Because no one escapes some rejection in their life, I want to share a couple of Joel Osteen’s stories as examples of how God’s uses rejection to direct us to better outcomes. Joel writes:
Too often, when we suffer some kind of rejection or disappointment, we get so discouraged that we settle right where we are. “I guess it wasn’t meant to be,” we rationalize. Or “I thought I could go out with that attractive person, but maybe I am not good looking enough.” Or “I thought I could get the promotion, but I tried and failed. Maybe I don’t have the talent.”
When disappointment or rejection knocks you down, get back up and go again. We give up too easily on our dreams. We need to understand that just as God supernaturally opens doors, sometimes God supernaturally closes doors. And when God closes a door, it’s always because He has something better coming. So just because you’ve been stopped, that’s not the time to give up. Find a different route and keep pressing forward.
Often, out of our greatest rejection comes our greatest direction.
When you come to a closed door or something doesn’t work out in your life, instead of seeing that as the end, regard that as God nudging you in a better direction. Yes, sometimes it’s uncomfortable; sometimes we may not like it. But we cannot make the mistake of just sitting back and quitting.
Back in 1959, my father was the pastor of a successful church with a thriving congregation. He had just built a beautiful new sanctuary, and my father had a bright future. About that time, my sister Lisa was born with something like cerebral palsy. Hungry for a fresh touch from God, my dad went away for a while and got alone with God. He searched the scriptures in a new way, and he began to see how God was a good God, a healing God, and that God could still perform miracles today.
My dad went back to his church and preached with a new fire, a new enthusiasm. He thought everybody would be thrilled, but the congregation’s reaction was just the opposite. They didn’t like his new message. It didn’t fit in with their tradition. After suffering much persecution, heartache, and pain, my father knew the best thing for him to do was leave that church.
Naturally, my dad was disappointed. He didn’t understand why such a thing should happen. But remember, out of rejection comes direction. When one door closes, God is about to open up a bigger and a better door.
My father went down the street to an abandoned feed store. There, He and 90 other people formed Lakewood Church on Mother’s Day, 1959. The critics said it would never last, but today, over 50 years later, Lakewood church has grown to become one of the largest churches in America and is still going strong.
I don’t believe that my father would have enjoyed the ministry he had, and I don’t believe he would have become what God created him to be, if he would have stayed in that limited environment. Here’s a key:
The dream in your heart may be bigger than the environment in which you find yourself. Sometimes you have to get out of that environment in order to see your dream fulfilled.
Consider an oak tree. If you plant it in a pot, its growth will be limited. Once its roots fill that pot, it can grow no further. The problem is not with the tree; It is with the environment. It is stifling growth. Perhaps you have bigger things in your heart than your present environment can facilitate. That’s why, at times, God will stir you out of a comfortable situation.
When you go through persecution and rejection, it’s not always because somebody doesn’t like you. Sometimes, that’s God’s way of directing you into His perfect will. He’s trying to get you to stretch to the next level. He knows you’re not going to go without a push, so He makes it uncomfortable for you to stay where you are currently. The mistake we make at times is getting negative and bitter; we focus on what didn’t work out. When we do that, we inhibit the opening of new doors.
A few years ago, Lakewood Church was trying to buy some property on which we could build a new sanctuary. We had looked for months and finally had found a wonderful 100-acre tract of land. We were so excited. However, the day we were to close the deal, it was sold to another group.
I was terribly disappointed, and I had to tell myself, “Joel, God has closed this door for a reason. He has something better in store.” Sure, I was down, and I admit that I was discouraged, but I had to shake that off and say, “no, I’m not settling here. I’m going to keep pressing forward.”
A few months later, we found another nice piece of property. It would have worked as well, but a similar series of events transpired and the owner refused to sell to us. Another disappointment. I didn’t understand it, but I said, “God, I’m trusting you. I know your ways are not my ways. This doesn’t seem right. It doesn’t seem fair. But I’m going to stay in an attitude of faith and keep expecting good things.”
Not long after that, the door to the Compaq center, a 16,000-seat sports arena, opened up in downtown Houston, right in the middle of the busiest section of the city. Then it became clear why God had closed the other doors. Had we purchased either of those properties, those choices might have kept us from God’s best.
Throughout life, we’re not always going to understand everything that happens. But we’ve got to learn to trust God. We’ve got to believe that He has us in the palm of His hand; that He is leading and guiding us, that He always has our best interests at heart.
If your feelings of rejection are deep within you, possibly caused from abuse as a child or adult, you may find the following post. including scenes from Jesus’ life, to be helpful:
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But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:7)
Become a Better You by Joel Osteen