Tracing the Rainbow Through the Rain – Life After Rejection

by Andy Wood on July 1, 2011

in Life Currency, Love, LV Stories

You wouldn’t have wanted to trade places with George.  But bad as it was, when all was said and done, I don’t know that he’d have wanted to trade places with you, either.  Years ago George Matheson was ushered into new dimensions of faith, understanding, and intimacy with the Lord.  But the price he paid was beyond expensive.

It all began with the brutality of rejection.

George had his future shining in front of him.  He was engaged to be married, and was pursuing a career and calling in ministry.  But that bright future began to dim – literally – when George began going blind.  When his fiancé learned that the doctors gave him no hope for a cure, she ended the engagement, saying she couldn’t go through life taking care of a blind man.

I don’t know of a loneliness more devastating and bitter than that of rejection.  Matheson had to learn to do without a woman he had come to feel he couldn’t live without.  What’s more, he had to live with the piercing thoughts that taunted him incessantly:

“You deserved to be rejected.”

“You’re not worthy to be loved.”

“You will never be loved.  Who would want you?”

In spite of the pain, George continued to pursue his vision of a life in ministry.  And his grief, rather than turning into bitter resentment against the lady who caused it, was transformed.

Whatever else he was, George was no hymn writer.  But the night before his sister’s wedding, as Matheson reflected on what he had lost, but what he had gained in the love of God, he penned the words to a hymn that through the years has brought hope and comfort to broken people everywhere.  It was one of those moments, George testified later, when the words flowed so quickly that five minutes later he was done, and the lyrics have remained untouched.

The profound and simple words George wrote to O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go show how a broken, rejected man was changed by the steadfast, immovable, abundant love of God.  Read them.  Slow-ly…

O Love that wilt not let me go,

I rest my weary soul in Thee;

I give Thee back the life I owe

That in Thine ocean depths it flow

May richer, fuller be.

In his pain, Matheson found in the heart of God a love that would hold him stubbornly and firmly.  He found a place where he could rest and not feel like a burden.  He found Someone who was worthy of his total commitment and his steadfast confidence.

O Light that followest all my way,

I yield my flickering torch to Thee;

My heart restores its borrowed ray,

That in Thy sunshine’s blaze its day

May brighter, fairer be.

In our times of loneliness and rejection, we often experience confusion.  Where do I go now?  What do I do today?  But in the midst of our confusion, when our own “torch” seems to yield so little light, there is a Light that follows us – a Sun whose rays brighten the way for us.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,

I cannot close my heart to Thee;

I trace the rainbow through the rain,

And feel the promise is not vain

That morn shall tearless be.

There is a joy that seeks you through your pain.  Isn’t it tragic that so many of us close our hearts to it?  When the way seems the darkest, and the heart seems the most desolate, it’s possible to “trace the rainbow through the rain.”  And there you will find a reminder that in heaven there is no panic – only praise.   And the promise of the tearless morning soon to come.

O Cross that liftest up my head,

I dare not ask to fly from Thee;

I lay in dust life’s glory dead,

And from the ground there blossoms red

Life that shall endless be.

In the midst of our rejection there comes a reminder:  Jesus knows what it’s like.  He was the most rejected man who ever lived.  And the same Jesus who understands the pain of our rejection and loneliness also wants us to experience the transforming power of His cross.  And your rejection may well be one of the nails that hold you there.

Rejection isn’t always the final kind.  Sometimes it comes in the form of criticism or harsh words from others.  One day I ran across a verse in Proverbs that deals with the words of other people:  “The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, And a man is valued by what others say of him”  (Proverbs 27:21).

The words of others about you have the same effect as the refining pot on silver or the furnace on gold.  They purify you!  They increase your value.  Sometimes those words are positive and encouraging.  Sometimes they are negative and critical.  Sometimes they are based on the truth, and sometimes on a lie.  Sometimes they “help” and sometimes they “hurt.”  But in God’s hands, they always increase your value!

You don’t have to like rejection in order to embrace it.  Rejection may come disguised as your enemy, but in God’s hands and in His stubborn love, it can be one of your best friends and wisest teachers.

There really is a love that won’t let you go.  Ever.

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