One truth shared: Part of being human means facing rejection. It can be crushing. We see that is especially true for Jesus this Lenten season. The result for us is spectacular, God promises to never leave us or forsake us.
This is what the Lord says—
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!”
Human Rejection Is Crushed by Divine Exaltation
We’d been friends ever since high school. We saw each other every day, got coffee every morning, and went to dinner at least once a week. Sometimes I would pay, and sometimes she would pay. I thought this would be a fantastic relationship, but I knew she didn’t really know how I felt. So, I made a plan. I went out and bought tickets to a show and asked if she would go. She seemed very excited until the moment I finished the question with “as my date.” There was an eternal two second pause before she said “…no.”
In my head, I saw this whole scene going very differently.
Rejection feels awful especially when you’re on the receiving end. Can you imagine when it happens to an entire nation? Today’s Word of God was to a nation who felt rejected by God. Israel was held in captivity twice. The first time was in Egypt—through no fault of their own. The second time was in Babylon as a result of their rejection of God.
God is no stranger to rejection. Think about Jesus on the cross. He cried out, “My God, why have you forsaken me?” God turns his back on his loved Son when Jesus needed him most. As Jesus dies, we see all of God’s anger against us poured out on him. We see our best friend rejected for what we should have done.
Rejection hurts. God has a message for those who are hurting because of rejection. “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!” Maybe that sounds “fluffy,” but it’s actually bigger than just “sorry you got rejected.” Or “God has something/someone better in store for you around the corner.” God doesn’t promise blue skies and flower-strewn pathways throughout life. He promises strength to get through your fragile moments. “He says, “I’m doing a new thing” for you. It’s a promise to never leave you or forsake you. And no matter who rejects us, he accepts us. He has chosen us. It’s iron-clad too! Just as Jesus was raised on the third day, you were raised with him through your baptism and marked as a child of God. Your identity as part of God’s family makes you incredibly valuable to him.
Jesus faced rejection in his life. So will you. Yes, it is painful, but God promises a way through it to something far better. “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13,14).
Prayer: Gracious and almighty Lord, you were rejected but became the cornerstone. Help me to build my life on you. When I face rejection, remind me of your grace and the calling you have given me. When I fall, forgive me because of your Son. Be my strength and my confidence. Amen.