For months, a close friend and I have been planning a week long backpacking trip into the heart of Glacier National Park. For MONTHS. I mean, we researched trails, mapped out potential paths we’d like to take, researched more on Glacier, mapped miles and campsites, determined start and stop times and drive time, figured out need for gear and meals and filled out and sent our application. Lots of time and effort, excitement and determination, all the while knowing that our application for camping in the back country could be denied.
For those who are not familiar with the system, we have to submit a planned, specific to dates and campsites, itinerary to the National Park office by a certain date. They then, beginning on a specific date, randomly process the applications they have received to determine if there is enough campsites in a given location on a give date and if your route is acceptable to them.
And my friend and I waited on the edge of our chairs everyday from the date they started processing those applications until we got the news, yesterday. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the news we were hoping for. We were denied. Bummer! (Well, we took it a little harder than that.) We were so frustrated after all the work and excitement we had put into our plan that it was so easily denied, we didn’t even have a chance to fail on our own. And we had to deal with what we faced: REJECTION.
Rejection in any form can be a tough thing to deal with. Jesus himself was rejected and denied in many forms throughout His walking days on earth. He continues to be rejected daily by people from around the world. But, it is helpful to remember how He deals with rejection.
“And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district. And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all. And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed, To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.’ And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.‘ And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips; and they were saying, ‘Is this not Joseph’s son?’And He said to them, ‘No doubt you will quote this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we heard was done at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’’ And He said, ‘Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown. But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land;and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.’ And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things;and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, He went His way.” -Luke 4:14-30
He doesn’t ignore the fact that He is being rejected, but He does not let that rejection from people define Him. It’s how we deal with rejection that is important. First, we must seek the Lord and ask for His encouragement and wisdom in the situation. Rejection is painful and disappointing. But we should make sure to not let it define us as well.
For my friend and I, it is important to figure out how we deal with our (very minor form of) rejection. So, tonight I kicked into research mode and began looking up new backpacking options! It made me excited and thrilled to be looking at my options. And after visiting with my friend, we determined to send in a second hiking literary with the hopes that one is accepted. If not, we have a backup plan. And that plan, well…it’s a surprise for both of my friends hiking with me and for you! 🙂
“Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul. I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But truly God has listened; He has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!” -Psalm 66:16-20