Friday, October 17, 2014

A Longing for Belonging....

Mark 3:21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself."

This verse from the book of Mark struck my attention this morning. In this chapter of Mark Jesus healed the man with the withered hand and the Pharisees began plotting against Him to destroy Him. He also chose His disciples. He got in a boat because the crowds were pressing in upon Him so much. When it became so crowded that they could not even eat bread, then the statement about Jesus being out of His mind was said by His friends. In my Companion Bible, with notes by E. W. Bullinger, it says His "friends" are translated as kinsfolk, i.e. His brethren and His mother.

That really stood out to me, that these very friends who said Jesus was out of His mind were His mother and brothers! Then I thought that as a human being, Jesus was not impervious to human feelings of pain and ostracism. Imagine how He might have felt hearing them say that. His very own family thinking He was out of His mind.

Of course, this pain may have been small compared to the loneliness He felt when all His disciples abandoned Him and He was alone in the Garden of Gethsemane, praying while sweating drops of blood, anticipating the horror of bearing all our sins. He had to face that burden utterly alone. Or when He cried to His Father from the cross:

“Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46)

It really is true. Jesus really can identify with all of our weaknesses, for as a Man, He suffered every temptation we will ever face. He knows what it feels to be lonely, to be left out.

"Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted."
Hebrews 2:17-18

All of my life, I have longed to fit in, to find someone who thinks as I do, someone with whom I can identify completely. I have many close relationships and yet, there was a longing inside for this unconditional approval from people, something that people just cannot give. For we all have feet made of clay. And yet, all along, what a fool I was, for I did have Someone with whom I could identify.

How much more could He do to reveal to me that He loves me? And yet, somehow, I could not break through this feeling of despair. And so, I did what I do every morning, by God's grace. I read His Word. And the Spirit knew I needed help and reminded me of Psalm 139.

"O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me."
Psalm 139:1-5

I am known by God! Oh what a glorious thought. My "longing for belonging" is forever settled as I realize my relationship with Him, a totally free gift by the grace of His Son Jesus Christ. I am a "member in particular" of the Body of Christ. And if you are in Christ, you are too!

"Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular." I Corinthians 12:27

Again, in the Companion Bible from Bullinger, it says of this verse in the notes "each in his part." God has made each of us uniquely a part of His Son's very own Body. If we want fellowship, that is where we will find it. Not in anything this world has to offer.

"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever."

Here is a little poem I wrote today as I mused on these things:

Why do I look to man
For what You alone bestow?
Unconditional love, security
Above what man can ever know.

All my life my soul has searched
For acceptance in the wrong place.
For man, who is made of dust
Cannot comprehend Your grace.

You look down with compassion
You see me in despair,
You tell that You and You alone
Can ease the burden I bear.

Do not look then from east to west
To find someone in whom to confide.
But trust in Me, the Lord Your God
I will ever be by your side.

copyright 2014

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