My job required me to leave my small children at times. I recall one particular moment when my husband held our one-year-old baby on his hip, her sister by his side, waving me off through security. When the baby realized they weren’t coming with me, she burst into screeches, reaching out her chubby little arms for me. Her father said she sobbed all the way home.
Abandonment. It’s a horrifying spectacle to be left behind by someone you love, whom you thought loved you. Akin to rejection, it puts us outside the circle of acceptance, in a cold, bleak world of worth-crushing inferiority. I call it “social death,” and I believe it to be the index fear of the human heart.
The disciple Peter pulled his sword before fully armed Roman soldiers. He feared not physical death. Yet only a few hours later when facing the social death of ridicule and rejection, he denied Jesus to protect Himself.
Jesus faced social death on the Cross–rejection by the One with whom He’d been bound in love for all eternity. In our behalf, He felt the horror of an abandonment so traumatic that it physically broke His heart. And He did it so that we could have the assurance of acceptance and the warmth of inclusion.
We can know, right now, that God accepts us in Jesus. We see in the fact that He endured the Cross, despising the shame, that He holds nothing back. The priceless Gift of His Life reveals His utter generosity toward us. If He would sacrifice His secure bond with the Father, why would He not freely give what requires no sacrifice at all–a place in His circle of love, where He can enjoy our fellowship forever?
Feel the arms of God around you right now. He accepts you with all your flaws and problems. He says that He will never cast out the ones who come to Him. Human beings will not always meet our needs for inclusion, but we can know we are always included in God’s circle of love. Thank Him out loud for His love.
Let us pray. Dear Father, thank You. Thank You that no matter our past mistakes, even grievous sins, no matter our present weaknesses and flaws, You receive us as we are. Take us as we come to You today. Heal and transform us. We pray in the name of Your Son, Jesus, Amen.
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:31-32