Living in Faith, Scripture verses, What I've Learned Lately

Moving past the pain of rejection

No longer under consideration.

The words on my computer screen were small and gray, but might has well have been bright red and flashing, as the reality behind them sank in.

Rejected. Failure. Sub-par.

I was no longer in the running for a position in another department at work – a position I thought would be fantastic, and one I believed I was completely qualified for. But I was rejected without even getting a first-round interview.


No matter how much I had prayed about the position and the application process, no matter how strongly I believed that God was in control and must have a reason for the rejection, the stark reality of those words on my computer screen still hurt. A lot.

Did Satan remind me of that hurt multiple times during the following weeks? You bet.

Did God counter that hurt with affirmations and reassurances of His own? Absolutely.

Because God is the one who comes to us in the pain of our rejection and carries us through it.

God reminded me that I applied for the job because it was a rare opportunity, not because I was unhappy with my current position. In fact, my current position held some advantages over the one I had applied for: more flexibility for working from home several days a week, a larger team to help carry the load, not being on call 24/7.

I gave myself pep talks based on common sayings that put a positive spin on rejection:

  • It’s not rejection, it’s redirection.
  • A rejection is a necessary step toward success.
  • Human rejection can be God’s divine protection.

They rang hollow in my mind. Why? Because believing there’s truth in these (and similar) statements doesn’t mean that accepting rejection is easy.

Thankfully, the Bible is full of rejection stories and verses that can help encourage us when we need help seeing beyond that hurtful “no.”

God nudged me to take another look at some of those stories and verses.

I read again about Joseph and the many times he was rejected by his family, by his superior, by his peers (Genesis 37, 39-41). Yet Joseph was able to keep believing that God had a bigger, better plan – and that everything happening to him was meant for God’s good (Genesis 50:20-21).

Hagar was rejected once she became pregnant, even though she had been following Sarai’s orders to sleep with Abram (Genesis 16). Hagar ran away, but God saw her, made promises to her, and brought her back.

Jesus Himself was rejected by His family and others all around Him (see John 1:11, John 15:18, and Mark 3:21, just to refresh your memory). He knew many people would reject Him — He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. (Isaiah 53:3) — yet He came to earth anyway. And before we start to think the rejection didn’t hurt Him because He was Jesus, we need to remember that Jesus was full God and fully man – which means His emotions were the same as ours. Rejection stung Jesus as much as it wounds us.

Other verses are scattered throughout the Bible to remind us that no matter how much rejection we might face in life, God will never reject us:

  • For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in. (Psalm 27:10 ESV)
  • Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me! (Psalm 66:20 ESV)

And one of my all-time favorites for multiple reasons:

  • “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.” (Isaiah 49:15-16 ESV)

Rejection is hard. Rejection is a reality of life. But rejection doesn’t have to define us.

God created us and He is the One who defines us and our purpose. His plan is always better, even if we can’t see how. Even when it’s hard to see past the rejection and discouragement that Satan keeps throwing at us. Even when the hurt lasts longer than we’d like.

I’m a couple years beyond that job rejection. I still believe I was qualified for the position and don’t know why I didn’t get tapped for an interview. But God knows, and that’s what counts.

Our role as Christ followers isn’t to second guess God or to tell Him what to do. Our job is to trust that He’s in control and that He wants what’s best for us, in the good and not-so-good times.

How have you found that to be true for yourself? Leave a comment below and help encourage someone else.

God is the one who comes to us in the pain of our rejection and carries us through it. #wordsofhope #encouragement #slowdownseeGod Click To Tweet Rejection is hard. Rejection is a reality of life. But rejection doesn’t have to define us. #encouragement #wordsofhope Click To Tweet

6 thoughts on “Moving past the pain of rejection”

  1. Amen Ms. Leigh. I can’t wait to see what “better thing” God has for you in the future ma’am. We don’t long-remember our rejections (although Satan certainly tries to remind us of them), but we do remember what “better thing” God had waiting for us until the right time. Often, as I’ve learned, the wait is because He is still working to prepare me for that “better thing.” God’s blessings sweet friend, and thank you for reminding us of where we need to turn when disappointment and rejection find their ways into our lives.

    1. Thank you, JD, for always encouraging us and pointing us to the One who always has our best things at heart. Sometimes the “better thing” is realizing you’re right where He wants you to be. 🙂 Blessings to you, too, sir.

  2. Your message brought back unhappy memories of rejection, several which involved jobs I applied for or advancement positions I did not receive. Like you, I knew it was part of God’s plan, but the pain of rejection still hits hard. It comforting to know that our Father loves us through the rejections. And it’s marvelous to know that He will never reject those who accept and believe. Thank you, Leigh.

    1. Those rejections do hit hard, Katherine, and sometimes still hurt even when we know they’re for the best. Fortunately, we can always turn to the One Who will never reject us and who will help us through those times. Thanks for sharing your wisdom, my friend.

  3. Your wise words bring encouragement to a heart hurting from rejection. Pointing us to Scripture shows what the true prescription is for when we face this dark emotional hole.

    1. Thank you, Barbara — and you’re right, it can be a dark, emotional hole. I’m so thankful we don’t have to stay there or attempt to climb out all on our own!

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