“How can we sing songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?”
― Psalm 137:4 (NRSV)
REJECTION is a phenomenon steeped in power of the negative kind. Perhaps there is no greater negative power in a relational world, where acceptance and rejection prove to be opposite ends of the continuum called ‘approval’. And we don’t even need to be approval seekers to be impinged by the injustice of rejection. Indeed, rejection may even be such a felt thing as to be caused by the imaginations of our perceptions. Therefore, rejection is real when we experience it, even if the same circumstances aren’t experienced that way by others involved.
For those who were carried off to Babylon, in that ancient exile that Psalm 137 speaks to, there was the harshest of rejections to deal with: the rejection of the Lord Almighty.
Of course, we know today that the Lord will never leave us nor forsake us – that, as believers, we can never lose God’s love – but that was their experience; the worst of rejection. It was a rejection with consequences. It was a rejection where a godly people were cast into a godless land.
And rejection takes us quickly into such a land within our own minds and hearts.
Working with the Material of Rejection
What am I to do,
With rejection’s work in me?
How do I stay true,
When all I want to do is flee?
I want to accept this turn,
This turn inflicted by life,
God, show me how to learn,
From this experience of strife.
Our perceptions of rejection are the stimulus for learning so far as God is concerned. God knows of the feelings of betrayal we experience. And worse than betrayal are the feelings that we are not needed or wanted or recognised or considered.
Our counter-attack with regard to feeling rejection’s sting is our willingness and propensity to learn. As the old cliché goes, and it is a truism of life, ‘as one door slams shut, a new and better door is about to swing wide open’. It has to be our hope.
Working with the material of rejection is as much about seeing that new and better door opportunity as it is in acknowledging that the old door that’s lost is now gone. God has a good plan for our lives. Test this and then know it to be true.
Experiences of rejection are the invitation to accept, that, whilst one door is now slammed shut, another newer, fresher, brighter door is about to swing open. Look for it. Have faith in God for it. Continue to hope for it. And be patient in the meantime.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.