Sometimes the very person or thing that rejects you may be what catapults you into your future!
Just over two years ago our family had been seeking to join a congregation so that our children could experience the discipline of being part of a church body. After living in Jerusalem for one year, many of our friends began inviting us to attend a specific congregation. After preparing our family to try visiting a new place for the first time we decided to join this body of believers for worship one weekend. We arrived early and sat quietly in the back, near the translator, hoping to just blend in. Much to our surprise, the pastor approached our family before the service started and asked if we were fluent Hebrew speakers. After finding out that we spoke only a little Hebrew, he said that surely we had come to the wrong congregation because we were Americans and not fluent in the language. We then explained that we had only attended Hebrew-speaking congregations since moving to Israel and were comfortable in worship and with the translator who was present. The pastor then reiterated just before the service began, “Are you sure you don’t want to leave, I’m sure you are in the wrong place”. I felt as a mother, there is no way I’m leaving, I planned my whole day around this, my children’s naps along with everything else that goes into visiting a new congregation. We stood our ground for that one service and then out of respect for the pastor never went back to his congregation. At the time, we felt very rejected and confused and wondered how any pastor could approach a newcomer this way.
After this experience, we didn’t tell anyone what was said or why we made the decision not to return. We began to count the relationships around us and realized that God had already given us what we needed. I personally found that as much as we had longed for a traditional congregational setting God had already provided us with friends, mothers and fathers in our faith. We realized that for a season our lives might look a little different than we thought but God knew what we needed.
I saw that our daughter has a strong prayer life and began to thank the Lord for the situation that our family has.
After feeling hurt for about 2 years I realized that God had set me free and it was time to forgive. While talking to my husband one day, God showed me how it was this situation that compelled us to host our first worship gathering in Jerusalem!
I feel compelled to write about this because all of us have suffered rejection and more than likely most of us have rejected someone. We are in sin when we walk in unforgiveness, as we are if we reject others. So most importantly remember this as you run this race of time and faith:
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1
To walk in unforgiveness no matter what the circumstance, whether it be family matters, church problems, abuse, unfaithfulness or a whole list of other problems that might come your way; will cause you to slow down in the race set before you.
I don’t want to slow down any longer and I write this to encourage you to forgive quickly so that you will run this race and make your father in heaven proud as He watches over you.
In Hebrews 12:2 We can read that: Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
I encourage you as you walk through this week to meditate on these scriptures. Pray that ever root of bitterness will be pulled all the way up. Run the race set before you and remember that weeping may last for a night but joy comes in the morning.