Today I went back to do some more follow-up with some of the people I’ve connected with in the past few weeks. So far, most of these interactions have been pretty positive. But one place I returned to today…let’s just say I kind of got the cold shoulder. At first I thought, ‘Well, maybe these folks are just having a bad day.’ But after a little bit, it seemed pretty obvious there was more to it than that. And as positive as I was trying to be, for whatever reason, the good feelings were not being returned.
I left shaking my head and wondering, ‘What just happened?’ When it hit me, ‘This is exactly the thing we’re going to be talking about tomorrow at church!’ Because tomorrow the main passage we’re going to be looking at is the one where Jesus said to his followers, ‘He who listens to you, listens to me’ but ‘he who rejects you- rejects me.’ And since I was pretty sure that I hadn’t had any opportunity to do anything to offend these folks (at least- not yet!) I knew that if they were struggling with me, then odds are they weren’t really struggling with me, but the one I am ‘working’ for.
Now, even though I had just been studying about how rejection is a normal part of the Christian life, I have to admit, it didn’t really feel that great. And as I went to my next stop at the local library, I was actually feeling a little gun-shy about reaching out to people there. But I prayed and said, ‘God, just go before me and help me connect to the people you want me to.’
At least I figured since I had our youngest daughter, Mylia with me, maybe anyone I ran into would hopefully be nice since I was holding a cute baby! But wouldn’t you know, this time I had a completely different experience. As I talked to some of the library workers there about our upcoming Movie in the Park event, they were very encouraging and seemed open to post info on the event. And as Mylia and I went into play in the children’s area, we ran into a young dad with a couple of girls just a little older than her. We talked about regular stuff guys who have young daughters do- like princess stuff and of course, Dora the Explorer. And as we were about to go our own ways, I gave him a card about the Movie in the Park event, too- and he was very interested and said they’d probably make it!
You know, as I am coming up on the halfway mark on this adventure, I can’t tell you how much I’ve appreciated the challenge of this journey that I am on. It’s not always been easy, but it’s been worth it, as I have definitely grown in my love for God and my love for people. And I believe he has even greater challenges and opportunities in the days ahead. Can’t wait to see what he will do next!