Hardships and Trials, Uncategorized

Trusting God When Rejected

All of us have been rejected at one time or another. The question is what do we do with that rejection–will it destroy us; will it weaken our faith or strengthen it? Let me share my story. With my out-going and strong personality, I was a big change for this country church who’d hired me as their first paid youth pastor.

As with marriage, most jobs and especially church positions have a “getting-to-know-you-stage” where everyone offers a lot of grace. My grace-period lingered well into the spring and early summer like the fragrance of the orange blossoms surrounding our close-knit community.

Soon I settled into a routine, and I began inviting kids from the neighborhood to join us at youth group. I also sought ways to meet the needs of a few families living within eyesight of the church. I thought this was “what all good youth pastors do,” but that wasn’t what they thought. Little did I know, my honeymoon was nearly over. Innocently, I had pulled the pins on a few grenades that would later explode, rupturing a hole in my tiny piece of paradise.

That first summer was difficult. The youth were very close to their previous volunteer youth director. She was a wonderful person but had a different style from mine. I reasoned, she was a lot more lenient than I could be because she knew them, and they knew her. That’s hard when others expect you to follow in someone else’s steps instead of creating your own. Then there was the boundary testing all children and youth apply to a new authority figure. I just need to give them time to develop a relationship with me, I determined, trying not to get too discouraged about the constant tug-of-war.

Quickly, I realized what I thought were simple tests were actually war games of military precision aimed at my elimination. I began receiving calls from parents questioning my rules and what they saw as favoritism. They wondered why I was correcting ‘their child’ when ‘those children,’ referring to the street kids I brought in, who needed so much more discipline.

Around this time, the unhappy teens formed an alternative group, exclusive and closely guarded, meeting the same time as the church youth program. How can this happen at a church? I wondered as my isolation grew.

Mayberry, it turned out, was a great place for those who belonged, but I was an outsider with outsider ideas. For months the battles continued as I struggled to do what God sent me there to do—serve the youth and children of this community. Then, just when I thought the situation couldn’t get worse, Sunday mornings ushered in a new slight. This growing group of warrior teens refused to walk on the same sidewalk as I did or sit on the same side of the sanctuary.

Within sixteen months, my dream job had turned into a nightmare. Every day I went into my office at the church, sat at my desk, and cried. The rejection was intense, the abandonment real. Where was God? Why was He allowing this to happen to me?

Perhaps you’ve asked those same questions. As I sought answers in my Bible, it became clear that almost everyone in Scripture experienced rejection and asked God why. Jesus promised that “If you are of the world, the world will love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world will hate you” (John 15:19 ESV).

Years after this church mess, I was still struggling with pain from what I’d endured and I shared my story with an elder in my church. When I asked the rhetorical question of why God would allow this to happen to me, my wise counselor asked, “Why not you?”

I was stunned. He went on to point out that Jesus—God in the flesh—was “troubled in His spirit” as he foretold of Judas (John 13:21). Think about it. He had just washed the guy’s feet a few verses earlier, symbolizing the laying down of His life for him. Then Peter, who professed his love and commitment to Jesus more ardently than any other, rejected even an association with Him in a matter of hours. Sudden, total, heartbreaking rejection. So what made me think I would be spared? I had to admit, that was a fair question.

Then my wise counselor took me to 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 in which Paul says, “We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” Why? Because our Lord knows what rejection feels like. Jesus willingly put Himself in a place where His Father in Heaven “turned His face away” as He took our sin and hung on the cross. Why? Because he wanted to redeem us from eternal rejection.

Rejection is still difficult to handle, but now I know that while I’m suffering, I have Jesus who understands walking through it with me. He feels my pain, and he cradles my broken spirit. And I trust I will not be crushed, I may be struck down, but I will not be destroyed, and the same power that rose Christ from the dead is alive in me. I will be lifted up, and I am forever redeemed from eternal rejection because of God’s deep love and acceptance of me.

If you are feeling rejected, write out 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 and add your name into the verse like this: I _____ am hard pressed on every side, but ______ is not crushed; ______ is perplexed, but ______ is not in despair; ______ is persecuted, but _______ is not abandoned; _______ is struck down, but ______ is not destroyed.”

I challenge you the next time you ask the ‘Why’ question, dare to ask ‘Why not’ in return and allow God to heal your heart as He shows you how He will use your suffering for His glory.

2 thoughts on “Trusting God When Rejected”

  1. Peace be with you!

    To overcome is my one desire of knowing God, Father of the universe, who collects His wayward lambs but to His fold, hourly, being patient, restful, never forsaken us under any situation. He’s all of mankind, but look how His sheep respects Jim’s shameful, greedy, angry, prideful, jealous and never admitting it. If I was able, I’d find a cave, like John on Patmos, and live with our Father alone. But reality sets in knowing I’m too fragile in my physical body, now. Habits are many, as well as sins, to ask and not receive, what is going on? Dah, God’s teaching a moral lesson of trusting Him, period!!! Answers will be His, when they’re given by His Grace. I know He watches and protection isn’t the issue, the issue is why is mankind listening to our world leaders, and not GOD? Some say they are, but too many times turn on TV and see hatred, lust, greed, power, injustice and not one of our world leaders caring enough to shut up and listen for God’s instructions!!!

    More times recently, I cry to let God know I’m serious about every child I see hurting from mankind’s chaos. Mothers too unskilled to approach people in higher places of authority whom could help those mother’s of poverty, skills to overcome their fighting to feed their children, to send them to a school with Jesus as their Teacher, to open God’s beautiful world to them, other than the living in cardboard boxes, trying to feed her children of $1.25 a day. 80% of the world’s population is in extreme poverty. Recently I’ve been patiently waiting for God to open my daughter’s heart to forgiveness, so don’t hold breathing too long, decided to give this to Jesus to ask for the 41 years of not seeing my daughter, to becoming a sponsor to a 8 year old child in Tanzania, whom God picked from 120 children. Too overwhelmingly perfect to fill a big emptiness to not be overcome with such a precious person as Sarafina. But to be her sponsor is more than a letter or 5 yearly, funding for her daily needs, including Jesus as her Teacher, it takes powerful presence of God to bring happiness to Sarafina, her mother, Paulina and her aunt and grandmother, to be more adjusted to have this person of 9,100 miles away to comfort them physically, emotionally and spiritually. I trust God, period, He brought us together for His Will to be done through our love of His Son, most precious Jesus. Being unable to travel, which comes monthly through Compassion International, but health issues are too numerous and unimportant to bring more then letters and money. To receive Grace just to know she’s a real live beautiful little girl of God’s is worthy of His blessing us with knowing we’re not alone.

    I’m not a professional, I’m a very insecure 64 year old woman whom is very comfortable in her life of giving all issues, huge or small, to God daily, prayers for numerous needs of helping others with trusting in God, period, but am only accessible through Jesus. What’s that means is, I keep to myself, I do not have any Christian ” friends “, social networking is too commercial driven, political bound to up scale more prideful people than to lean forward to help the hopeless. Jesus is our only way to Salvation, in God we trust? What most Christians I’ve known are hypocritical, annoying, judgemental, prejudiced, lame in their Faith from following false ministers, going to sect churches and listening to false followings of Christ. But my trust is sound for me to be quiet, wait for Christ’s second Coming and just not open mouth to be judged literally every time.

    Caution is meaningless to approach ” believers ” when they make up as they talk.

    No person can take God out of their life until God brings them Home

  2. You are a wise woman. I am grateful you found this safe place to belong and share. May you continue to grow in faith and peace. No matter how difficult this life we have a friend in Jesus who gives us hope and joy.

    Thanks for sharing.

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