There must come a time where we must cast off our longings for the world’s acceptance and realize that the only place of true embrace is in Christ alone. Let us rejoice, that though despised and rejected by all others, God sees you as chosen and precious, and welcomes you in Christ.
We have everyday encounters with rejection in job searches, auditions, and relationships, and yet it never seems to get any easier. Rejection undercuts our deep desire to belong, and too often we settle for the shallow approval of the world rather than the eternal embrace of the Father. Our culture peddles self-love and inclusion, but it’s standard of acceptance is a moving target. It waxes and wanes based on what we have to offer, and how well we conform to their ideals. Despite our misplaced desire for approval, God’s response to us is counterintuitive to what we might expect.
The earth was originally a place of perfect harmony and fellowship. In the Garden of Eden, the animals lived with no fear of man, and man lived in God’s presence with no shame. Once sin entered the world, our first parents immediately sought to cover for their shame by sewing loincloths from fig leaves. It was our first attempt to save ourselves, and it did not work. God expelled Adam and Eve from the garden, but our rebellion did not catch Him by surprise, nor did it cause Him to give up on us. While we would disown our own friends and family for much smaller offenses, God immediately promised Adam and Eve a glorious return to His favor and provided an intermediate covering for them through the sacrificial blood of animals.
Throughout Scripture, God repeatedly bypasses human sensibility and chooses the rejected and despised of this world and esteems them as His beloved. What did we do to deserve this? Martin Luther helped answer this question during the Heidelberg Disputation in 1518. He observed, “The love of God does not find, but creates, that which is pleasing to it.” God’s standard for us has not changed. He still demands perfection, we still deserve His wrath, and our attempts to cover our shame still do not work. But because of His great love, those demands of perfection are met in Christ alone. Jesus takes our rejection upon Himself to bring us back to God’s embrace.