There is very little in this world that can make us feel worse about ourselves than online dating or the job search process. (Ok, swimsuit shopping is pretty high on the list too, but I digress.)
If you ever feel like you’re getting cocky, I suggest you give one of those a try. Trust me, it will do the trick. Rejection is an inherent part of searching for dates and for jobs. You reach out to that cute guy from Brooklyn, but he doesn’t reach back. You find the perfect job for your skills, knowledge, experience, and interests, but after the initial interview, you never hear from them again…
Rejection isn’t fun. It’s not something we actively seek out. Not like ice cream or the perfect spot on the beach. Or the Funnel Cake booth at the fair. Rejection is something we try very hard to avoid. Rejection is the root canal of life.
It’s probably of little comfort, but rejection is universal. Ask Thomas Edison, J.K. Rowling, and Abraham Lincoln. Yes, they’re all famous (and yes, two of them are dead), but they didn’t find their fame with their first attempt. Failure and rejection were their song for years before they finally got it right.
You know who else was rejected? Yup. Jesus. (Sometimes the Sunday School answer actually works!)
In Luke 4, we find Jesus headed back to His hometown to visit some friends and family, and to give the Sabbath message at his home church. It should have been a fun homecoming, but instead, it ends with His old friends and neighbors trying to toss Him off cliff to His death! Not really the kind of welcome one would expect if one were, say, the Savior of the world.
When we’re rejected, it doesn’t do a lot for our self-esteem. And if we’re rejected after praying specifically for something, it can make us question our standing with God, His goodness, and if He even hears us when we pray. It hurts deeply.
In spite of its sting, however, rejection can be a good thing. It’s so easy to think of it as punishment, as a reflection of who we are, or as God holding out on us. But if we see rejection as God’s answer to our prayers instead, we begin to see His great love and care for us:
- Rejection closes a door we were never meant to walk through.
- Rejection protects us from something that could harm us or pull us away from God.
- Rejection helps us see God’s will more clearly.
If you’ve experienced rejection or failure recently, it’s ok to grieve, and it’s even ok to be angry and hurt. (Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!) Take your grief, anger, and sadness to Jesus – He knows those feelings first hand, and He knows exactly what to do with them. Let Him hold you for a while, then thank Him for His deep love and care for you, for His protection, and for His guidance.
Don’t give up. Keep praying that God’s will would be done in your life as it is in Heaven. Keep worshipping, keep serving wherever you can, keep looking for the Funnel Cake in the fair of your life. It’s there, and when the time is right, God will make that clear.
Rejection is never the end of the story. It’s simply another chapter in the epic tale of your life that is written for your good, and God’s glory!
How has God used rejection in your life to bring you closer to Him, make you more like Christ or change your perspective?