"That's all very well, but how do I reconcile these opposing mindsets? On the one hand, so-called rejection from one position is really good for us, as we have greater things to anticipate. On the other hand, we are told that we should expect suffering, difficulty, and perseverance as part of being conformed to the image of Christ. Aren't these ideas contradictory?"I understand how it may seem so, but in fact they are consistent if you recognize what is really at work in the idea of "God's best for us."
It may seem like those things that we should be eager about in the face of rejection-- that God has great things, even better things in store for us-- are delightful and prosperous ends. After all, if God doesn't open the door for one position-- say, an Associate Pastor role in a small but growing church-- then that must mean that he is going to put me in a larger, faster-growing church, right? Or maybe I need to be the solo Pastor of a church that is on the verge of taking off. Whatever it is, I might assume that it will be that position which successfully launches a career as a strong and influential Pastor in my denomination.
But is that what is "best" for me-- is that what God would use for the good of me, my family, and His Kingdom?
Instead, maybe what is best for me would be to serve a small, small town/rural church that struggles to bring in enough to keep the lights on. Perhaps the key to launching a "successful" ministry is placing me somewhere to learn how to be a true shepherd, and where I can do the least damage! Maybe the very hardship and even suffering I am to expect as a Christian is what I will face as a Pastor-- and through that difficulty God will grow me into the Pastor He can truly use for ministry in His Church.
After all, isn't that what is "best" for me? That wherever I land, I be in a place where I will grow and learn to be a better Pastor-- a better shepherd, servant, leader, and counselor?
To be honest, I don't know that I would be ready for the kind of church that my pride and over-confidence suggests to my heart as a "better" church. I'm pretty sure that I would mess up more than I did good. And that's no way to get started in ministry.