“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” – Isaiah 53:3

In high school I played on the softball team for two years. As a freshman I was on the junior varsity (JV) team, and since I had already been in Little League for several years, I was a pretty good player and got a lot of playing time. When I came back the next year as a sophomore, I had a chance to make the varsity team. Only a few sophomores were good enough to play varsity, and I was right on the edge of making the team.

At one of our last tryouts, I realized the coaches were particularly watching two of us. The other girl was a freshman who had been playing softball for nearly her entire life. It was cold and wet out on the grass where we were running drills, and both of us were working our hardest to field choppy grounders and throw them back as fast and hard as possible. I gave everything I had, but it was not good enough for the coaches. The other girl was chosen and I played JV for another year.

While competition can be good because it pushes us to do our best, it also means we will sometimes face rejection. Most of us have experienced being rejected from something—perhaps the college of our choice, a job, or even by someone we care about—and it is usually unpleasant. Even when we know the rejection was not our fault, it has the potential of leaving us feeling ashamed, unwanted, and insecure.

In the Bible, we read of how people despised and rejected our Lord. He spent His life doing good works for others, yet He was denied by His closest friends. Still today, people refuse the sacrifice He made and the salvation He offers, a rejection which must be agonizing. Because of these experiences, Jesus understands how we feel when we are told we are not good enough. He knows what we are going through, and if we take our burdens to Him, He can give comfort in a way that no one else can.

How good it is to know that God accepts us as we are! He bestows on us His wondrous love no matter what our human limitations are. He does not ask us to do things that are beyond our capabilities; all He asks is that we give Him our best. And He knows what that is because He looks on the heart! He will not turn His back on us and nothing can separate us from His love.

It might seem difficult to understand at the time, but God has a reason for everything He allows in our lives—even rejection. When we feel as though we cannot meet others’ expectations, let us focus on seeking God’s approval instead. He always understands us and will never reject us. And while the applause of man will last but for a moment, the benefits of God’s approval will be eternal!

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