“For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,” says the Lord, who has mercy on you” Isaiah 54:10 (NLT).
Exactly two weeks had passed since the interview. My husband came in the front door with the mail in his hands, holding the letter addressed to me. My heart sank, because I knew the job offer doesn’t usually come in a letter. As I opened the envelope, the first sentence read, “Thank you for applying…the position has been filled.” At the bottom was a short, hand-written message stating how much they enjoyed meeting me and that they hoped our paths would soon cross again.
You’re never really ready for the “No” – in my opinion – especially, when it’s something you really want. The last time I remember being that nervous opening a letter was when I had received the news that I had been accepted to my College of choice. Yet, this time it felt very different. This time tears followed instead of cheers. The answer was “No.”
One of my favorite Christian authors is Lysa TerKeurst. In her book, “Uninvited,” Lysa writes about her own personal experiences with rejection. In the book, TerKeurst candidly opens up about her past issues with abandonment and struggling to find her own identity. These are two issues that I can certainly relate to. Most of my past was spent trying to fit myself into a mold based on what others’ expectations were of me. This led to years of struggling with low self esteem, which in turn led to years of fixating on other people who I thought I could “fix,” in order to not have to take a look at my own issues that needed “fixing.” One of my favorite quotes from TerKeurst’s book is this, “The mind feasts on what it focuses on. What consumes my thinking will be the making or the breaking of my identity.”
Very early on in Scripture, we meet someone who did not follow the crowd or care what others thought about him. That person was Noah. In Genesis, Chapter 6, we learn about how the people living at that time forgot about God. There was only one man and his family who worshipped God – that was Noah. God saw the evil nature of the people and decided to destroy all the living creatures “for they have filled the earth with violence” (see Genesis 6:13). But, God chose to save Noah and his family, because Noah was “righteous,” “blameless” and because, “he walked in close fellowship with God” (see Genesis 6:9b).
As the Chapter goes on, we read of God’s instructions to Noah to build a boat that is “450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high.” He then goes on to explain exactly how the boat is to be built and that Noah is to also bring a pair of every kind of animal – male and female – into the boat with him to keep alive during the flood that God will bring on to destroy every living thing that breathes. And if that isn’t enough, Noah was to also take on board enough food for his family and for all of the animals (see Genesis 6:14-21). In the very next verse we read, “So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him” Genesis 6:22 (NLT).
Talk about faith and trust in God! Noah definitely had it. He faithfully brought his family aboard that massive arc that he built according to God’s instructions. We learn that Noah was on that boat for approximately 12-1/2 months before the land was dry and the floodwaters receded. Over a year he spent waiting for God to tell him it was time for him and his family to leave the boat.
My favorite part of Noah’s story is when God places a rainbow in the clouds as a sign of his covenant with Noah and with all the earth. God says, “When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember the eternal covenant between God and every living creature on earth” Genesis 9:16 (NLT). To me, the rainbow is such a beautiful expression of God’s love for His people and it also serves as a beautiful expression of the importance God places on His promises to us.
Oh, if only I could be as obedient and as faithful as Noah! Yet, it is his story that serves as a reminder to me that when I place my faith and trust in God, I will be blessed by God.
The pain of rejection is real. It never feels good when someone tells us, “No.” But, it is so important to not let that “No” define us. Of course, I can feel sad and disappointed. I can question why they didn’t choose me and go over tons of reasons why they should have. But, it really has nothing to do with me. God has a plan. He had a plan for Noah. And he has a plan for me. I just need to remain faithful to God’s promises. Through this storm I must endure. If I can have patience and trust in God during the wait, then at the end I may look up to find a rainbow.
Heavenly Father, I am so thankful for the storms in my life. Without them, I do not change or grow. Thank you for the example that Noah shows us of the importance of walking with You. Help me to be obedient and faithful when you call me to be. Help me to not let the pain of rejection define who I am or keep me from becoming my best self – the person You desire me to be. My identity is in You and as long as I remember that I cannot get lost in the storm. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.