Beginning a relationship can be difficult and may end in rejection several times before “success”. How are we as Christians supposed to handle that rejection?
If a believer is seeking the Lord in each aspect of his or her life, particularly relationships, what should he or she do with rejection?
First, rejection, often characterized by the answer “no” when asking someone on a date, etc, is not always permanent. As humans, our lives are filled with many complexities and God, in His sovereignty, has not given us the foresight to know the future. This leads us to trust Him for what we know and do not know. If we consider that the rejection may be temporal, then we should look at the complexities and situations in our lives and the lives of those we ask/pursue. First and most seriously, is there sin in our lives that makes us ineligible for God’s blessings in more than just relationships? If so, this should be dealt with immediately and not simply for the purpose of hoping God will allow the relationship to proceed.
Second, are there non-sin-related circumstances that may prompt the rejection? These conditions are not a concrete set and may entail preparation (schooling, employment, savings, etc) or may be focused on trusting the Lord more in areas of your life. A Biblical example of incorrect circumstances (though unrelated to dating or marriage) is in Judges 6:11-8:35 with Gideon and his army. Contrary to logic, the Lord rejected Gideon’s initial desires to march against Israel’s enemies. Nevertheless, the Lord directed him to wean the army to a mere 300 men, requiring complete trust in Him, and then went with them to attack. For us, that may mean that we follow the Lord’s leading to move away from that special someone for education, missions, etc and rely on the Lord to grow the relationship across the miles or even dissolve it, as He wills.
Second, if we determine that the rejection is final, how do we respond, especially if we feel that the Lord led us there in the first place? The Lord uses many situations to grow us, and though it may hurt for a time, our God, in His infinite wisdom, knows that the hard times produce the greatest fruit because we turn to Him. So what specifically can I learn from this? Even with a continued “successful” relationship, patience is one of the most recurring lessons to learn. Here we learn patience with hope in God, because He is in control and if we wait on Him, He will accomplish what is best for us and what most glorifies Him. And we must consider that this may be further singleness.
Trust is next and holds patience aloft for we are not blindly patient for what chance may bring, but we trust our Lord that He knows the end from the beginning and has an awesome plan prepared (see Romans 8:24-25). This trust extends to the realization that the Lord is sufficient to satisfy our desire for companionship. For unlike sinful humanity, He will not fluctuate nor grow fickle (Deut. 31:6,8). As trust indicates, we should dive into the sufficiency of God. He is more than enough for what we need and finding contentment in Him should actually precede a relationship anyways. If that “someday” one day comes, it will also bring disappointment and sorrow as a marriage exposes each spouse’s sin, revealed by the closeness and frequent interaction. If our trust, hope, and satisfaction are not first rooted in the Lord, we will find ourselves looking elsewhere when that spouse/special someone lets us down and “sin crouches at the door” to ensnare us (Gen. 4:7).
Guarding Our Hearts
Finally, we must learn to guard our hearts. Physical intimacy is not the only part of yourself that can be lost in a failed or aborted relationship. Emotional intimacy — giving of your heart, hopes, emotions, etc — can be equally or more painful as you trusted the other person with your future, your love, and your hope and now find that investment lost. If we strive to keep our priorities straight and maintain Christ as our first love (Rev. 2:4), focus on knowing Christ as our primary hope, and set Him as the Lord of our futures, then we have less risk of a compromised heart since He holds everything.
Our hearts are His. Seek Him exhaustively before giving them away. He may have someone with whom to share your entire being, but until He makes it clear and seals it with marriage, be cautious and sanctify your heart, life, and love to Christ alone.
(c) 2003 Veritas Road