When the World Turns Against You

path across water

Today (in)Courage is featuring a post of mine where I share about one of the loneliest times in my life. It was a season when I had few friends and felt as though far more people were against me than for me. Rejection, resentment, and ridicule gouged gaping soul wounds that later twisted themselves into knotty scar tissue, tender to the slightest provocation.

During those dark days, I held tight to Jesus and to all he is and all he promises. I knew he was near. I felt his presence, guidance and protection. I truly don’t know how I would have survived without my savior. I don’t think I would have. But can I get really honest for a second and let you in on a secret I didn’t want to admit even to myself?

Sometimes God’s love confused me more than it comforted me.

I couldn’t understand why he created me to be so unlikable. How could he make something that he loved so much to have it hated by others?

So I loved him and I relied on him; and yet I doubted him. I didn’t question his existence or his power. Instead, my skepticism circled around how he felt about me. I believed he loved me out of obligation, as if he regretted making me and felt only pity and duty toward his deficient creation.

Awkwardly, I withdrew from God the Father and from the Holy Spirit, but I remained pursuant of God the Son.The more I learned about Jesus … the more I knew Jesus … his character … his holiness … his sacrifice. The truth that radiates from Christ penetrates and permeates a being in a manner that leaves little, if any, room for doubt.

Jesus understands human suffering, because Jesus’ suffering as a human is unmatched.

My question about how God could make something that he loved so much to have it hated by others was answered in one word. Jesus.

I love how Tim Keller explains this in his book Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering:

Jesus lost all his glory so that we could be clothed in it. He was shut out so we could get access. He was bound, nailed, so that we could be free. He was cast out so we could approach. And Jesus took away the only kind of suffering that can really destroy you: that is being cast away from God. He took so that now all suffering that comes into your life will only make you great. A lump of coal under pressure becomes a diamond. And the suffering of a person in Christ only turns you into somebody gorgeous.”

By drawing closer to Jesus, I then gained a deeper understanding of God’s heart and his love for those he created in his image. There has never been a greater demonstration of  love than what God accomplished on the  cross. You see, sin is expensive. It corrupts. It bankrupts. It destroys. The payment to defeat it had to incomprehensibly exorbitant. But God loved us … me … you … far too much to leave our sin debt unpaid.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” I John 4:9-12.

Loving Jesus more fully also enables me to accept the realities of his adoration and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I absolutely cannot claim to love Jesus wholly when I reject what he says about me. I can’t have it both ways. If I believe the old lies that tell me I’m less valuable than others, then I’m not fully accepting that Jesus deemed me worth dying for.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.  The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.  Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” – Romans 8:14-17

So when you feel like no one in this great big, wild, sinful world is for you, please remember Jesus. Remember that His suffering and your suffering are not without value. And remember that even though you are a being who makes mistakes, your being is not a mistake.

14 thoughts on “When the World Turns Against You

  1. I’ve had a few roads I felt I walked alone growing up, and in hindsight, I see the strength of God leading me. I know I figured once I was an adult, that loneliness would be left behind (college, for me, was such a different and accepting life than cliquey grade school). I was stunned and plagued with doubts and worth(lessness) as a grown-up mom from women who were peers. Of all the roads, the rejection along that one was hardest and left deep wounds. But God was still with me, and through those experiences, he taught me about his love, my worth in his eyes, and the idols of approval and acceptance I used to replace him, when I was already proved and accepted in his arms. Thanks so much for your post and honesty. From a fellow sojourner and sister in Christ.

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  2. Thanks for sharing this. I can so relate and it encouraged me today that there is hope for these struggles that plague me. The mom journey I’m on right now is by far the hardest journey I’ve ever been on and many days I feel like I’m one big misfit around other Moms and drowning trying to measure up.

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  3. This…”I couldn’t understand why he created me to be so unlikable. How could he make something that he loved so much to have it hated by others?”….is something I struggled with for many years! Thank you for being open and honest!

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  4. Thank you for the post. Today I really need it. I, too, grew up in a small town and felt like you. Unfortunately, I now work at a place where I’m left out often and I wonder all the time what is wrong with me. I know in my head that I have a loving family and that these women don’t make or break me and that I shouldn’t let them bother me but it doesn’t always make me feel any better. I needed the words especially today as it is a rough day so thank you again for reminding me that Jesus loves me and he is all I will ever need.

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  5. Your comments are a little too little too late for me but I thank you for sharing them for the millions of young women and teens who need these messages so desperately. One of the gifts of “being old” is that it doesn’t really matter any more and i can just love God and get on with my life to bring His love to others who aren’t “so old”. Thank you so much, you don’t know how much I appreciate your message.

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  6. Hello Angela!

    I really enjoyed this post! I am very new to the blogging world.. Hi there, I’m Amanda, 🙂 I found your blog through my (in)courage.me email subscription. As I was reading through your blog post I found myself resonating with you and those feelings of worthlessness and those lies we tell ourselves. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your openness and honesty. You are very encouraging and inspiring! I have subscribed to your blog as well, I look forward to your future posts! Thank you for being you!

    These are a few of my favorite scriptures that remind me of God’s goodness:

    “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!” Psalms 27:13-14

    “Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us encourage one another in order to promote love and good works” Hebrews 10:23-24

    “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” Romans 8:28-29

    Love God, Love Others.
    God is good!

    Be Well,
    Amanda 🙂

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  7. So encouraging! As I was reading this I was reminded of the scripture in Colossians that says..”He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation”. Thanks for this encouraging post!!

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  8. Your testimony has blessed me, a 60+ woman, who has struggled with feeling different and rejected almost all my life…in varying degrees occasionally but generally suffocating. Now Jesus is saying ” Finally….will you listen? ” My answer is yes. Older but not too old.
    Thank you for your honesty …. your suffering has brought forth gold .

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  9. Adding my thanks too. So much comfort in reading the blog and all the comments and in knowing others have felt/feel the same.

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