“God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”
–Ephesians 1:5 (NLT)

All of us long to be accepted, and we will often go to great lengths to fit in with our piers. We may buy the latest clothing styles, or we may look for a bigger house with more cars in the driveway. But we will find that looking for acceptance in that way doesn’t satisfy. It took me many years to learn that only the acceptance which comes from God will last.

I first started learning this a few months after I became a Christian. All Christians are called to be ministers in their own right, but I had experienced the divine calling to go into pastoral ministry, and I decided to prepare for it.

I had just finished seminary, and I was looking for acceptance from others instead of looking to God. My schooling meant a lot to me. In fact, I was the first member of my family to receive a college degree. I think I used intelectual pursuits as a way to feel superior.

Since I didn’t understand in the least that I was called to be a servant of those who God put in my path, I thought I was pretty hot stuff. Instead of primarily wanting to give, I looked at my vocation as a key to acceptance. Years later, I have discovered that servanthood is essential in all facets of the Christian life, but I digress.

I shudder as I remember going in to talk to the director of placement, for I was filled with pride. Due to my advanced schooling, I figured I would be asked to serve in a large church. To my horror, the director recommended that I consider volunteer work instead. I was stunned, and a whole range of emotions welled up within me. As I look back, I see that one of the strongest of these was bitterness.

I angrily told the director that I had put a lot of work into getting my degree. Why was he recommending volunteer work when I had been expecting far greater things?
After leaving his office, I asked myself why I even bothered with school in the first place. I had left my family and a good job to start college, but now it just seemed like a big waste of time.

While your story might be quite different from mine, we have all been rejected by man when we were expecting acceptance. That dark and lonely season of my life became God’s school, and I’d like to share the lessons I learned with you.

One lesson I definitely learned from our faithful God was a new brand of humility. When I left seminary I thought I was ready for the big leagues, but unbeknownst to me I was still playing in the minors. Years later, I would find out that my literal and figurative schooling had been far from finished.

Jesus used those dark years to mold and shape me with His loving hands. He began to show me what life in Him was all about, and I started to see myself as being accepted by Him. As I learned to trust in God, I found more and more opportunities to practice my ministry. I learned to see my circumstances with new eyes. I didn’t really need to be accepted by people all the time. Thanks to God’s loving sacrifice, I knew He would always love and accept me, and that made all the difference in the world.
Are you looking for acceptance in your own life? If you’re searching for man’s constant acceptance, then you’re looking in the wrong place. Our world is a very fickle one, and people won’t always give you the love and acceptance you’re longing to receive.

Only God will give you unconditional and everlasting love. God’s constant acceptance of you will give you more confidence as you go through life. Even if you lose your job or you have a disability, God’s acceptance of you will never change.

I pray that you will come to trust in this wonderful truth as you grow closer to God. If you haven’t dedicated your life to Him yet, please consider asking God to enter and rule over your life. Then God will always keep His welcoming arms open for you, no matter how the world may treat you.

Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 377 E. Chapman Ave., Suite 260, Placentia, CA 92870. Finally, check out our online store at www.amway.com/burdicksbargains. In order to support us, please register for free on our store website before purchasing anything. Thank you!

If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 641-715-3900, ext. 874157.