by Emily Conrad
What if, those times we feel unseen and insignificant and easy to reject, something extremely significant is happening, unbeknownst to us?
Last month, I attended the ACFW conference, a huge gathering a Christian novelists. Though conferences can be a fantastic time of learning and connecting, there’s also a lot of temptation to feel small, insignificant, and highly vulnerable to rejection.
Anyone who’s been trying to make it in writing has experienced a lot of rejection. I imagine this is the same for those pursuing any dream. And I imagine we’ve all learned that we don’t grow accustomed to the sting of rejection by simple experience.
Or maybe I should make this as personal as it is: rejection is not something I have grown comfortable with. I haven’t automatically grown a thick skin.
Instead, my experience has led me to anticipate rejection before it happens. I know all the reasons I’ve been given a No before, and I begin to believe that all those reasons will inevitably lead everyone to say No.
Going into the conference, I worried about whether I could keep my disappointment in check if/when I faced rejection. Would I break down in tears in front of an agent who said, No, thanks?
With this question still unanswered somewhere in the back of my mind, I sat in one of the conference hotel’s extravagant atriums. Not one, but at least three waterfalls gushed nearby, and the water of a fountain jumped and splashed next to me. And in this place, my Bible opened to Isaiah 49.
If you’re not immediately familiar with that chapter, consider flipping to it now–the rest of this post will make a lot more sense.
Okay, have it open?
Like the prophet in Isaiah 49:4, I wondered if I’ve labored in vain and spent my time and energy on pursuits that won’t pay off.
But Isaiah 49 is one of my favorite chapters of the Bible, because it shows a God who has not rejected us. It shows a God who named our names and chose us (vs 1).
Those times we feel unseen and insignificant and hidden away? Those aren’t by accident and they certainly are not wasted time. He’d polishing us into the arrows He’s destined us to be (vs 2). We need this to fulfill our destiny in His kingdom.
Those times we feel rejectable and rejected, He declares that His purposes for our lives cannot be thwarted (vs 3). This won’t always look glorious from our perspective. Just as verse 4 shows.
And yet, His light will go out, His salvation will reach to the end of the earth. He will use His servants for His glory, and we can have no greater aspiration. (Vs 6)
And I’ve found this to be true, as well: As we are tucked into those hiding places, we won’t go thirsty. He will lead us. He’ll guide us by streams of water.
There’s something about sitting next to a literal fountain to make the promise of verse 10 all the more powerful.
They will not be hungry or thirsty;
the sun’s oppressive heat will not beat down on them,
for one who has compassion on them will guide them;
he will lead them to springs of water.
Isaiah 49:10, NET
My God has done this for me. Jesus has done this for me. Literally that morning at the conference. Figuratively, each time I turn to Him.
Whatever rejection or acceptance I receive in writing or any other area of my life, I have not been rejected where it counts.
You have not been rejected where it counts, either. Jesus invites you to come. And if you’ve done that, then you are chosen.
Don’t mistake those times of being hidden away as rejection. They are a time of preparation, sharpening, and polishing for your true mission. At the right time, He will let you fly like the polished arrow He’s made you to be, one who will serve His purpose and bring Him glory as you were created to do.
No rejection can pluck you from His quiver of arrows. You are safe there, and shining with God-given purpose. You glint in the Son, and you will not miss His mark.
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