Do you ever feel left out, or even forsaken?
Do you fear your kids being left out?
Maybe better questions would be: When was the last time you felt left out and how badly did it make you feel? When did you last perceive one of your children being left out, and what did you do to prevent it or make sure it didn’t happen again? What lengths do you go to ensure that none of you are left out?
Every study I’ve read about the effects of social media finds that it breeds loneliness, isolation and a feeling of being left out. I experienced this recently and was shocked at how quickly I spiraled downward, how illogical my thinking became and the extent of self-focus and self-pity that set in.
More than feeling left out, have you ever been forsaken? Being left out has potential to come from oversight, a mishap. Not so with forsaken. Forsaken carries with it intentionality.
A friend’s husband recently decided he’d rather walk out of the marriage than stay and work on it. For another friend, healing didn’t come (in this life) to a loved one who died very young.
Both women are walking through pain none of us would choose. And as much as these friends know God’s truth, they battle feeling forsaken — forsaken even by God.
We are not alone in our feelings – even our forsaken feelings.
In whatever you are walking through and whatever emotions are overwhelming you, I long for you to know one thing:
Jesus knows exactly how you feel.
Have you ever stopped to think of all the times and all the places Jesus wasn’t welcome? Can you recall the groups that shunned Him, the people who gossiped about Him and the times He was publicly ridiculed, behind His back and to His face?
Think of how those closest to Him didn’t understand Him. They couldn’t stay awake and pray when He needed them most. They even ran as far as they could get from Him as He died a brutal death on a cross for them.
Consider all Jesus felt and the scope of abandonment He experienced in going to the cross. He chose it. He felt it. Jesus did it for you. And because He did, no matter how deeply you are hurt, how extensive the abandonment…
Jesus knows exactly how you feel.
The following are some of Jesus’ most famous words:
“My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” Matthew 27:46
Let your pain drive you to Jesus
Here’s the challenge I’m giving myself: When the emotions (evoked by real circumstances or irrational thoughts) start to run rampant, take two minutes to think about Jesus. Think about what He walked through. And then stop and consider, “Yes, Jesus does know exactly how I feel.”
Next, ask Jesus to give you His perspective, to shed the light of His truth on what you are feeling.
I did this recently and was amazed at what He revealed. My feelings were hurt. It wasn’t a big thing, but the actions felt thoughtless, and I started feeling rejected. In talking with God, He revealed that the rejection I was feeling was largely a rejection of Him, not me. Through the revelation I was reminded:
God knows exactly how we feel.
Honestly, it’s been the course of history, our history:
“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns, that cannot hold water” Jeremiah 2:13.
When you feel left out, when you feel forsaken, use it as an opportunity to let Jesus relate to you, let Him speak to you and give you His perspective on it. But also (and this makes all the difference in the world to me), instead of dwelling solely on how you are feeling, use it as an opportunity to know and better understand Him. Use it as an opportunity to understand how we, His people, have forsaken Him, how we leave Him out.
The Apostle Paul longed for opportunities to relate to and know Jesus through suffering:
“I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His suffering” (Philippians 3:8,10).
To know the power of Christ’s resurrection — His resurrection life flowing through us — we must also know the fellowship of sharing in His suffering. It’s all part of walking in the freedom for which Christ set us free (Galatians 5:1).
Whether it’s feelings of being left out or you’ve been forsaken in the worst possible way, I encourage you to turn to God. Let Him speak to you about what you’re experiencing and feeling. Let Him reveal how He can relate to you, how He understands all you are walking through.
Mostly, use this as a time to know Him and understand more deeply all He has gone through, including all He went through for you.
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