Have you ever felt forgotten or ignored? Maybe you’ve been passed over or pushed off to the back burner like you’re an old pan and your contents, well, they’re not that important so it won’t matter if they grow cold.
Other things come first. That is, until you’re needed. Then you’re called upon and pulled to the front of the stove with a strong tug. You’re given attention and great care. All of a sudden you matter. All of a sudden you’re not invisible anymore.
But you hold your breath because you know it’s going to happen again. It’s a cycle you’ve come to expect.
You’re called upon when you’re needed but not when you’re in need.
When you’re in need, you suffer quietly. Alone. You pray someone will reach out, that someone will answer your call. You hope someone will send you a word of encouragement because you’re fresh out and you’re struggling just to get through the day. So you push through and keep going.
Your schedule keeps you busy, sometimes too busy. No one knows all you try to accomplish in a single day, all the demands you try to meet, and all those you try to help because God has tucked their pictures gently into the folds of your heart. And you want to help, you want to be there. You really do.
But today, you’re empty. You’re like a lone bench abandoned in the snow. Waiting and hoping for God to rescue you because you know He will. He always does. Thank you, Lord.
But why is this awful feeling of dejection lingering so long this time? Where is God and why is He taking so long? While you’re waiting, you ask Him to teach you through it; to bring something good from all of this.
He reminds you of your daily prayer: More of You, Lord. I want more of You.
You find yourself getting mad. What sort of answer is buried in all this pain?
You begin to realize having more of God means being more like Jesus and walking in His footsteps, including some of those that bring pain.
Jesus felt every bit of what you’re feeling right now and so much more.
He was abandoned by those closest to Him, ignored, pushed aside, and forgotten. (Isn’t this happening a lot today?) But when there was a need, people flocked to Him.
Experiencing loneliness and abandonment softens your heart. Not right away, of course. At first you strike out in anger (or pull back in tears) and you try to stop giving and you try to stop caring. You try to harden your heart. But God won’t hear of it.
He wants your heart to be malleable to His touch (and His alone) so He can use you and your pain to reach out in a very real way. You see, when your heart has been beaten, it becomes so tender that you not only sympathize with those who feel invisible and those who are ignored, but you empathize. You feel their pain and you understand their suffering because you’ve been there.
And when you reach out to them, they see it. They know you’ve been there. And they see God in you. (So in a sense, your suffering draws them closer to God.)
And YOU get to see your Savior more clearly, understanding a little more of what He went through to come and love you right where you are today.
“He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.” (Isaiah 53:3 MSG.)
“For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” (1 Peter 2:20-21 ESV.)