A Calling to Africa God Seemed to Reject ~ A Painful Saga, Part 1

Called Upper Volta then, but is now Burkina Faso

Called Upper Volta then, but is now Burkina Faso

Just before I married my husband, I joked with him that he would never have to live up to the memory of a former boyfriend of mine; rather, he would live in the shadow of a continent I loved.  Africa.

My Calling to Africa

My love for Africa resulted from an extended stay in West Africa, living on the edge of the Sahara Desert with a missionary family I knew.  From the moment I arrived, I knew that I must return one day as a nurse.   

While there, the extent of impoverished people, in need of physical and spiritual help, overwhelmed me.  It was seeing the sick and hurting children, though, that really broke my heart. 

When with sadness my time in Africa ended, I knew that I had found my calling.  I had it all figured out.  I was a young, single, and willing nurse.  All I needed to do was to find the path God wanted me to take in returning.

God’s Seeming Rejection of My Calling

Unfortunately, during a full year of praying and searching for the right opportunity, God remained silent as He closed every door.  He very clearly said no.  Crushed and confused, I spent the next several years convinced that for some reason I was not good enough to serve as a missionary.  The enemy tried to convince me that God had rejected me. 

Over time, however, I came to realize that this was not so.  I had wanted to work in Africa, but it was not God’s calling.  He taught me that not everyone must go; some instead serve in other ways.  Quite simply, what I thought was a calling was really only something I wanted to do, and not God’s plan for my life.

When God closes a door, He opens another. 

That is exactly what He did.  An opportunity opened for me to move to Colorado.  In need of a change, I jumped at the offer.  It was there that I began dating the man who is now my husband.

Learning God’s Ways Are Best

While in Africa, I thought I was strong enough to conquer the world.  I know now that my health would never have survived living overseas in remote conditions.  God knew what was ultimately best for me.  I thought I needed Africa, but He knew that I needed the support of a strong and loving husband.

A souvenir from my trip

A souvenir from my trip

I have long since made peace over my painful Africa ordeal.  Deep down, I still long to go and have tried on many occasions to take other short-term mission trips; each time God says no.  I suppose it is because it would still hurt to leave, but it is also unlikely that I would endure the physical demands of such a trip.

Have any of you ever felt as though God rejected you?  Or that because of past failures, you are not good enough to serve Him? 

I urge you to let it all go at the foot of the cross.  God has a unique purpose for each of us and He alone knows what that entails.  Begin living for the Lord right where you are.  He will direct your steps in a way that is pleasing to Him.

In my next posting of A Painful Saga, I will share about my physical pain journey.  Of how God is bringing back my health.


27 thoughts on “A Calling to Africa God Seemed to Reject ~ A Painful Saga, Part 1

  1. Karina Susanto

    The Biggest God’s rejection on me is when i am trying to reject my parents wishes to not take a school in business major. I really disappointed. Well it is long story. But the brief story, later finally I know that God has a purpose to me. Indeed, through the business world I am able to shows others how to runs business in the Christian
    perspective. How to run business in

    God’s path. Well you know that run
    business in many countries especially
    in asia is very hard and often seems
    So cruel. ( I experienced in this month).Well sis Sue, this just sharing about God’s rejection. God’s will work amazingly through His rejection.

    1. heavenlyraindrops Post author

      Karina, you will never know what a testimony your life is to others. Your obedience to your parents is a testimony. Allowing one’s parents to guide a career path is almost unheard of among young people in our American culture, or obedience in general. Yet, God gave us our parents as those who know us better than anyone else. Your life is a shining example of surrender to Him, and of God-honoring obedience to your parents, Karina. I continue to pray for you, that this experience at work will strengthen you to be His Light in the business world there in Asia. You already are that to bloggers!

      1. Karina Susanto

        Thank you for your praying sis!. Well I know right now I am on testing by God. How far I always count on Him and and how deep I trust and obey to God. But still I feltk God’ s love and blessing within my problem now 🙂 thank you so much. You are such a great sissy! God will always bless your life. Amen.

  2. Elizabeth Ampong

    I am from West Africa and wish you had been there, but God’s will is ALWAYS the best. As hard as it might sometimes seem, it still pays to be led by the spirit. He is the only one who has a surety of the future. What we see in the future are mere forecasts & predictions. But God knows the end from the beginning. I’m glad you obeyed Him. Thanks for sharing. I wish you all the best.

  3. Jane Bridges

    Have any of you ever felt as though God rejected you? Or that because of past failures, you are not good enough to serve Him? YES, I thought I was to be a missionary in China and when I started the process I was stopped by the denomination that I was going to be going through because I had a gift that they didn’t understand. I was crushed and I too through I was not GOOD ENOUGH for God to use me or that He also didn’t WANT to use me. I have since realized like you that He had other plans for my life. My heart is still so full of love for the Chinese people and I have been there 3 times on short term trips but that is NOT where God wanted me or I would have been there. God knows the plan that He has for us and one of these days I KNOW He is going to let me in on it!! Thanks for sharing!! Be Blessed!!

  4. Rene Yoshi

    While I have never felt rejected by God, I have felt temporarily abandoned and confused. I have felt not good enough for God to use because of sin, and I know others have felt the same even though it isn’t true. Although sin may hinder our being used, and depending on the sin, may change the way God uses us, but God never rejects us. Like the Father in the parable of the prodigal son, He waits to restore us. Amazing grace…

  5. adaisygarden

    Sue, I was a Missions major in college, felt called when I was 14… back then, I didn’t know for sure I would serve overseas, but I knew I’d be in full-time service. However, God had other plans for me and I had to give up the mission field. It was very difficult and for years I’d cry whenever we had our Missions Conference (an annual event in our denomination). I thought staying home (in the USA) was not as important as going overseas. God taught me that was not so. Surrendering my plans and dreams was not easy. That was many years ago, and now with the blessing of hind-sight, I understand that God had a plan all along. My husband & I have been in full-time ministry for almost 30 years and while it hasn’t been an easy road, God has used us to reach others and I see that He knew best (that’s an understatement!)… “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” Isa. 55:8 Knowing that He loves me more than I can comprehend, assures me that His plans are better than mine. Like you, I realize that He knew better; after all, He is God and I am not. 🙂

    1. heavenlyraindrops Post author

      I appreciate very much you sharing your story. Like with so many matters, we are never alone in how we suffer and God always cares. It took me a long time to get over the hurt, too, and I found that others who did not have that longing to serve overseas just could not comprehend why I even wanted to go. Thanks for validating that my hurt was real! And yes, God’s ways were and are best! Blessings for giving so much of your lives in ministry!

  6. Toni Sprandel

    Sue, I am so sorry you never got back to Africa. I know you would have made a huge impact there. But as you say, “God has a unique purpose for each of us and He alone knows what that entails. Begin living for the Lord right where you are. He will direct your steps in a way that is pleasing to Him.” 🙂

  7. Shelly

    Sue, what a powerful testimony of God’s love and plans for your life. It is easy for us to think we know what HIs plans are, only to discover they are our plans. I was happily serving in youth ministry when the Lord called our family to the Middle East for my husband’s job. It was hard to leave behind friends, family and ministry. I didn’t know what God’s plan was only that we were supposed to go. I was obedient in going but was worried about what I would do when I got there. LIttle did I know God had a whole new ministry for me to be involved in while living in Doha, Qatar. I was part of an amazing group of women who began a women’s ministry. It was in Doha where God called me to speak at women’s retreats and conferences. His plans are always for the best. Thanks for sharing your story!

  8. Shofar

    From seeing your gravatar pictures one can never know a person’s trials and testings and burdens of their hearts. I thank God for you and Karina for sharing your testimonies of challenges in your lives. Your steadfast faith in God has encouraged many with their own problems and show them that they, too can trust God and be victorious in His love and care. God bless you!

    1. heavenlyraindrops Post author

      Your kind words have blessed me so much today. I hesitated even sharing this story because I didn’t want to seem whiny or complain, but knowing it brings encouragement to others makes it worth telling. Thanks very much.


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