Women's Devotional Bible
In a small Southern state capital, society seems to automatically bestow status according to profession. Bankers and attorneys, business executives and architects...and, of course, physicians. While others struggle for years to earn the respect of their colleagues, the physician has immediate respect on beginning a practice. Who you are is defined by what you do.
Once, not too long ago, I had this respect. But it has quickly disappeared. For I have clearly become "not one of the group". I don't fit the mold anymore.
The word has been spread. I don't know who started it; it doesn't matter. All my colleagues have heard I am "having a sex change." I am having to discuss it with friends and acquaintances much more often...that is, the ones who are willing to listen.
Some persons handle my disclosures by simply withdrawing. They no longer stop me in the hallway to talk; they avoid my table at lunch. Without openly rejecting me, they have silently done so. I am learning to deal with this rejection. Those who have known the person I appeared to be in the past have the right to disassociate from the person they see me becoming.
Still I find it a new and humbling experience. In many areas of my life, such as scholastic achievements and professional skills, I have become accustomed to success in the traditional sense, as the world defines it.
But while I was enjoying the external success, I experienced constant inner turmoil, knowing the real and gentle person within was unable to find release; unable to experience life as... herself.
What now? All has turned upside down. Soon I will be faced with demands that will require me to leave my position of security. Perhaps later, some external success will return to my new life; but it is certainly vanishing now. And yet my inner life is becoming orderly and peaceful. My Lord, through His holy spirit, is bringing me peace through the rough months of transition.
God does not view success as men do. Throughout the Bible we are reminded that He looks at our hearts rather than our degrees, neighborhoods, or bank accounts.
Accounts of victory in the face of rejection abound in Scripture. Consider the personal and family losses sustained by Job; the scorn and rejection of Hosea by his wife; and the imprisonment of Jeremiah. King David experienced rejection from his wife Michal. When the Ark of the Covenant was returned to Jerusalem, David led the parade with dancing and shouting. His wife considered this unbecoming for a man of his position, and she "despised him in her heart". [2 Samuel 6:16]
Paul gave up a career full of great promise as a Pharisee in order to humble himself before Jesus. He endured prison, beatings, stonings, ridicule, physical infirmity, and ultimately execution. He prayed for deliverance from his difficulties; and the Lord responded in this way: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Paul concluded, "That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." [2 Corinthians 12:9-10]
Jesus experienced rejection so much more profound than I will ever know. He associated himself with sinners and common people, declining the status with the Jewish community which could have been His. His brilliant teaching could have established Him, in time, as a leading rabbi. Imagine the Jews saying, "How could he throw away such a promising career?"
But He chose to live in harmony with His nature: to love and minister to all persons. The poor, outcasts, lepers, the "street people"... these needed Him, and they knew it. The affluent Sadducees and Pharisees thought He was sinful to visit and sit down to eat with "sinners". But He replied, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick." [Matthew 9:12]
My Lord has allowed me to experience the rejection of men. My intellect and my skills will not be enough to sustain me through the next few months and years. I know now, I must depend on Him for all things. Only He is constant in his love. Only He will never let me down. I can go to Him with humility now. I have hurts and deep wounds; so does He. As the song says,
And Jesus said, "Come to the water; stand by my side.
I know you are thirsty. You won't be denied.
I felt every teardrop, when in darkness you cried.
And I strove to remind you, that for those tears I died."
His blood...His agony and death... and His glorious triumph over it all are more real to me now than they have ever been. And my willingness to share what He has done for me is greater than ever. I finally have a testimony. In the past I felt vaguely uncomfortable around persons who said, "The Lord got me through such a trial," because I couldn't relate to them. I had had no such trials of my own. But now I have. And He is more than able to sustain me.
In my new found weakness I can finally feel His strength.
And there will come a time when I am strengthened enough to minister to those who have hurt as I have. One who has experienced the same rejection can be a source of strength and support. If I can know I helped someone navigate this course, it will all be worthwhile.