God’s (Un)timely Provision

Posted on

2 Jun 2015


Chan Mun Pun

“I want to resign! I want to resign!” That’s probably the most common rant I entertained for the longest time. My LifeGroup and my close friends have been listening to me complaining and grumbling about my unhappiness with my job for the past 4 years. That’s a really long time to be grumbling! I had a number of reasons for wanting to leave: “So-and-so is making life difficult for me in the office; I think I’m being marginalized; I’m not getting recognized for work done; there’s no future for me in this career…” Ah…the list goes on…

At one point in time, I wanted to leave my job with the possibility of being without a job for 6 months. I did the sums: I could last 6 months on my savings. I thought, “6 months would definitely buy me enough time to find new job opportunities.” Now, looking back, that really sounds like a very bad decision and a very impulsive one!

That’s not the end of it. I regularly entertained the thought of walking into my manager’s office and throwing the letter on the table, telling him, “我不干了! I’ve had enough! I quit!” I replayed that thought with the malicious joy of watching the baffled face of my boss. In my opinion, it seemed like an excellent plan that I could execute any time I felt the need to. I had a copy of my resignation letter sitting in my bag, which I could dish out at will. Thankfully, for some reason, I didn’t do it back then or I would only live to regret it.

At the same time, I would beg my friends and LifeGroup leader to pray for a new job opening to present itself. “Yes, God will open doors that man cannot open!” I love that verse. “Pray that over me! I must have faith for it to come to pass! Then I can give thanks for it and honor God in his provision!” That sounds just about right, doesn’t it?! Except that it isn’t at all. “God will shut doors that man cannot open…” there’s actually a second part of the verse that I conveniently ignored. I was all fired up to arm-twist God into giving me something that I wanted but that I wasn’t ready to receive.

Boy, did God keep that door shut for a really long time! 4 years to be exact–with a good 1.5 years of it doing shift work. Imagine how disappointed I felt: the unearthly working hours and the drastic cut into my social life tore me to shreds. I became such an irritable person with a sour attitude towards God. I questioned God: “Did you hear my prayers? God, release me from this job so that I can serve in your ministry.” In my heart, I constantly battled this question: “Does God care at all for me?!”

Yes He did…and that was the reason that he didn’t let me go as He humbled me and did an internal surgery on my character in the past 4 years. I was actually running away from a situation and the whole routine that came up every time I encountered a problem in the workplace. I had to work out my own issues in my current workplace before I could inherit more responsibilities. If anything, disagreements in the workplace will only increase as one climbs the corporate ladder. God was not in a hurry to give me a new job: He wanted me to grow up so that He could hand me another job that I could handle well and manage responsibly.

To keep things short, I had a major issue with submission to authorities and I was very hot tempered and always triggered by disagreements in the workplace. Numerous scenarios in the office displayed this problem of mine over the 4-year period with the same recurring pattern that kept popping up.

During the last 6 months in my previous job, there was a turn of events. I was taken out of shift work and began working closely with my manager under a new portfolio. Through the opportunities created in the course of my work, I started to see things more from his point of view and honored him in the decisions made. I began having a good working relationship with my manager despite having differences in opinion. Something weird was going on! It did not just stop at my manager: it extended also to my other colleagues. One time, I had a disagreement on a work matter that got a little out of hand, but I gained the courage to apologize to my manager for having badly handled it and assured him that it would not be repeated. I had developed for my boss a new level of respect. By this time, I had stopped searching for a job as I thought that perhaps God still had plans for me here in this (previous) job.

Early this year, a job opportunity came at an unexpected time and landed right on my lap. I had a particular interest in this company and had applied to them numerous times before; it had never gotten through the first stage of being invited to an interview. This time around, however, God sent two lovely people (who ran a HR consultancy firm) to help me understand the demands of this new job and prepared me thoroughly for the interview. I can’t believe how accelerated the hiring process was compared to the situation a year back during which I was furiously submitting résumé after résumé to no effect.

I walked into my manager’s room with my heart pounding so hard I could barely stay calm. I clutched my letter and announced my resignation to my manager. The words that were shared in his room are ones I will remember and treasure for life. It was filled with encouragement and affirmation for the work I had done, which was something I thought nobody noticed nor appreciated. The deep sense of trust and honor for this man grew a huge notch. More importantly, I have this strong feeling that God kept me there (in my previous work place) all this while so that I could hear these very words. If I held on to the defiant attitude and kept griping about the negative things at the work place, I would not have been able to appreciate those precious moments in his office. It was a mark of maturity for me and in God’s perfect timing, I can now move on to the better place He has prepared for me.

This God of mine loved me enough to withhold his blessing towards me and to give me sufficient time to learn my mistakes and polish my dull spots. Though I was rebellious, He remained steadfast and faithful. He neither judged me for the mistakes I have made nor gave me the things I wanted so desperately in an instant, because he knew it would destroy me. I needed to learn patience, forgiveness and honor: valuable lessons that hold far more importance than promotions and a high paying salary.

The Lord corrects those he loves, just as parents correct the child they delight in. —- Proverbs 3:12

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