YWAM (Youth With A Mission) Discipleship Training School (DTS). While at the school, I met my future wife. However my walls were still in place, firmer than ever. Then one day, a speaker shared about the Father Heart of God. I had a very hard week dealing with the concept of God's love. I had been rejected so many times, I blamed God for that rejection. Finally, int he midst of the class, I felt like I could take no more of this lesson and I bolted from the classroom. I headed for the restroom where I sank to the floor and began sobbing uncontrollably.
I later found out that during this time my future wife, who had noticed my sudden departure, began praying that God would wrap His arms of love around me.
I cannot fully explain what happened during this time. As I sat on the floor of the restroom weeping, I suddenly felt a warmth wrap around my shoulders. It felt as if I was being given a huge bear hug. Almost like a blanket had been thrown over my shoulders. I began to feel the love of God penetrate the deepest areas of my life. My walls began to crumble. My tears switched from tears of pain to those of immense joy and relief. I began to get a true inkling of the Father's love for me.
It took time for me to let God tear down all of the walls I had built up. However, He began a work that day which changed my life forever. It was a process. It took some time but I felt the arms of the Father that day. I felt His arms of love.
"He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carried them close to His heart..." Isaiah 40:11
No matter what pain you have experienced in life...God can tear down those walls. Will you let Him reach out to you with His love?