“‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.'”
“Everyone hates me!” Those were the words spoken through the crocodile tears of Jonah when I picked him up at the end of his school day. He was discouraged saying, “I tried to do the right thing and now everyone’s mad at me. I just don’t understand!” He went on to explain that during class, they were working on an assignment in their book. He asked if he was supposed to complete the questions in the margin and that’s when Jonah’s day took a turn for the worse. The teacher said yes and the class moaned realizing there would now be homework. Jonah’s classmates didn’t appreciate him any longer. In that moment, Jonah felt like an outcast. His peers had turned on him. He asked a question and all of the sudden he was the enemy. He felt unloved, unappreciated and lonely.
I understood completely as my boy shared his feelings of hurt and disapproval. I understood his innocent question and his intent to do the right thing. I understood his pain as his classmates glared and hurled nasty comments. I understood that in that split second, Jonah went from being accepted to being rejected. I think we all can understand rejection. The worst part is rejection leaves us feeling lonely. Choosing to abandon the world for solace is beautiful place to be. But being cast into isolation is personal. It’s hurtful.
However, there are times the Lord pulls us out of the mix to minister to us. He uses those hurts to draw us closer to Him. We have something to learn and sometimes the noise around us is louder than our Savior’s voice. I found this quote by Deitrich Bonhoeffer, “We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God.” Yes, sometimes in the midst of life, we are unpleasantly interrupted by a God who loves us too much to leave us idle.
This disappointment in Jonah’s life spurred so many conversations throughout the week. We talked about standing alone. We talked about the importance of following God even when it’s not popular. We talked about integrity and how difficult it can be. And we talked about resolve. Had Jonah had a perfect day, these conversations would probably never have happened. I would not have been praying about it and opportunities may never have come up. That split second may have been nothing to us, but to God it was an opportunity to teach not only Jonah, but the rest of the family.
Thank you for interruptions. Thank you for using the hurt we experience to draw us into your loving arms!