Summary: This sermon takes a look at the extent of God’s love for His creation, and the pain involved when we reject His pleas to come to Him. Also, it takes a look at the three ways we can respond to this love: Rejection, Indifference, or Acceptance.
Jodie was a young girl who sat next to me in my astronomy class back in High School. She was not your typical girl; she was the daughter of a wealthy dentist in town and was about as attractive as a girl her age could get. Her appearance was flawless but as her friend I knew she was a very unstable girl. She was very insecure about herself and sought the affection of another to whom she could pour her heart and life into. And to no one’s surprise, a co-captain of the varsity football team approached Heidi and asked for a date.
Jodie was in love. This boy, unlike the scrawny boy who sat next to her in astronomy class, had a body chiseled in stone. He was very popular and himself came from a wealthy family. And each day in class, Heidi would tell me how much she loved him, and for two weeks this was the routine each day in class. All she did was talk about how much she loved Kevin...how she stayed at home each night waiting for him to call. How she bought him nice gifts for no reason other than she loved him. Then one day in class, Heidi sat down beside me and didn’t say a word, which was very uncharacteristic of her. I asked if anything was wrong, and with her head still looking toward the ground she softly said, “I slept with Kevin last night.”
Not wanting to get involved in that part of her life, I remained quiet until she said, “And he broke up with me this morning.” I said, “What?” “He broke up with me this morning. He said that he no longer loves me, and now it was time to move on. He said he didn’t want to be bogged down with a steady girl friend anymore.” And then she said, “I loved him…I did everything for him. Why would he do this to me? Why didn’t he love me?”
I jokingly told Jodie that all men were pigs, except for the scrawny ones of course, but the joke didn’t seem to lift her spirits. She was hurting. She felt used, abandoned, and above all else…unloved. And of all the things to feel, unloved is perhaps the worse. One person wrote that there is no greater pain that to offer your love to someone only to have that person throw it back in your face. The pain of rejected love; it’s an awful pain.
You can see the pain in the face of a woman who has been married for twenty odd years, who sacrificed her life and career for her marriage only to have her husband fall in love with a blonde girl 15 years his younger. After all her years of loving, giving, and sacrifice she stands there with her three kids alone, and she hurts. The pain of rejected love.
You can see the pain in the face of a little boy who simply idolizes his dad. For weeks his dad has promised that come the weekend, he would take him to the ball park and teach him to hit a baseball, but just as the weekend before the little boy stands alone by the window waiting with his bat and glove. On his face a single tear falls down as he says to his mother, “Why doesn’t he want to be with me?” The pain of rejected love; it’s an awful pain.
And you can see this pain, perhaps clearest in the face of a loving God whose creation has turned away. He created mankind, sought their affection, purchased their redemption, but in return they have constantly rejected Him. They jeer Him; mock His holy name, some claiming He doesn’t even exist. Oh, the pain of rejected love.
And the greater the love, the greater the pain of the rejection. The bible says that greater love has no man than this, that he would lay down his life for a friend. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. God demonstrates His love this way, while we were yet still sinners, Christ died for the ungodly. The love that God has for His creation is unfathomable, and greater than any love we could imagine. So, with such great love as this, imagine the pain within the heart of God when His people refuse Him.
And we get a glimpse into that pain when we read, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!”
You can since in these words the broken heart of Jesus. When my mentor, Chaplain Wil Wineman, told me why he and his wife had a second child after they had had such difficulty with the first one, his response made me smile. He said that he and his wife just had so much love to give that one child simply wasn’t enough to contain it.