By Chen Dan, United States
In May 2016, I came to the US full of hope and wanting to gain experience in my youth …
Once I got to the US, I was confronted with the issue of finding a job. I’d thought myself to be professionally experienced and highly independent, that I would adapt to any new environment no matter where I went, and that it would be a breeze to find the perfect job. Little had I realized that every job I looked at would be unsuitable for me. Later, a kind-hearted elder female friend got me a job as a waiter in a restaurant. Although I wasn’t entirely happy with it, I had to put up with it for the time being in order to provide for myself. I thought to myself: “I can keep looking for another job while I work here. If I find a job that’s suitable, then I’ll just quit this one.” After working in the restaurant for several months, however, I still hadn’t found a job that suited me. All I could do was bide my time and carry on with my job as a waiter.
It wasn’t long before the restaurant changed hands and the new owner wanted to redecorate. All the restaurant staff were temporarily put out of work, and the new owner said he would let us all know when it was time to go back to work. In the end, it got to be over a month later and I still hadn’t heard anything about the restaurant reopening. I saw that I only had enough savings to pay the next month’s rent. I felt so restless and anxious, and I just couldn’t keep on waiting like this. I thought to myself: “I’m not waiting any longer. I don’t have to work at the restaurant. It may be hard to find a job right now, but I’m young, I’m experienced, and I can do anything, whether it be civil administration, the service industry or physical work. I believe that as long as I’m willing to endure hardship, then I know I’ll find the right job!”
And so, I visited all the neighboring stores to see if any were hiring and I also looked for related information online, afraid lest I miss any chance of a job. For job postings that I thought were suitable for me, I would carefully analyze which areas and sectors looked good and which had high rates of employment, and then I would make a detailed investigation and would weigh up my chances. I would even plan everything out in my mind, deciding that I would apply to this company first, and then that company after. Although I did everything I could to prepare in my job search, what surprised me was that the hirer either said at interview that I wasn’t right for the job, or that I should go home and wait for them to be in touch. Days went by and I still hadn’t landed a job. I became so anxious that I couldn’t eat or sleep. My mind was constantly occupied by finding a job and, without me being aware of it, I became estranged from God. Because I had so far failed to find a good job, I felt very dejected, and I thought to myself: “If I can’t find a job, I won’t even be able to afford to live. Oh, what can I do?”
One day, I was just worrying about finding a job, when a colleague from the restaurant I’d worked in called me up out of the blue to tell me that a Korean restaurant was hiring. I was overjoyed to hear this news. I hung up the phone and hurried off to apply. From what I heard, the work times, the wages and all the various benefits were exactly what I’d been after, and when I spoke to the owner, I made a good impression. The interview went well, and the owner asked me to go home and wait for him to notify me about when I was to start work. When I heard him say this, I was thrilled, and I felt that I’d finally managed to land a job. To my surprise, however, the next day the owner called to say that he didn’t need anyone else. At that moment, I wanted to collapse on the floor, and I felt an inexpressible pain. I thought: “I’ve come across setback after setback in my job search. What on earth is going on here? I’m experienced and I’m willing to work hard, so why don’t these restaurants want to hire me? Even a job I’d been promised has now all come to nothing. What’s wrong with me?” I was utterly defeated and, in my pain, all I could do was to pray sincerely to God: “O God! I feel so weak right now. I’ve been trying hard to find a job but have run up against brick walls every time, and I just don’t know what’s going on. O God! I ask that You enlighten me and guide me so that I may learn the lessons I’m supposed to learn in this situation….”
I then read in: “Where you will go every day, what you will do, who or what you will encounter, what you will say, what will happen to you—can any of this be predicted? People cannot foresee all these occurrences, much less control how they develop. In life, these unforeseeable events happen all the time, and they are an everyday occurrence. These daily vicissitudes and the ways they unfold, or the patterns by which they play out, are constant reminders to humanity that nothing happens at random, that the course of development these things take, and their inevitability, cannot be shifted by human will. Every happening conveys an admonition from the Creator to mankind, and it also sends the message that human beings cannot control their own fates; at the same time every event is a rebuttal to humanity’s wild, futile ambition and desire to take its fate into its own hands” (“God Himself, the Unique III”). As I contemplated God’s words, I came to realize that the kinds of people, events and things we meet in everyday life are ruled and arranged by God; we ourselves have no way to predict them, and no way to control them. Thinking back over this time, I found that I’d always wanted to find a suitable job by relying on my own efforts and yet had always run up against brick walls, and even a job I’d been promised had all come to nothing. Only now did I understand that my failure to find a job was happening with God’s permission; God was using this situation to make me understand that man’s fate is in God’s hands, and that we human beings have no control over our own fate whatsoever. Even the kind of jobs we get in life are not up to us to decide.
I then read another passage of God’s words that said: “Maybe you are a president, or a scientist, a pastor, or an elder, but no matter how high your office, if you rely on your knowledge and ability in your undertakings, then you shall always be a failure, and shall always be bereft of the blessings of God” (“God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind”). “Yes,” I thought. “No matter what qualifications or skills we may have, or how high our prestige and position are, if we cannot magnify God in our hearts and practice in accordance with God’s words, but instead rely on our own abilities and minds in our actions, then nothing we do will ever receive God’s praise.” I thought about my job search: I’d always thought myself to be professionally experienced and highly independent, that it would be easy for me to adapt to new situations, and I was willing to endure hardships. Moreover, before I applied to any job, I made sure I was totally prepared, and so I’d thought that it would be a breeze to find the perfect job. Therefore, all the while I was looking for a job, I never sincerely relied on God, nor did I look to God or commit my job search to Him. Instead, I acted relying on my own abilities—I had been so arrogant! By looking for a job, I had come to see that, although I believed in God and verbally acknowledged God to be the Sovereign of all things and that God would make all necessary preparations, in truth, I’d had no place for God in my heart, so how could I possibly have called myself a believer? Once I’d understood these things, I wished to turn back to God and I no longer wished to live by my arrogant disposition and act as though I was in charge of everything myself. God knew what kind of job I could do and what kind of job I was suited to, and I wished only to rely on God, to commit my job search into His hands and submit to His orchestrations and arrangements.
And so, I came before God to pray: “O God, I wish to turn back to You. I wish to commit my job search into Your hands and rely sincerely on You, and I ask that You guide me….” After praying, I felt a great sense of release and I found my strength. Throughout the experiences that followed, I consciously relied on God, I entrusted Him with my difficulties and asked Him to make all necessary orchestrations and arrangements.
One day, I saw on my cell phone that a hotel was hiring for an office worker. When I saw this advert, I felt a little excited as I knew that this job would be just right for me. The next day, I said a prayer to God and then went for an interview at the hotel. The interviewer asked me some questions and I answered with confidence. In the end, the interviewer said that a few other people were coming to be interviewed for the job, and that I should go home and wait for them to get in touch. I felt so dejected when I heard him say this, and I felt it quite possible that this job would go the same way as the job at the Korean restaurant. I still wasn’t willing to give up, however, and I wanted to tell him that I was both capable and qualified to get this job. Just then, I thought of my past experiences of failure when I had always tried to act by depending on my own abilities and had been without God’s guidance, and I also thought about how everything is in God’s hands; which job was right for me and where I would work were under God’s sovereignty and control and they were not things which I could change just by relying on my own efforts. I knew I could not carry on acting blindly in reliance on my arrogant disposition, and I decided I’d best go home and wait for them to get in touch and submit to God’s guidance and arrangements. When I thought this way, I felt very peaceful and at ease.
Once I got home, I read a passage of God’s words: “All things under God’s arrangements and sovereignty obey natural laws, and if you resolve to let God arrange and dictate everything for you, you should learn to wait, you should learn to seek, you should learn to submit. This is the attitude that every person who wants to submit to God’s authority must take, the basic quality that every person who wants to accept God’s sovereignty and arrangements must possess. To hold such an attitude, to possess such a quality, you must work harder; and only thus can you enter into the true reality” (“God Himself, the Unique III”). From God’s words, I came to understand that all things are under the sovereignty of God, and that all things proceed along their natural course according to the laws predetermined by God. Since I had looked to God and committed to God my search for a job, I should therefore wait and submit to God’s rule. Though I hadn’t managed to find a job, I knew that I must not complain. I trusted that God knew what kind of job was right for me and that God made the best arrangements for me. I knew I must haveand await the time set by God, for only by doing that would I be able to witness God’s deeds. In the end, the interviewer didn’t contact me again, but I didn’t feel down about it.
A few days later, a friend gave me a call to tell me that a gift store was currently hiring, and that I should go take a look. I was so happy to hear this because I liked this kind of job and I should be able to get it based on my qualifications. I knew, however, that whether I would get this job or not would not be determined by any of these external criteria, and neither was it up to me—it was all in God’s hands. And so, I came before God and said a prayer of obedience: “O God, whether I get this job at the gift store or not is in Your hands. I am willing to submit to Your orchestrations and arrangements and, even if I don’t succeed at the interview, I still won’t complain, as I believe that Your good will is behind all things….”
On the day of the interview, I kept on praying silently in my heart, I quietened myself before God and asked God to guide every word I said. Thanks be to God, I successfully got the job that day!
When I got back home, I thought back over my experiences in looking for a job, and I felt very moved. Although my job search had had its ups and downs and I had suffered a little, I’d come to have some understanding of my arrogant disposition and I’d also come to have some true insights into God’s omnipotence and sovereignty. Through these difficulties, I also learned how to rely on God, obey God and await His arrangements, and I saw that God works in wonderful ways!
After my experiences, I came to appreciate that God is always by our side, guiding and leading us along the path ahead. As long as we can come back before God, rely on God and look to God when we encounter issues in our lives, we will surely be able to witness God’s wondrous deeds. Just assays, “Let none that wait on you be ashamed” (Psalm 25:3). Thanks be to God!
Read more on our Christian in the Workplace page, or in the recommended articles below.