Where shall I go from Your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, You are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. Psalm 139:7-10
I wonder how many of our Daily Devotioners feel truly treasured and always appreciated.
I'm sure there was a long spell in the life of Merhan Karimi Nasseri when he felt undervalued and unwanted. His name doesn't sound familiar, does it? So, as a refresher, here's his story.
Nasseri ended up in Paris after being expelled from his homeland of Iran. He flew to England, but somebody stole his refugee documents. As a result, he was refused admittance to that country and was returned to Paris. Unfortunately, without papers, Nasseri was also refused a home by the French.
Unable to move forward or backward, Nasseri stayed at Terminal 1 in the Paris airport.
He stayed there for part of 1988 and all of 1989. He was still at the airport when 1990 came and went. The same was true for 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 and part of 1999. Finally in 1999, the French authorities gave Nasseri an international travel card and a permit gave him the permission to become a Frenchman and the opportunity to travel anywhere in the world.
Surprisingly, when he was given his papers, Nasseri simply smiled and tucked the documents in his folder. He had felt so unvalued for so long, he was afraid to leave the place that had been his home for over a decade.
If I were to sit down and talk with everyone who is receiving this daily devo, I'm pretty sure many of you would be able to identify with Nasseri. That's because most of us have had moments in our lives when we felt unappreciated, unwanted, unrecognized, unapplauded and unneeded.
* There's the grandma in the nursing home whose telephone seems to be in her room merely for decoration. Her friends are gone; her family has forgotten.
* There's the student who has done great work but, as of today, has not heard from any of the first-pick colleges to which he has applied.
* How about the grade-schoolers who watch all the big parts in the school play being assigned to someone else -- the one who is never picked first on the playground -- whose artwork always seems to end up being tacked up on the out-of-the-way bulletin board?
I could go on, but I won't. It's just not necessary.
Of course, if you really wish to see Someone who was unwanted, look to the Savior. Jesus was rejected by His church, His government, His friends. His back was lashed; His head was crowned with thorns. He was stripped, spit upon, scorned and condemned. Iron nails were driven into His hands and feet.
This, Jesus endured so you might always be remembered, could always be forgiven, could be assured the Lord's love had not passed you by. You can be confident Jesus was successful because -- on the third day after He was crucified and died -- He rose from the dead. Unbelievably, unexpectedly, divinely, Jesus came back and showed to a lost and lonely world just how much God loves them.
He wants to show that to you as well.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, the world may never recognize me; even those who are closest to me may not think often of me. Still, my Savior knows and remembers. More than that, His sacrifice forgives and redeems me. For all this I give thanks in Jesus' Name Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries