We will face life challenges. That is a certainty. How we face challenges is a different matter. I learnt first hand that God brings hope. Hope which allowed my faith to grow during a career challenge. This is my story with God.
I work for a global IT company. For the last 18 months, I was the Asia account manager to a well known Japanese client. In the month of February 2014, this client announced shocking news that they were planning to exit the PC industry. It was difficult news for my account team because that meant we had to search for a new role once our client exited the business.
Personally for me and my wife, it was a challenging time. I was the sole income earner for the family. I had to look for a new role, that’s for sure. Many questions crossed our minds. Do I look for something internally or externally? Do we consider relocating to greener pastures? Lots of questions, little answers.
Dependency on God’s Word
One of the key pillars that kept me going during the challenging season of transition was the Word of God. When I heard the news that my client was exiting the PC business, the Word of God reminded me in James 1:2 “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come you way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing” (NLT)
I was challenged by the Word of God to ‘look forward’ to this season of testing. Throughout the few months of job hunting, God encouraged me through many scriptures that He would take care of me. I had my difficult moments whether to believe or not because I couldn’t immediately see how things were going to pan out. My finite mind couldn’t fathom or understand where the path was leading – although I knew that He would create for me a ‘straight path’. I knew God is real, and the Word kept speaking that God would see my family through. Exactly how, and when was an unknown. What was certain was that the journey was going to be with God. I think humans like immediate answers to our challenges. Got a challenge? Find an answer – now! Skip the process, get the solution. However, I learnt the process of learning to trust God was more important. God was going to reveal His goodness to me in the season of trial.
Facing Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt
I tried for a number of roles after knowing my client’s exit announcement. Friends recommended me to roles, and I had a few conversations with head hunters as well. The responses to the jobs I applied to was a mixed bag…. some hiring managers responded, some didn’t bother responding. I had my ups and downs going through the emotions of applying and interviewing for jobs .
A breakthrough came in April. It brought hope. Whilst I applied for a particular internal role, there was a parallel request from my previous account team for a well known US based client to assist them for a quarter. My colleague who was managing the US based client was taking a short term break, and they needed someone who knew the US based client to cover the account. I had previously been account manager to that client, and it made sense to bring in someone who was familiar. I said, ‘OK’ to help out knowing I still had to secure my own job.
A few weeks later, I was invited to go to my corporate headquarters in the United States for a planning meeting. Coincidentally, HR organized interviews for me for the role I applied for during the same week that I was heading to my headquarters. Rather than doing the interviews on the telephone, I was able to arrange for face to face interviews with the hiring manager and his staff as they were based in the US. Face to face interviews are always more effective vs telephone interviews in my opinion.
Faith Arises from Hope
As I was flying off to the US, a thought came into my mind whilst I was seated on the plane. A question flashed to my mind and asked, “Ivan, do you now have hope?”. I quickly understood the question and recognized that God has used this temporary assignment to give me ‘hope’ that God can use any circumstance to work out on my behalf. After all, what was the likelihood and timing that I was asked to support my previous client whilst I applied for a new role, and then have face to face interviews set up on the same week I was travelling to my US headquarters? Impossible in my opinion. But it happened. From then on, I felt very much at rest that things were going to work out for my good.
I had multiple interviews over the next couple of weeks. I experienced much favor from God and man during the process . For example, the final interviewer told my hiring manager that he didn’t need to interview me. He quoted, “he already knew me and my capabilities”. By end of May, I was shortlisted and selected for the new role. I signed the new contract with HR with the plan to commence my new role on June 2. HR said it’s very rare for an interviewer to decline interviewing a candidate in my company, but I knew God had shown me favor.
Hebrews 11:1 “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see” (NLT)
In summary, I learnt that God creates hope. With hope, I was able to have faith and confidence that God would provide me a suitable job. Without hope as the basis, there cannot be faith. No hope, no faith. Have hope, have faith. God can use anyone, any circumstance and any situation to work things out for us. He is the one who supports us. When I finally signed my formal paperwork with HR to start my new role, I thought how great and kind God was. He brought hope in a challenging situation. In parallel, I was able to help out my previous account team during their time of need. It worked out for both parties.
As I look back, I had a deeper experience with God. I was challenged, but He organized everything. My key lessons were:
1. The Word of God provides advice during times of trial. Depending on the Word of God = depending on Jesus. Jesus is the Word (John 1:1). Without the Word to encourage us, what’s our basis to face life challenges?
2. God gives hope. Pray for the God of hope to bring hope to our situation!
3. With hope, we can have faith in God (Hebrews 11:1)
4. Watch Him deliver you
By: Ivan Chan
31 May 2014