When He Says No

6 Dec 15, 0645hrs
My earphones were in, I was sitting on my bed in my cabin, listening “Draw Me Close” by Kutless.

“Draw me close to You
Never let me go
I’d lay it all down again
To hear You say that I’m your friend
Help me find a way
Bring me back to You”

A few seconds later, an e-mail notification popped up.

Subject: UCAS Application Status Notification
Content: Dear Mr Sutanto, something has changed on your UCAS application; please log on to UCAS to view the changes.

I immediately logged in to the UCAS portal, excited about the update. I scrolled down, and read that Imperial College London has rejected me for their 2 courses to which I applied (Chemical Engineering, and Chemical with Nuclear Engineering). It took me a while to digest what I had just seen.
Unsuccessful choices: Imperial College London
Unsuccessful choices: Imperial College London
Unsuccessful choices: Imperial College London

I didn’t even react, only stared at it for a good 30 seconds. Imperial was the school that I was betting on so dearly. The 2 schools I wanted in the UK were Cambridge and Imperial. With my results, Cambridge was a long shot and Imperial was my best bet.

The song “Draw Me Close” was still playing. I unplugged my earpiece, and closed my eyes. Is this another solid “No” like the long string of “No”s  He has given me in the past? I looked back at those past rejections.


I then stumbled upon Psalms 94.
11 The Lord knows all human plans;
    he knows that they are futile.
12 Blessed is the one you discipline, Lord,

    the one you teach from your law;
13 you grant them relief from days of trouble,

    till a pit is dug for the wicked.
14 For the Lord will not reject his people;

    he will never forsake his inheritance.”

Then I smiled, yea if not for those rejections, my growth would have been so different, different doors would have been opened and I would have been a fully different person. And more importantly, those rejections lead to these current circumstances, and all these have thought me to accept rejection. I now see rejection as a stepping stone, not a dead end. This is so cliche, right. You see it in every other facebook post or tweet about motivation. About the struggle with rejection that presently successful people has gone through in the past. I read these posts ever so often that whenever I see a title that hints towards it, I’ll just shun it. Only recently when I reflect back on the past few years that God has been teaching me to accept rejection.

Let’s get this straight. We are humans. We make plans, desires and expectations. Not all of them fall into place like how we want them. We are often rejected. It happens.

Psalms 94:14 says “For the Lord will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance.”
2 points here:
1) We are His inheritance,
2) He will not reject us.

As a believer, I personally believe that I am destined for greatness, inheritance to Jesus Christ, King of Kings. If we are not meant for greatness, who else is? When He says that we will not be rejected, greatness is still to come in our lives, just not along that path that He said “No” to. When I understood this, the phrase “Let go and let God” makes a lot more sense.
Why should we let go? Because all human plans are futile (Ps 94:11). A first-person point of view never sees the complete picture, a bird-eyes’ view does. Yeah we can plan all we want, make all the right estimated risk, but at the end, He still might say, “No, my son, not that way.”

He wants us to draw close to Him and to His plans. To lay everything down, including our worldly-inspired dreams and aspirations.

To have someone slam a door shut in your face when you were running towards it so eagerly is not an experience we would normally be content about. But if we stand firm in Him, we will soon understand that His plans are far greater than ours. When we develop these attitude towards rejection, it not only improves our well-being by eliminating the option of sulking about it, but also makes us look forward to finding out what the door He wanted us to go through instead is.


“I was sure by now God you would have reached down
And wiped our tears away,
Stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen
That it’s still raining
As the thunder rolls
I barely hear your whisper through the rain
I’m with you
And as your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
The God who gives and takes away” – Praise You in The Storm – Casting Crowns

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