Rejection is Protection

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Last week I got a text from my son: “Mom, I’m in Nairobi [Kenya]. Please pray they let me in Burundi tomorrow, I just heard they may not be issuing visas at the airort tomorrow like last year.” Well, they didn’t. He had to fly back to Nairobi to get a visa through the American embassy, a process that added days and expense to his plans. We prayed and God said no—or, more accurately, “Not yet.” Eventually he was able to get the visa, enter the central African country and visit with coffee growers.

God had closed the door for what turned out to be a few very dangerous days. When we asked Him to open the door to Kevin, He said no.

But “rejection is protection.” Kevin learned that while he was traveling and running around Nairobi trying to get his visa, murderous violence had been exploding in Burundi. It was quite possible that as an outsider, he might have been seen as a spy or an aid to opposition forces in that extremely volatile country. God’s closed door, as disappointing as it was, was His loving protection. (Which continued on my son’s trip: he flew out of Paris just hours before the Nov. 13 attacks, after which the president closed the borders and shut down international flights.)

Rejection is protection when God is sovereign. And He always is.

His “no” feels like rejection because we don’t get what we want, but there’s always a bigger story at play.

In 2002 I was invited to speak at women’s retreat in Germany and immediately said yes. “Don’t you want to pray about it?” our pastor friend asked with a smile. “Oops. Yes, I supposed I should.” So I did—and within an hour I had a strong, unmistakable unsettledness in my spirit, a lack of peace that all but shouted “NO!!!” That made absolutely no sense to me, and with deep regret I told our friend that for whatever reason, God had said no. But it made perfect sense six months later when, during the weekend of that women’s retreat, my husband was hurt in a serious car wreck. God knew I needed to be home instead of Europe. His “no” was love; His rejection was protection.

(By the way, when I was privileged to speak at that church’s retreat in 2013 and 2014, I showed a picture of my husband’s totaled car. I wanted them to see evidence of God’s loving sovereignty in play.)

My friend Ann ran for the school board in her city and lost. A wise spiritual director, helping her process the “ouch” of this disappointment, was the one who pointed out that sometimes rejection is protection. Ann tells me she has probably used that phrase a hundred times in responding to people’s stories of God’s closed doors and answers to prayer that weren’t what they wanted.

How many times have we wept over relationships that didn’t work out, only to realize later how disastrous they would have been? Or, if we were already involved with that person, we would have missed meeting and marrying our spouse?

Garth Brooks made this concept famous with his song “Unanswered Prayers,” which I would argue is a great name for a song but lousy theology because “no” and “not yet” are answers to prayer!

Rejection stinks. It always does. But it usually means protection because God is a good, good Father who’s always looking out for us.

 

This blog post originally appeared at
blogs.bible.org/engage/sue_bohlin/rejection_is_protection on November 17, 2015.

Sue Bohlin is an associate speaker/writer and webmistress for Probe Ministries. She attended the University of Illinois, and has been a Bible teacher and conference speaker for over 35 years. She is a frequent speaker for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women's Connections), and serves on the board and as a small group leader of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ-centered outreach to those dealing with unwanted homosexuality. Sue is on the Bible.org Women's Leadership Team and is a regular contributor to Bible.org's Engage Blog. She is also a professional calligrapher; but most importantly, she is the wife of Probe's Dr. Ray Bohlin and the mother of their two grown sons. Her personal website is suebohlin.com.

What is Probe?

Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.

Further information about Probe's materials and ministry may be obtained by contacting us at:

Probe Ministries
2001 W. Plano Parkway, Suite 2000
Plano TX 75075
(972) 941-4565
info@probe.org
www.probe.org

Copyright/Reproduction Limitations

This document is the sole property of Probe Ministries. It may not be altered or edited in any way. Permission is granted to use in digital or printed form so long as it is circulated without charge, and in its entirety. This document may not be repackaged in any form for sale or resale. All reproductions of this document must contain the copyright notice (i.e., Copyright 2015 Probe Ministries) and this Copyright/Limitations notice.

Sue Bohlin is an associate speaker/writer and webmistress for Probe Ministries. She attended the University of Illinois, and has been a Bible teacher and conference speaker for over 35 years. She is a frequent speaker for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women's Connections), and serves on the board and as a small group leader of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ-centered outreach to those dealing with unwanted homosexuality. Sue is on the Bible.org Women's Leadership Team and is a regular contributor to Bible.org's Engage Blog. She is also a professional calligrapher; but most importantly, she is the wife of Probe's Dr. Ray Bohlin and the mother of their two grown sons. Her personal website is suebohlin.com.

What is Probe?

Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.

Further information about Probe's materials and ministry may be obtained by contacting us at:

Probe Ministries
2001 W. Plano Parkway, Suite 2000
Plano TX 75075
(972) 941-4565
info@probe.org
www.probe.org

Copyright/Reproduction Limitations

This document is the sole property of Probe Ministries. It may not be altered or edited in any way. Permission is granted to use in digital or printed form so long as it is circulated without charge, and in its entirety. This document may not be repackaged in any form for sale or resale. All reproductions of this document must contain the copyright notice (i.e., Copyright 2015 Probe Ministries) and this Copyright/Limitations notice.

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