After a summer peppered with rejection letters, this morning I received a rejection letter from my most promising job opportunity yet. Less than an hour after reading, “I regret to inform you we have chosen another candidate who we think is more suited for the position,” the same words crossed my inbox from another company regarding another job application.
When I informed my prayer partners of the news, one said she was inspired by my reliance upon the Lord “even in the hardest times.” That’s what struck me. I guess when you write my circumstances down like a grocery list, it is easy to deem this season of life “hard” or even the “hardest.”
Isaiah writes of God this way, “For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts,” (55:9).
The challenging circumstances God has walked me through the past few months have done one thing: they have led me to trust God MORE as I give him everything I once held dear.
When my prayer partner offered me her kind words, I laughed. Truly. I laughed because I realized this probably should be one of the hardest times for me, but I cannot even see that side of this scene because my gaze is so fixated on Christ.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God,” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
How often I have read these words, and ever more had them spoken to me, but I have never known them like I do today.
I am not alone in this walk of faith. The Spirit is the one who frees me from the devastation I cling to. The Spirit is the one who enables me to run and endure. The Spirit is the one who holds me by the hand, so I can keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, not worried about the shifting ground beneath me. The Spirit is the one who leads me in trust and deepens my belief. The Spirit is the one who consistently restores in me the joy of my salvation, so I can walk by faith through whatever judgment or condemnation comes my way, for there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are IN Christ Jesus.
In the “hardest” time, all I feel is peace, hope, faith, trust and joy unending. That is the Spirit in me. Those are absolutely gifts wrapped in his name, not mine.
So remember that one day I got rejected twice? Was that today? It was nothing in comparison to the way Jesus looks at me in love as I commit my whole heart to him once again, renewing the vows we made one Friday night long ago.
I am here to tell you the assurance Paul gives in Philippians 4:7 is not just for the guy who wrote almost the entire New Testament, it is for all of us who choose to be in love with our Maker. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”