March 6, 2017
When my kite hit the ground, my friend John walked over and deliberately stepped on it. "That wasn't right!" I exclaimed.
"Who says?" Jack was defiant; something I hadn't before seen in my friend. I was only twelve, and had recently made a profession of faith in Christ as my Savior. I took it seriously, and knew the answer to his challenge. I went into our house, retrieved my new Bible from my room, and strode back into the front yard where Jack still stood, feet planted on my kite.
"This says!" I waved my Bible before him. He just laughed. Then he walked away.
That was more than fifty years ago, but I can still see him standing there, smirking. And I still can feel the sting of his mockery. That rebuke is as fresh today as it was then. For fifty years, the memory of that rejection has dogged every attempt I've made to share my faith. For fifty years, it was all I could do to keep from hiding my light under a bushel, as Jesus warned.
Tonight at our men's Bible study, pastor Joe led us in a discussion of rejection. He referenced John 15:18-20. "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. "If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. "Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also."
I learned something tonight. It wasn't me being rejected. It was Jesus. St. Paul told us that our glorious hope is that Christ is in us (Colossians 1:27). I didn't realize I was in a spiritual battle, and that it was Christ in me being mocked. The rejection I felt, he felt. He was there with me, receiving the rebuke in my place. I needlessly took personally something that had little to do with me at all. Tonight I have some praying to do, thanking God for being with me those years ago, absorbing the weight of the offense. I'll also ask his forgiveness for taking upon myself that which really belonged to him. And I'll thank him that after nearly fifty years, I was able to make contact with John again, and to discover how much we now have in common. When God restores the soul, he does it completely.