Most of us have entertained the thought, experienced the chill, the unnerving contemplation of being shipwrecked, cast alone into the shallows of some tiny, unnamed, uncharted, uninhabited island. Whether in our child’s mind’s eye or in mature consideration of what we might do, how we might survive, most of us have given at least some thought to the feelings of aloneness, isolation, the maddening emptiness of life separated from everybody, anybody, any human contact.
There are words that speak eloquently. What images do these expressions conjure for you?
Whatever impressions emerge or pictures are drawn in your mind as you consider these words, it is likely that you have also experienced in your journey through life the feelings, the emotions, indeed, the hurt and pain of abandonment or rejection.
Perhaps it was a parent – a mother or a father who abandoned you. It may have been a spouse or a child or a brother or sister who rejected you.
One of the most profound pains of life occurs when those you believed were your friends, your faithful, true and honest friends forsook you and you found yourself suddenly and silently alone and in your aloneness, you shivered uncontrollably in the icy chill of your isolation.
Rejection and abandonment can come in a thousand costumes and speak with myriad voices. The effect, the result produced is always the same:
Rejection brings injury and deep damage to the soul. The mind is anguished and wounded and in its bruising the mind seeks to protect itself, to counter hurt with defensiveness and anguish with a shield of aloofness and distance from the thing that caused the insult of soul and heart.
Abandonment makes the heart grow weak, but more; desertion destroys self-worth. We learn early in life to discard what we do not need; what we do not want; what is not essential or profitable or useful or even acceptable.
Garbage is disposed of; trash is discarded. We keep only that to which we attach value
An abandoned soul feels valueless, worthless, insignificant, useless.
A forsaken heart is more than empty and crushed and bruised and injured; it is a playground for devils, a gymnasium for unprofitable imagination, a ready abode for the citizens of hell.
From the soil of rejection flourish the sour fruits of bitterness, resentment and, dark, brewing rage. Implacable, stone-hearted and pitiless wrath proceed from hearts that have known the frigid winds of torment spawned by the uncaring, the unfeeling and the unaware.
From such renunciation Americans have become familiar with Columbine in Colorado and Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook. But other, unreported and destructive events happen every day in homes and among families as mental, spiritual rejection and careless, flippant treatment of others produce the death of relationships and the breaking of hearts.
Most rejected and broken-hearted people never pick up a gun or seek to lash out at others. There is no need and no desire. The slow, grinding suicide begun by the deadly injection of aloneness and friendlessness is as deadly as any bullet that ever roared in tortured anguish.
We cannot control if and when or by whom we will feel the lethal claws of abandonment.
What we can do, what we wield control over is our response to rejection. Options exist for the heart that was crushed. Brokenness may come, but annihilation is not inevitable. No soul that was crushed was ever beyond repair.
And there is Someone who knows…..feels….. empathizes…..understands….. cares and Who also possesses the power to heal even the most trodden and crushed heart. It was foretold of Him; “I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice…He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench.”
Who is this shining Knight; this Rescuer of offended hearts? Who is this Champion of the soul Who comes to right wrongs and to heal those whose destruction seemed certain?
He came forth of misinterpreted illegitimacy and was raised in humble anonymity; He came forth from obscurity and moved about in lonely exile. He left His home country and renounced his nobility, He was self-effacing and pointedly unassuming. He sought nothing for Himself and was content by Himself.
He was “despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”
It is He Who “will bring forth justice for truth,” and God will hold His hand; “He will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house.”
And to the One Who promised, “I will hold Your hand” hear the anguished cry from the central cross on that Crucifixion Day of all Days when Innocence was fixed to the Tree of Final Death: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him….” because He saw your face and knew your brokenness and He anticipated through forsaking Him, your wholeness.
This Man above men, “made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” so that He might see you, find you, know you, touch you, heal you, a bruised and hapless reed, tender, delicate, nearly too far gone to be repaired, but repairable in the Hands of a Master Physician.
And when we – you and I – accept and receive healing and restoration and the comfort of friendship with Him, we then carry within ourselves the knowledge, the ability and the sympathy to carry Him to another abandoned, rejected, forgotten heart, “that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
So, we reach to the “least of these.” We find ourselves among “orphans and widows.” We observe pure religion and undefiled before God because we become what He has always been; a Father to the fatherless; a Lover of the unlovely; a Friend to the friendless. A visitor of prisoners and a provider of a cloak, a meal, a home…a heart that knows, that feels, that sees, that understands.
Our Abandonment was essential for another’s Recovery
Deserted so that we might learn to Salvage
Discarded so we could Recapture
Rejected so we could Receive
Forsaken that we might Comprehend
Alone that we might find the true Companion
What images are conjured in your heart at the hearing of these words? What scenes play before your mindscreen? Someone has been abandoned, deserted, discarded, rejected, forsaken. And who will notice? Who will go? Who will touch them in their brokenness and in their loneliness and Who will bring them to the Forsaken One Who alone has the antidote for this poison of the soul?
In the Shelter of His Grace,