Rejection hurts. A lot. But we get to choose whether we will hold this knife by the blade or the handle. Back in 1888, G. Campbell Morgan was one of 150 young men who applied for entrance to the Wesleyan ministry. He passed the doctrinal examinations, but then he had to preach a trial sermon.

In the large auditorium were three ministers and 75 others who came to listen. When G. Campbell Morgan stepped into the pulpit, the size of the room and the critical eyes of his audience caused him to stumble through his sermon. Two weeks later, Morgan found his name among the 105 rejected for the ministry that year.

The dejected, young preacher wired to his father one word, ‘Rejected,’ and sat down to write in his diary, “Very dark everything seems. Still, He knoweth best.”

The reply from Morgan’s father came back quickly: “Rejected on earth. Accepted in Heaven. Dad.”

Later, Morgan said about the event: “God said to me in the weeks of loneliness and darkness that followed, ‘I want you to cease making plans for yourself, and let Me plan your life.’” G. Campbell Morgan did just that, and God blessed him with a fruitful ministry.

In the midst of rejection, defeat, and loss, God’s purpose for us is always bigger than our pain. God used G. Campbell Morgan’s rejection to teach him to trust Him with his future. He may use it to teach us the same thing. Rejection often causes us to redirect our course — and we may find God has another opportunity waiting for us down the road which is even better. We may never understand all the details behind it, and it may shake us to our core because of our emotional attachment to the people or circumstances involved. Still, we can cling to the truth that God knows best.

Has rejection left you feeling discouraged? Maybe you have been rejected by a close friend or family member or by people in your own church. God knows your pain. Trust Him with your future, and follow Him faithfully to the next opportunity He sends your way.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder