“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.” 2 Tim. 2:20-21…………..
This is a true story. I know it is. Why? It’s mine. This past Thanksgiving I got rejected. Big. Not for the first time. Undoubtedly not for the last. You might think by now I’d be immune to rejection. Like it wouldn’t hurt anymore when it comes. Or be easier. Not so. It hurts every time. Big time. After decades of rejection, from being rejected by my best friend as a kid when her friend made her choose between me and her friend and she chose the other friend, to being kicked out of my family when I talked about being sexually abused as a kid, to being abandoned by two husbands, to having a Mom who despite loving me has always made everything and everyone a higher priority and then managed to squeeze me into her calendar book when everything and everyone else was addressed and taken care of, to countless other examples, I am well versed in rejection and can smell it from miles away.
Never gets easier, however. Like when this past Thanksgiving I was in a hotel room with my disabled & senior rescued dogs where I’d been staying since I’d gone out on the road full-time for ministry. Despite numerous friends, churches, and pastors knowing I was there, not a single invite came in until someone remembered me the night before the holiday and called with an invite. By that time, I knew the Lord wanted me to rest and write on the holiday. That was the easy part. The hardest part was knowing if my family had been in town, I would not have been welcome at their house. And despite my Mom knowing I was on my own for Thanksgiving, she not only didn’t find the time to call me, but when she got back into town a week later she was already too busy to acknowledge me with anything more than an email. Ouch. Yeah, it hurt. All of it has hurt. All the rejection. Every bit of it. But something has changed. Beyond measure. I’ve been blessed in the midst of it all with a realization of four things that have transpired through all the rejection:
- The more rejected I’ve been, the closer to the Lord I’ve drawn and the deeper and more beautiful my relationship with Him.
- The more I’ve been rejected and the closer I’ve drawn to Him and the deeper into study and application of His Word I’ve gone, the more He’s transformed me and grown me in His image.
- The more the rejection, the more the opportunities I’ve had to LOVE, to FORGIVE, to show MERCY, to PRAY FOR, to SHARE THE GOSPEL WITH, and to MINISTER to those who have rejected me as the Lord has led me, and the more I’ve recognized how those who hurt me need the Lord Jesus Christ just like we all do.
- The more I’ve been rejected, the more loving, compassionate, and sensitive I have become toward those who also are overlooked, neglected, rejected, abandoned, hurt, abused, etc.
Clearly the Lord has used all this rejection in my life to conform me to Himself and to use me for His glory, and I couldn’t be more humbled and blessed that through my life’s story, which has been pretty challenging for decades on end, He has reached the hearts of others to build His Kingdom of followers and to encourage His followers to love, glorify, serve and worship Him for eternity!
There’s a lesson in this for all of us, you know. No matter our life’s challenges, when we yield our hearts and lives to the Lord, giving Him free reign by His Spirit through His Word to make us into the vessels He desires us to be, He can then pour through us His Spirit to reach the world around us to build His everlasting Kingdom of those who will spend forever and ever with the greatest blessing in the universe – the Lord Jesus Christ!