God has blessed me yet again this week. For the third time this spring I have been turned down for a job. That may not sound much like a blessing to many of you, but I can see God’s hand in it when I think of Psalm 118:22. While I was on one interview weekend this spring, Psalm 118 just happened to be in the suggested daily readings. After reading it, the words keep ringing in my head. ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.’ I had been in this situation before, and I could now begin to see how God was calling me.
My senior year of high school, I had my heart set on working on the 4-H Camp staff. I had been attending 4-H Camp for the previous eight summers as a camper and as a junior leader, and I could clearly see God calling me into youth camp work. All of my energy and prayers were focused into getting that job. But as you can probably guess, I became the rejected stone. I was pretty devastated. God gave me a few days to stew in my misery, and then He sent my mom to the Piggly-Wiggly to bump into my old classmate Robin. Robin said that she had just been hired as a counselor at Camp Kysoc…and that Kysoc still desperately needed male counselors. Kysoc was not the kind of camp with which I was familiar–Kysoc’s campers were children and adults with disabilities. I had very little exposure to people with disabilities, but it was a job in camping. In a whirlwind of applications and interviews, Kysoc quickly grabbed me and began to break down my images of people with physical and mental challenges. That summer I learned a lot about camping, a lot about caring for other people, and even more about myself. I became a real cornerstone in the Kysoc community and continued working there for five full summers as both a counselor and a program director. In the Kysoc community, I learned so much more than if I had just gone to the 4-H camp where I had wanted to go, and I know that God called me there for that reason.
This spring I heard God calling me to work this next year in youth ministry, and I had three programs in mind. Today, I was turned down by the last of the three. However, I am not losing faith or losing heart because God has opened two more doors to me. These are doors that I didn’t seek out myself and that I wouldn’t have really considered if one of my first three choices had come through. I really feel God working within me to push me toward these other options, and I pray that He will continue to guide me into the place that he wishes me to be.
As we are waiting for God to reveal our true calling to us, we must try to be patient and to listen to His will. When we leave everything in God’s hands, we know that each rejection is just another arrow pointing us to where God wants us. It isn’t always easy being rejected over and over again, but we must remember that He needs cornerstones in many different places. God must close some doors that are open in front of us so that we can see the paths that lay off to the side. And as we venture down these less traveled paths, we find our way back into His light.
Note: Since writing this article, I have been turned down by one more retreat ministry, but I was finally accepted by my fifth and last option. I will be spending this next year traveling around the US and Canada with REACH Youth Ministries. It has been a powerful calling and I hope that I am worthy. I thank you greatly for all your prayers and support, and I ask you to continue to pray for my ministry as I pick up my cross and proclaim the gospels over this next year.
by Chris P. Cash
May 20, 1997