‘Rejection’. What is rejection? I could provide a dictionary definition or synonyms for you, but I don’t think that is necessary. The reality is that when we read this word, for most of us on the other side of the screen, there is a feeling that niggles away, a tug of our heart strings towards a lonelier and difficult place, a memory that comes to mind or a familiarity that settles within us. While this may not be true for everyone, I do think that most of us have had an encounter with this feeling before. But how is it that rejection is related to the theme of prosperity?
In a Maverick City Music song titled ‘In the Room’, the featuring worship singer, Tasha Cobbs Leonard, shares a testimony towards the end of the song, in which she recounts the anxiety and depression she faced in 2012. Her testimony reveals an encounter with the Lord in which He met her in a dark place and revealed to her the depression from which she was suffering was “a branch off of the root of rejection” and that it was time “to get to the root” of the problem, and every single day, curse the spirit of rejection and receive the spirit of adoption. Leonard was faithful in this and had the revelation that she is never alone. A lifetime of not being alone definitely sounds prosperous to me.
John 10:11-15 (NIV) reads as follows, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So, when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. ‘I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.” This verse is so comforting when we read it, knowing that Jesus is not ‘the hired hand’ – and yet, sometimes, that is where we dwell. We find ourselves focusing on the ones who have abandoned us and run away, those who care nothing for us – and, yet, here we have Jesus declaring His commitment to lay down His life for us. In the preceding verse (John 10:10) Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” This is a prosperous love, unrivalled by any other – Jesus is not only the good shepherd laying down His own life, but He also gives us ‘life to the full’, which to me sounds like something that is not intended in half measures or small doses, but in prosperous amounts.
When I think of the word ‘prosper’, a vivid picture comes to mind of a lush and overflowing garden, thriving and blooming in full. When I think of rejection, I picture a rotting tree and barren land. This is not what the Lord wants for His children. The Lord will always receive us, even when those closest to us do not (Psalms 27:10; NIV) and He will always make a way out of the wasteland (Isaiah 43:19; NIV) or, in this instance, the rejection. However, the enemy would only love for us to stay in this place of rejection, believing we are not worthy of abundant love. In 1 Peter 5:8 we read, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” And, of course, in John 10:10 we read that same enemy is the robber who comes to kill, steal and destroy. Both of these pictures are so clear in their destruction and loss – the opposite of prosperity. We need to combat this through being alert (1 Peter 5:8) and resisting the enemy and standing firm in the faith (1 Peter 5:9). None of these actions is easy – they require us to be equipped and prepared to rebuke the lies of the enemy.
We have firm truths in the Bible, of Jesus love for us and acceptance of us, and reminding ourselves of these truths will equip us in combatting the root of rejection. Ephesians 1:4-6 (NIV) is an example of this love: “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” How incredible to remind yourself daily that you are chosen and adopted! This is a solid foundation on which to stand firm.
Adding to this, it is a worthwhile reminder that we are not alone in our heartache and experiences. Jesus faced rejection – Judas betrayed Him (Luke 22:1-6), Peter denied Him (Luke 22:54-62), guards mocked Him (Luke 22:63-65) and onlookers cheered at His abuse and crucifixion (Luke 23:35-38). Yet, while He was the living Stone, rejected by humans, He was chosen by God and precious to Him! (1 Peter 2:4-5) In our relationship with the Lord, we can bring our hardship and experiences to Him, knowing that He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7) and overcame rejection to become the Cornerstone, to unite us with the Father. We can overcome rejection too, knowing that we are living stones, built into the holy priesthood of Jesus, loved so deeply that God made a way to be united with us and Jesus gave His life to fulfil that plan. That is a prosperous love!
Friends, it is not easy to deal with hurt and rejection, but rejection does not have to stand in the way of our prosperity in the abounding, endless love and acceptance of Jesus.
Women of Reverence welcomes guest contributor Simone Allen.
Simone Allen is a wife to Michael Allen and a high-school history teacher. She is a member and deacon at Venture Church and serves in the Connect Group and Serving Team ministries.