John 8:15 I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life…You judge me by human standards, but I do not judge anyone…Jesus made these statements while he was speaking in the Temple…But he was not arrested, because his time had not yet come.
It’s a tough time to try to traditionally publish a book. Thousands of people have been writing during the pandemic, and even the literary agents are flooded with queries, not to mention publishers. Many agents are closed to queries. I read yesterday on one literary agency site that a thousand manuscripts are being rejected for one that’s accepted. “So don’t take my no personally; don’t be discouraged; keep trying…” are the messages I’m hearing from agents as they turn down mine.
Even though I know all this, it’s hard not to take it personally, and I imagine that’s true for everyone out there who is trying to go this route to publication. Like me, they have poured an uncountable number of hours into crafting their stories or their non-fiction offerings. Like me, they feel they have a message to communicate; something that will encourage others; a light they want to shine. It feels like a part of me that’s being—yes—rejected. So, I go to bed, regroup, wake up with renewed energy, and tackle it again, in the hope of finding that one agent who will say yes.
Jesus understood rejection. In his case, it wasn’t a matter of a bruised ego; it was his life. Jewish leaders were literally out to kill him for the message he shared, contradicting their teaching that people had to earn God’s favor by correctly following a zillion rules. Jesus’s message of grace pricked holes in their balloons; it drained the power they held over people’s lives by claiming they knew what people had to do to gain acceptance, not just with God but socially as well. Judging was their modus operandi. They didn’t like Jesus saying, “No, you’ve got it all wrong. God isn’t like that! God loves you. He wants you to live freely and joyfully and lightly. Like dearly loved children. Even you, Jewish leaders who think you’ve got it all together.”
Hey, here’s a thought: those crusty, uptight, self-righteous Jewish leaders were once little children themselves. Who hurt them? What religious and social pressures formed them into censors of the world? Thinking about this, I feel Jesus’ sadness at their determination to hold on so tightly to their petty power; their preference of darkness rather than light.