When God Says No

I was frantically looking for a job abroad, towards the last quarter of 2015. I was thinking the pay from that job will fast forward plans in life – I will be able to save up and buy a house, then settle down (You know start a family of your own). Week by week, I’ll spend more than an hour looking and applying or a job – wherever it is, as long as it is not where I currently am, I’ll apply for it. Days, weeks and even months passed by – some will straightforwardly say – my skills don’t match the job – while others will leave you with, well, no response at all (as said on their disclaimer). Until one day, someone called me, asking if I can do an initial interview, right then and there – I was so excited! This is what I have been praying for!

My interviewer was calling from the other side of the world, which made it more exciting (The farther it is from here, the better). The job being offered to me was in the country I really dreamt of working. I was saying to myself, “This is it! Do what you do best, just impress them.”. After a few days, the HR emailed me saying I did a good job on the initial interview and they wanted to give me an online exam first, after which a second interview to assess my technical skills. I then emailed back, enthusiastically, “Finally!” I said, “Someone noticed my profile out of the many.”. I passed the exam and as expected the interview came, it was with one of the team lead – it was good! I prayed and prepared for it. I restudied my materials, practice my answers on the mirror and did I say pray? I really, really, really, want this job. Though I don’t have concrete experience on some areas, the interviewer was happy with my answers which lead to another interview – this time with my soon-to-be direct lead. The interview was great as well. It felt like I really belong there, and they are already looking forward working with meAfter that, I passed the interviews but I still need to go on another one, this time with the overall company lead – I was nervous, this person is really the one to impress. This person must see my potentials. So I studied again, prayed and prepared myself. The interview came and it was perfect. I thought it was the last, but I needed to impress another person, this time the co-owner of the company itself – Wow! 

This was the craziest interview of my life! The co-owner then called me – nothing technical, just the value I can add to the company. Of course, that person was the co-owner and had to made sure I should add more value to it not to be a liability. In the middle of the interview, our dogs barked. It was humiliating: (one) I cannot ear the questions and (two) the co-owner cannot hear my answers, just dogs barking on the background. I said sorry about the incident, the co-owner said it was ok, that it was understandable. I should just wait for another communication about how I did on the interview. I knew very well, I did not pass the last one. Just when I thought I have this, thanks to our dogs my chances of getting this job was diminished to none.

From the initial interview until the last, I think it went on for at least 2 or 3 months. Because every time the interview ended, I need to wait for almost a week for the results. Waiting not knowing if I will pass or fail – every time it ended as, I’ll go and ask God to pass the barriers between me and the job I dreamt of. I prayed to God and cried out to Him (Yes, I really cried especially after the last interview with the co-owner – I’m emotional like that). I really wanted this job. I asked Him to give this job to me. Pleaded with everything that I have. And when I thought I am about to fail, not more than 12 hours after the interview with the co-owner, I was handed with a job offer saying they love to work with me. I cried, this time tears of joy. God heard my prayer, for 2-3 months of praying and praying – He finally answered. What’s amazing is that they gave me the salary more than what I was expecting – I was really happy! Fast forwarding my plans would be really possible. I praised God, everyone in the family was so happy and proud! Alas! I will be working in the country I dreamt of working since I was in high school. I passed not just 2 but 6 barriers.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” – Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)

So I then collated and passed all the papers that was needed. Again, there was some more waiting time as they need to process all the requirements for me to have a working permit on that country. I then polished all the things here, I resigned to my current company. Every week, I will follow up about the status of my working permit, they said they are still in the processing it.

Then came my last day at my current company. I was both happy and sad – sad that I am going to leave my friends and the people who mentored m, happy because I am now going to live the dream. Just when I thought everything was going as planned, just before I stepped out of the building I received an email telling me – I should not resign to my current company – as they were having problems processing my permit. I don’t know why, maybe it was because of the years of experience I had (less than 2 years of experience), or it was because the company doesn’t have that much power to get resources outside the country. I was devastated – I do not like to believe I lost the job, but deep in my heart I know it was gone. And not only that was gone, I am also officially unemployed – my attempt for a greener pasture turned out to no pasture at all.

So the HR said that it was just a “possibility”, they’ll still try. Truly I wanted to say “Try your best, my life hangs in the balance here!”, but you know I can’t. I can only go back in prayer again. I prayed hard to God, so hard because what is the purpose of passing all those exams when in the end I won’t just be accepted? I will be defeated by just mere formality? No! I won’t accept that. For days I waited. Days turned weeks. I don’t want to look for another job here in my country, I don’t want to plan any fallback because I still believe this is mine. But when weeks turned into months that’s when I knew I had to do something or else I’ll just stay at home watch TV and gain some weight. I was blessed my parents are supporting me, they even tell me no matter what happens it’s ok.

Every time I look at my email there was pounding on my chest. I was so afraid to see words “We regret to inform you…”. I took courage to ask for an update, the words “WE REGRET TO INFORM YOU…” tore my heart into pieces. What was I thinking, I said myself. If only I got content of what I had and not looked for other opportunities I would still have my job and I would be saved from the humility of telling people I’m leaving, when in reality I’m not. I was so depressed (I think this triggered my quarter life crisis, haha!) I never want to get another job anymore. I lost confidence to myself – my capabilities and all. I waited for so long, almost half a year for this and still nothing. Why would God hear all my prayers, answer them but the last one? What was His plan? Is it to hurt me? Why? Why me? He could just say No to my first prayer of passing the first interview. Why would He let me reach the last one until He could say no?

I never really understood that until last week when I was watching a sermon about Jesus Walking on Water. What stuck me was the pastor pointing about the disciples having their 2nd Semestral Boat Exam – then I realized that I too am taking my 2nd Semestral Patience Test. What happened above, was my first patience test. I now understand why God let me go through the barriers and say no at the last – it was to showcase His powers to me. The power of every prayer I made. And when He answers, He will not just answer but He will answer in abundance (as evident by the more than what I expected salary). And when we think we are to fail, He will instantly say “My child, I got you” (just when I thought our dogs killed my dream job).  I think my motivation to get this job as well, is not right – I wanted to fast forward everything God says, let’s take some time. I believe I barely (or I did not even pass) passed that first test – while waiting for almost half a year for all of the the results I was so anxious, depressed, sad and angry. I was not depending fully on Him. I was dependent on my notes, my knowledge about my craft, my communications skills – I just pray to ask and thank Him. God said no at the last because it was the perfect environment – with me having nothing but my self – no jobs, no income, no nothing – I think He wanted me to learn to depend on Him, trust in His plans.

And so, I could not let this defeat and humiliation take over me. I rested (by rest I mean cried and mourned) for about a week and looked for a job here. I was traumatized of looking a job for another country, I just left and told myself I needed to gain more experience first. Gladly, an interview came up with a very reasonable offer – and to make the already long story short, I took it. I think God placed me here for many purpose: my work schedule is really flexible I can attend church gatherings and events with ease. It provides for my family, not just myself, many times. It blessed me with Beauty. Workmates who are fun to be with. A job that I really enjoy, which challenges every bit of logic I have. As a bonus, I get to spend more time with family – connect with them than connecting online.

I needed a job to fast forward my timeline – God said slow down. Let’s savor each moment together and learn things on the way. I needed a job which pays good – He gave me one that blesses more people aside from me. I needed experience to grow professionally – He gave me a job that I love and challenges me daily. I can say I am but grateful God took away that job from me – if not I may have grown into someone who is fast-paced, not ever knowing to stop and savor the moment. I may have grown into someone who’s just so focused on money – not ever knowing when to give or share what I have. I may have grown distant – not ever knowing how to connect with my parents and siblings and found new friends, content with the use of social media to feed my longing. It was humiliating, I admit that. But seeing now, that this has transformed me and our [Jesus and I’s] relationship grew deeper – I can proudly say it was indeed a blessing.

This also paved way for my second patience test. I would like to believe God gave me another chance to learn how to be joyful in His presence and not to worry about other things in life which will eventually come. With just myself, I won’t be able to pass this second test, but with God holding my hand and directing my path – it will be hard – but deep in my heart I know this will be a fruitful one.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” – Romans 12:12 (NIV)

When God says “NO” – often times we won’t understand rationale behind it, right away. We can choose to be anxious or  be joyful and trust that His “NO” is for our own good. His “NO” is a blessing just as His “YES” is.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)

10 thoughts on “When God Says No”

  1. This is a hard lesson to learn! Thanks for sharing your story. I have a friend who reminds me, “If you were that excited about the No, think how amazing the Yes will be”

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  2. Wonderful testimony!. I do believe that God answered you in a better way in a long patience walk.. I have found out what He gives in the end is always better, when I look back..

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  3. What a lovely telling of your experience! Yes, He will often give us what we ask for – but stop us from getting the thing we truly do not need. The prodigal son was allowed to leave with his inheritance – to be able to learn his place. Israel was allowed to have a king – to remind them how much better it is when we worship God as King. Back and forth – silver being refined, pottery being formed. Learning the lesson and applying to take on that inward beauty is best gift we get from Him.

    May the Lord bless as you continue in obedience to Him!

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