“Numbers two, nine, and eleven, you have advanced to the next round. Thank you to every else for traveling in for the audition. Have a good day.”
Although I’d memorized my number, I looked at the piece of paper in my hand just to be sure.
I closed my violin case, put on my thick winter coat and boots, and turned to face the other rejected applicants. We exchanged brave smiles, murmured our sympathies to each other for one more audition dream shattered, and then parted ways in the cold winter. Even though I had known that the odds of winning the orchestral position was low, that lean percentage had been my fuel to wake up extra early to sneak in practice time before work and continue rehearsing into the night after my evening students had left. Now it felt like I had been robbed of those hours, and it placed a heavy weight on my heart.
I’m sure you’ve been there too. Maybe it was the end of a relationship or the quick dismissal of an idea meticulously planned out or not receiving a coveted invitation. No matter how many times we prepare our hearts again and again to be resilient, rejection hurts. It drives us to become defensive or introspective or both.
I found myself wondering if I had heard God correctly, if His “no” for this placement stung because my desire to share the music I loved had been a sinful and fleshly one. Moments later, I found myself angry with God. If He holds time and had known the outcome, why had He not stopped me at an earlier point when I had asked for discernment over this opportunity? How come He had not taken this desire from me if He was going to keep me from succeeding? And then guilt streamed in. This is silly – it was just an audition. God knows best, and He certainly doesn’t owe me any answers. Have more faith. But that didn’t put my heart at rest.
Finally, exhausted, one last prayer entered my mind. I envisioned myself scooping up my broken dream like shattered glass in my hands and extending my palms face up towards Jesus. Please take it from me, I don’t want to desire this more than I desire You. Can You hold this for me? Can You hold me?
Yes, He simply and promptly promised. Indeed, the very words were framed up on my living room wall:
I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
Isaiah 46:4 (NIV)
As He did, this became a prayer I whispered continually for a season. After traveling awhile down this path of surrender, I realized that I was no longer yearning for an answer or for deliverance, but that I was finding peace in praying this because I felt close to my Father and safe in His arms. Then one night in my reading, I came across this verse that conjured the same vision in my mind of exchanging brokenness for closeness:
For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
2 Corinthians 4:6-7 (NIV)
The shattered glass I had pictured transformed easily into the image of a broken jar: chipped in some places and completely cracked apart in others. Then, I realized that I was the jar itself, still and in the hands of my loving Potter. I looked up and saw with astonishment that He was actually beaming with delight that I was broken. In fact, those very cracks were what would allow the light – His Light – to shine through the opacity of the clay.
Perhaps God had not provided a negative response to a desire because it was wicked, but because what He valued more was my heart growing in closeness with Him. When I thought that maybe I needed to give up on my lifelong dream of being a violinist, He placed a familiar tune in my heart and through my fingers with an ease that made my spirit dance. God was allowing me to replant my dream – His gift to me – again, in proportion to my growing desire of intimacy with Himself.
No matter what the words of rejection were that you heard from earthly lips, lengthy or concise, recent or from a long time ago, if there is still pain, will you also allow yourself to be held in our Father’s hands? Will you experience His great mercy and love there as we are reminded that He treasures our broken pieces and delights to fill our clay jars with the Light of Life?
He treasures our broken pieces and delights to fill our clay jars with the Light of Life. -Adora Wong: Click To Tweet