continued from Part 3: still learning
~ learning by doing ~
So then I found myself asking, “Why speak only to be rejected, Lord?”
Not because I didn’t like my prospects now that I knew the truth, but because I wanted to understand how to persevere and learn and grow through what may continue to be some really uncomfortable encounters.
Why is it good for me to speak God’s truth in the face of silence and rejection and even hatred?
To humble me with my failures?
This is good for me, I have no doubt. The Lord has blessed me abundantly with understanding of His word as I have studied it, with dreams and visions and healings in my own life and in the lives of my family.
These great blessings partnered with my treacherous heart could easily lead to a pridefulness that I want absolutely no part of.
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.(2 Corinthians 12:7, KJV)
And this, in itself, would be sufficient reason. Still, could there be more? In my experience, the Lord is rarely ever doing only one thing in my life, and so my why-ing led me to question still further: Is there more that I can learn from the path of rejection?
To teach me something I wouldn’t otherwise know?
Sometimes, rejection has been a great revelation. Suddenly, the truth became plain about someone who claimed to be a brother or sister in Christ. Because how do we really know the hearts of others, even within the body of Christ? People may say many things that match the Bible. And people may be very friendly and Christ-like when they are all in agreement. But sometimes, it takes a disagreement to show what is truly happening in someone’s heart. Sometimes, it is only when someone is questioned that their pride and contempt rise above their outward appearance of humility and fellowship.
These men are the hidden reefs in your love feasts, shamelessly feasting with you but shepherding only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried along by the wind; fruitlesstrees in autumn, twice dead after being uprooted.(Jude 1:12, BSB)
It’s not a happy moment, but it is much better to know where someone’s heart truly lies than to continue in a relationship, deceived.
Could it actually glorify God, even when someone rejected His word?
In the same way that it is our work to speak the truth of God’s word while He bestows faith according to His will, it is also our work to speak the truth of God’s word as He hardens whom He will harden.
Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.(Romans 9:18, KJV)
God is glorified in His mercy upon every sinner who comes to repentance. And God is also glorified in His righteous wrath on every rebellious heart that refuses His call.
Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory…(Romans 9:21-23, KJV)
It is a hard truth, but it is always true. God’s word illuminates perfectly. Sometimes it shines light on a faithful heart. Sometimes it shows that a heart was never faithful to begin with. God is always glorified even when His word is rejected.
To prompt me to more and deeper learning?
Rejection has also led me to do a lot of research and spend a lot of careful time in God’s word, seeking and searching and comparing and praying for understanding and guidance.
Based upon the comments and arguments of others, I have often re-examined my own beliefs and grown stronger and deeper in those things that I have previously learned. Sometimes, it is easy to hold a belief without examining it; but such belief is shallow. Examining our beliefs in order to answer questions and respond to criticism and reason through arguments either corrects our errors or roots our beliefs deeply within our hearts. It grows our faith as we observe the intricate depths of God’s truth extending layer-upon-layer before our studies.
To actually grow my faith?
In fact, I’ve noticed that every time I have to stand firm in a truth of God’s word in the face of heated opposition, I experience a jump in learning. I review many things I have often studied, but I always learn something new. I am always amazed again at the way God’s truth is beautifully and elegantly simple and universal and inescapable. And I always experience this overwhelming certainty in the absolute wonder and perfection of God’s word.
This entire certainty is something that I have come to know, from experience, only comes by faith. As I admire and praise God for His truth, He allows me to feel the certainty that is the characteristic of His entire truth. It’s quite different from the almost-certainty in the world that comes from gathering all the facts but knowing that there might still be something you are missing, or some argument that you haven’t thought of and won’t be able to refute.
It is not a lasting feeling of certainty, because in this world we will never be perfect in our knowledge and understanding of God’s word. But it’s a foreshadowing of what it will be like when we enter into eternity and finally achieve, not just human understanding, but the full and perfect knowledge of God. How amazing it will be to feel that certainty forever, and what a gracious gift of God to feel it even for a moment in this life!
by Sydney Michalski