|Photo courtesy Erik Thorson 2013|
“Stop trying to fit in when you were born to stand out.”
-From the movie What a Girl Wants
I've never seen this movie, but I read this quote somewhere the other day when I was feeling just a little bit left out and sorry for myself. Some days it's easy to forget that the path the Lord Jesus forged ahead of us is not a common road. For those that follow the Master, it sometimes feels like we're trudging alone across an endless desert or lurching through a bewildering jungle.
More often than not, we're lightning rods, attracting unwanted attention and controversy as we find ourselves in the midst of hair-raising storms. Getting burned is no fun.
When Jesus walked this earth, He did definitely stood out. Not in a desperate, look-at-me sort of way, like people who dress and act to attract attention. He rose above the crowd because He didn't follow them. He wasn't attuned to the loudest voice in the group. He only listened to one voice:
In the building political and ethnic tension that gripped the Middle East at His first coming, Jesus was certainly a lightning rod. The fate of humanity rested upon the decisions Jesus would make as He grew to manhood and approached Golgotha.
He could have stopped the march to the cross at any moment. He could have given in to the seduction of the devil in the wilderness. He could have refrained from raising the ire of the rulers. When the soldiers came to arrest Him at Gethsemane, He could have allowed His disciples to fight for Him. But He stopped them, saying:
"Do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father,
and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?
Jesus knew what He had to do. He had to obey His Father in heaven. That did not make Him a rebel, a hippie, or a subversive figure. It made Him an obedient Son.
Throughout history, those who have followed Him have stood out from the crowd. It has often been a painful, lonely walk. Sometimes it has been a brutal one.
But the path upward always ends at the holy city. All who long to be united with their Master will be welcomed into the new Jerusalem with open arms. The heartaches and and trials will be over. There will be no more tears, no more fears, and no more pain.
And we'll never feel left out again.