The Beauty of Rejection
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
“I love girls with long hair. I mean really long hair,” my friend announced.
“Really?” I said. “But how long? Long, like down her back?” I was curious. I had to ask.
“So, you like a horse mane or something?” I said jokingly.
“No! I just think long hair is attractive,” he said, feeling a little misunderstood. No offense to you,” as he turned to look at me. “But I don’t like African American hair. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s cool and all. But I want hair that I can run my hands through. So, I could never marry a black girl.”
There was no way I could let him see the shock on my face nor the tears in my eyes. Thoughts swirled in my head. Suddenly, rejection was no longer just a familiar feeling. Rejection moved in – hanging pictures on the walls, arranging furniture, and making itself at home in my heart. Leah, the wife of Jacob, knew rejection as well. Her life can be defined as unloved, unwanted, and unfair. She was older than her sister. She wasn’t as beautiful as her sister. In fact, her husband loved her sister more! Leah spent most of her marriage trying to earn his heart. With every pregnancy, she yearned for her husband’s love. With each child, she hoped that maybe this would turn his heart towards her. Yet Jacob still loved her sister more than her. How did she live so long with a man that would never love her as much as he loved someone else? How did she look into the eyes of her children every day knowing they were not born out of love but out of hope for love? How did she live with the pain of rejection?
Although Leah was rejected by her husband, she was seen by God. At least three times in Genesis 29, we see God drawing close to Leah. “When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved (v. 31). It is because the Lord has seen my misery (v. 32). Because the Lord heard that I am not loved (v. 33). Rejection will always be at our doorstep, looking for a crack to find its way into our hearts. But in those moments, we can find strength in knowing that our God is also there. He hears us. He sees us. He is for us. When the world says “no,” our God will say “yes!” Yes, I see her. Yes, I hear her. Yes, I love her. The fact that “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalms 34:18) doesn’t make rejection easier. But like water poured out over a burning fire, the closeness of Christ gives us the strength to rise above the pain, above the ashes. Before long, just like Leah, we too can testify that with God nothing – not even one tear – is ever wasted, and that is a beautiful thing!
1.Think of a situation in your life that caused you extreme pain. How has the pain of that experience influenced your view of God and your view of others?
2.Through what lens do you usually view rejection, and why do you think that might be the case?
3.Despite all the rejection she experienced, the Bible says, “God saw Leah!” How has God shown Himself to you through the pain of rejection? How has this changed you and your relationship with the Lord?
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