Faith to Move Forward in the Face of Rejection


By Abby McDonald, COMPEL Member and published author

“Sometimes I wish God would just give me a writing on the wall. Things would be so much easier.”

My friend’s eyes brimmed with tears as we sat at an Asian restaurant, catching up. We both faced major decisions in our lives and sat at a crossroads, filled with confusion that comes when we think God is leading us down a path, only to face numerous roadblocks.

I was in a season of rejection, and I longed for a clear sign that I should continue writing. Every time I thought the light was green, another “no” arrived in my inbox. As my friend and I sat together, we reasoned through things. 

Even without writing, I was busy. With two young kids and another on the way, I knew my family was a calling all by itself. Should I forgo writing for a later season? 

But as I thought about quitting, I knew I couldn’t. No writing on the wall or book deal appeared. As a matter of fact, another rejection email arrived shortly after our conversation. And yet, something inside propelled me forward. 

After commiserating, my friend and I encouraged each other. We spurred one another on in faith that God was working, even though we couldn’t see the outcome. Our conversation reinforced a truth God shows me as I follow him: If we desire a faith that moves our feet forward, we have to shift our focus beyond what we can see.

Often, we want a guarantee before moving forward. So instead of being obedient, we stall. We try to see the unknown or implore God for an indication that we’re not going to be left empty handed. 

Moses wanted the same type of guarantee and was bold enough to ask for it. In an earnest plea to God, he said, “Please show me your glory” (Exodus 33:18). And you know what? God delivered. He showed up in such an incredible way that Moses had to cover his face when he returned to his people.

Here’s the beautiful truth we often forget: If we are in Christ, we are living reflections of His glory. His transforming power isn’t activated from outside but within.

This isn’t an invitation to self-sufficiency. Our gifts come from the Spirit. But you know what? I think many of us are like Moses. We’re saying, “Show me your glory,” and many times, God does. But often, God wants us to exercise our faith and take the first step.

Faith is activated not by seeing but doing.

After dinner with my friend, I didn’t get the “yes” I wanted, but I received a note of encouragement. A reader shared how a blog post arrived at just the right time. Her email came on a day when I felt discouraged and gave me a push of motivation.

As I thanked God, I sensed Him saying, “Abby, you’re concerned with long-term goals, but I want you to see each reader as a person.” Convicted, I committed to praying for my readers more often.

Months later, an invitation came. An editor at a popular website wanted me to contribute to a 365-day devotional book. The offer was completely unexpected, and came when I was still wading through sleepless nights with my newborn girl. With another nudge from God, I carved out a small amount of time each day to write.

Sometimes it isn’t until we take shaky steps into the unknown that we see God’s hand move. We may question our course, but if we keep our minds fixed on what’s true, we can keep going. Even when the road gets rocky. 

A faith that propels our feet forward isn’t about the miracle in the distance. It’s about the One who directs our steps. We may only know the first step to take, but when we’re obedient, He gives us the next one. And once we take that first step, we see the course He mapped out for us. We see that He knew the way all along.

This blog post was excerpted from Shift: Changing Our Focus to See the Presence of God.  If we want to see God in the midst of our struggles, we have to change the way we look for him. Through powerful stories, biblical truths and practical application, Shift: Changing Our Focus to See the Presence of God, by Abby McDonald, will:
  • Equip you with practical ways to see evidence of God’s hand in everyday life when your prayers aren’t answered in the way you hoped.
  • Build confidence in God’s love and attributes that propels you forward instead of staying stuck and waiting for him to produce a specific sign or miracle.
  • Provide assurance that your position in Christ, although hidden, is unwavering, and does not need to be affirmed by visible accolades, likes on social media, rewards or applause.
 
Abby McDonald is the author of Shift: Changing Our Focus to See the Presence of God. She is also a speaker, wife, and mom whose work has been featured on (in)CourageFor Every MomCrosswalk, and more. Her passion is to empower women to grow in faith and hope, even when life is messy. She earned a BA in English from the University of South Carolina and teaches writing workshops both online and at conferences each year. Abby lives with her husband, three children, and mischievous lab pup in the mountains of western Maryland. You can download “The Daughter’s Manifesto” as her free gift to you and connect with her at abbymcdonald.org.
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