“It wasn’t an enemy who taunted me. If it was an enemy…then I could have endured it. But it was you, a man, my equal, my familiar friend, my companion, my closest friend, the one I trusted most, the one I walked with and worked with! We once had sweet fellowship with each other, we worshipped in unity as one” ~ Psalm 55:12-14
Rejection is hard to bear. It calls to mind this verse in Daniel 5:27 “You have been weighed on the scale and found wanting, lacking, deficient, not measuring up.” You have been chewed up and spat back out; picked up, inspected, and put back down; used up and discarded as being worthless; irredeemable; not worth having; not worth saving; unworthy in every way; not good enough…You have been weighed on the scale and found wanting, lacking, deficient, not measuring up; nothing of substance found in you; no redeeming qualities whatsoever…
Rejection takes many forms: not getting that promotion at the workplace; a parent’s approval that’s always just out of reach; a spouse serves you divorce papers; a child spurns your love; the betrayal of a friend… Psalm 55 is a Psalm of lamentation. David is lamenting the betrayal of a close friend. We see his despair in the first part, his indignation in the second, and finally his trust in God. David prays in Psalm 41:5-8 “my enemies speak with malice… my visitor speaks falsehood; he gathers slander in his heart, he goes out and spreads it abroad; All who hate me whisper against me; they imagine the worst of me…even my close friend whom I trusted, the one who shared my bread, has lifted his heel against me…”
In his message titled ‘Guilt, Shame & Rejection’ Derek Prince says: “I consider rejection to be the deepest wound of the human spirit; it’s the most terrible wound the human heart can ever experience. The breakup of a marriage is an all too common reason for rejection. A woman had given herself unreservedly to a man, only for divorce papers to turn up unannounced one day. What is such a person to experience? You’ve given yourself without reservation, you’ve done everything you can, you’ve loved perfectly or imperfectly, you’ve served, and suddenly you’re no longer wanted. Anybody that doesn’t feel rejection in that situation would have to have a very close walk with the Lord.”
Having spent the first half of this year dealing with what really was a storm in a teacup, psalms like this articulate well the emotions experienced. Rejection causes an acute kind of suffering, lodging deep into our memory, coloring our lives dull with pain, altering the way we regard ourselves, the way we see others, the way we perceive things, tainting the very fabric that crafts our genetic makeup.
As unpleasant as rejection is, and all the negative feelings it gives rise to in how we view ourselves and how deeply our esteem is damaged, getting past it requires facing it head on. we mustn’t waste the wonderful enriching experience that comes from brokenness, for God loves working with the brokenhearted. Psalm 34:18 tells us “the Lord is near the broken-hearted; He delivers those who are discouraged. Romans puts it this simply, “I loved you at your darkest.” Psalm 147:3 shows us His compassion for the emotional wounds we suffer, “He heals the broken-hearted and bandages their wounds.”
David cried out to the Lord in Psalm 55:6-8, “Oh that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and find rest. If only I could fly away from all this! If only I could run away to the place of rest and peace. I would run far away where no one could find me, escaping to a wilderness retreat. I will hurry off to hide in the higher place, into my shelter, safe from this raging storm and tempest”, such is a familiar cry frequently heard on the heels of despair and rejection. To work through it, we must face it head on, accept it, acknowledge it, weep if we must, wallow, praying about it, and finally submitting that brokenness to our Father’s altar so He can do what He does best -heal our hearts to the very core of our souls.
Thankfully, we are not without a high priest who can relate to the pain of rejection, for Christ’s life was touched by rejection at every turn. Jesus was rejected by his family members and they did not believe him (John 7:5). He was rejected by his community in Nazareth, Matthew 13:57 tells us that they took offense at him, so much that he could not perform miracles there. He faced betrayal and rejection from people that once claimed to love him -Judas betrayed him and Peter denied him- they who had fellowshipped with him…it was you, a man, my equal, my familiar friend, my companion, my closest friend, the one I trusted most, the one I walked with and worked with! We once had sweet fellowship with each other, we worshipped in unity as one… Oh yes beloved, Jesus can sympathize with us when we are betrayed and rejected. And then the ultimate rejection as he hung there dying, representing our sin nailed to the cross, God rejected His son for the sin He had become for us, so we would never have to suffer that rejection.
It seems rejection has and will always be a part of life; and as such, my Father’s word teaches us how to deal with it. God has always been faithful in gathering up broken pieces and putting them back together with his healing balm of Gilead (Jeremiah 8:22). Psalm 37:18 comforts us that “the Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Whoever forsakes us, God remains steadfast in His commitment and covenant relationship with us, like Psalm 27:10 says, “though my father and mother reject me, the Lord will receive me.”
As I let my Father write and rewrite my story, my heart abounds in love and peace as I surrender my life on His altar, dying to self and submit myself to the process of purification, the making of a disciple, an intercessor, a prayer warrior, possibly even that humbling Proverbs thirty-one wise woman -I dare hope… Though I fail and I’m guaranteed to always fall short (all our deeds of righteousness are like filthy rags – Isaiah 64:6), the fire is nonetheless burning the dross, leaving the honorable, crucibles for silver…
2 Timothy 2:20-22 tells us that “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.” Such is my desire, to be of use to my maker, and participate in the great privilege He’s accorded us by giving us a sonship and making us co-creators.
God will not reject us as we mourn a life we once knew, a future we had hoped for; as Psalm 94:14 assures us “For the Lord will not reject his people; He will never forsake his inheritance.” “What then shall we say in response to these things (such as rejection)? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31. As the ghosts of the past are laid to rest, He urges us in Isaiah 43:18-19 to “forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not perceive it, do you not see it? Indeed I am making a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” Selah