I opened the letter with trembling hands, at once recognizing the illustrious university logo on the front of the envelope. I had applied to their graduate program two months ago and had been reassured that all of my paperwork was in order. Why would they send me another letter? Perhaps to once again pacify my mind that they had indeed received every piece of my application? Were they inviting me to another on-campus event?
I unfolded the letter -- to find it suprisingly short. Reading it through, I understood why.
I had been rejected to their Master of Fine Arts program.
After reading their brief "thanks but no thanks" note in regards to my qualification to their establishment, I should have cried. I should have torn the letter in pieces or pounded the table with my fist. Any person would have just claim to do so. After all, in certain terms, I was a reject! But what did I do?
I skipped through the house giggling and began to cry tears of joy!
Okay, so it helped that I had just come home from church and was on a Holy Spirit high; thank God for that! But why such an unusual reaction to a seemingly upsetting piece of news ? Because I knew that I was that much closer to discovering God's great plan for my future! He had closed this door -- He had helped narrow down my options for me. And I know, eventually, He isn't just gonna open a window -- He is going to lower the drawbridge to a massive castle gate to His perfect will!
In case it was not clear, yes, I was intending to attend the MFA program at a university not too far from my house -- a private, renowned university I always ride my bike past or walk through. I wanted it so bad. I knew God had shut the door on other options I had been considering, so I figured he would want me to at least take a shot at applying for this program. So I did. I spent the $60. I spent painstaking hours collecting and refining 20 pages of poetry to create a portfolio. I wrote a lengthy essay of intent and asked a few of my professors for letters of recommendation. And God gave me such a peace through the entire ordeal. It was kind of exciting, actually.
Two months later, I have found myself $60 dollars short, my pride slightly wounded (if I'm really honest with myself), and nowhere close to having a finalized plan for my future. But though I might have every cause to feel "rejection," through it all, I have realized yet another cool reality about God:
Our rejection is often evidence of His protection.
When I reach for a chocolate chip cookie at a social gathering and my friend swats my hand away (reminding me that I am vegan and I might regret indulging in that delicious disaster), I shouldn't feel rejected -- she's trying to protect me from pain.
Or when I fell into an emotional relationship with a guy a year and a half ago, whom I was "rejected" by when he realized, after leading me on and hinting at a future relationship, that he had disobeyed the Lord by doing so -- I began to see (after wiping away the weeks of tears that had blurred my eyes) that God was indeed protecting me. Only after I came to my senses did I realize that he was not at all compatible with me, that he was not the spiritual leader I need in a relationship leading to marriage. God has someone better in mind, a far better fit for me than he was.
God, like a loving Father, will brush away our hand when we are about to touch something dangerous. He will shield us from engaging in something that will not benefit us, that is not in accordance with the perfect plan He has for us. When we endure such trying circumstances in life, we may feel tempted to call ourselves rejects. But the truth is, we are very much the opposite -- as children of God, we are blessed with belonging to a gracious Father whose desire is for our edification, our joy, our blessing -- our protection.
What a wonderful God!
I may want to feel like a failure to myself and others for not having a specific plan for the future. I may have been rejected by something stable, something that could have given me security. But this earthly rejection only drives me deeper into His heavenly protection. I now have (literally) nowhere else to go but straight into His arms. And I am, with all of my heart, so grateful for that.
After all, this is not my home. Praise God for the assurance of heaven!
Brothers and sisters in Christ, may our security and protection be found in Him and Him alone, who has great plans in store for us, earthly and heavenly -- the latter of so much greater importance!
Some verses that got me through:
"'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
"If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?"
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."
" ... being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ."
"For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come."