Articles and Publications

Pilgrim's Guides


  Minimizing Grief's Desolation
Part Four



Expressing Grief and Loss
When Impatience Sets in
The Power of Resilience
Bringing Rest to Troubled Souls
Too Many Choices
When the Grass Appears Greener

Wounds in the Household of Faith
Moving beyond the Reefs of Rejection
Handling Dark Times: Tunnel Experiences
The Dark Night of the Soul

  Wounds from a friend can be trusted,
but an enemy multiplies kisses. Proverbs 27:6
  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 brilliantly remarked:

  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 2:10)?

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 back!”



Moving beyond the Reefs of Rejection
But as for me, my feet were nearly slipping.
Psalm 73:2

How do people who have experienced rejection react? Most commonly by withdrawing into their shell. Suppressing their natural emotions, they hold back from reaching out to others in case they end up getting hurt again. Does this sound familiar? Read More . . .
15 See Luke 22:3, John 13:27
16 See Job 6:11-21

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