Written By Charlotte Diana, Indonesia
[Part I of the writer’s testimony can be read here.]
After Papa died, we tried to get back to our normal routines. I was about to embark on my thesis in the field of clinical pharmacy, but faced my first roadblock—I didn’t have enough money to fund the thesis, and I didn’t want to ask my sister for money. This meant I might not be able to complete my thesis and graduate with a degree.
One day, as I was worrying about it, I opened the Bible and read from Isaiah 43:1-3:
“But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your stead.”
Those words reminded me of God’s deliverance of Israel. I read them again and closed my eyes to pray. I apologized to God for not trusting in Him and for forgetting His faithfulness.
I then decided to look for a job. One day, I walked past a poster advertising the position of a lecturer assistant at my campus. I decided to apply for the job. A month later, I was offered the position, and got a chance to work in courses. That provided me with money for my studies and transport.
But there were other challenges. I didn’t have any vehicle of my own, so I had to walk or take public transport to work and school. Thankfully, one of my friends offered to ferry me on his motorcycle. Knowing that I had to go to the hospital in the evening, he even accompanied me. During that time, I didn’t have a laptop to complete my thesis, and had to write it by hand. Fortunately, I was allowed to use my campus’ computer lab. When the room was occupied, some of my friends would lend me their laptop. I would then save the data onto a flash disk. Realizing that I could be inconveniencing my friends, I apologized to them one day. I was deeply touched when they said they were pleased to be able to help me.
Once again, God had paved the way for me through a difficult time. I could only bow my head and thank God for His loving kindness, given through my friends’ help and the opportunity to work.
Several months later, I lost my flash disk before I managed to print my manuscript. I was stunned and distraught. I didn’t know how to even begin retyping it. In my distress, one of my friends tried to cheer me up. He volunteered to retype everything for me. Thanks to his help, I was able to finish the manuscript and have everything ready before my final exam.
About a year after Papa died, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree. As I stood on the stage on graduation day, I saw my mother in the audience alone, without my father. She smiled at me. I remember thinking that if I could turn back time, I would ask Papa to attend and celebrate my graduation.
Things seemed to get better as the days went by. I was keen to continue my study in pharmacy, but was torn between studying and working, as my sister was the only one working in our family. On the one hand, I wanted to take a professional degree in pharmacy, because many pharmaceutical companies prefer those with professional degrees. On the other hand, I needed to work to help support the family. My mother was a housewife and my brother had not started on his higher education. If I chose to continue my study, I had to get a scholarship.
So I asked God what I should do. I brought all my considerations before Him and placed them in His hands. I asked Him to give me a heart of wisdom and show me a sign. In the meantime, I tried to get a scholarship—but kept failing. I was frustrated and afraid that I wouldn’t be able to find a job if I did not get a degree in pharmacy.
God answered my prayers through my mother. One day, Mama apologized to me for not having enough money to pay for my studies. She then asked if I wanted to help my cousin to collect data for a project. It would take three months. After some deliberation, I decided to join my cousin.
After the three months were up, I had to place my trust wholly in God’s plan again as I looked around for another job. I applied to many pharmaceutical companies and did some tests. During that time, I also prayed to Jesus and asked Him for a sign as to where I should work. If any company called me up for interviews or tests, I would take that as a sign. A few weeks later, one company called me to take further tests in Jakarta on December 11, 2012. My mother said that she would accompany me to there.
Before my trip to Jakarta, I attended a job fair in my hometown on December 6. I submitted my application letters to each of the companies. While most of them responded with a mere “thank you for submitting the application letter”, a European company—it was not a pharmaceutical company—decided to grant me an interview on the spot. At the end of it, the interviewer asked me to go to his office on December 10. As I would still be in Jakarta then, I asked if I could go on December 13 instead. Fortunately, he said yes—as long as he had not hired anyone else by then. He promised that he or his assistant would call me again to confirm the appointment.
When I reached Jakarta, something about the interview made me feel uncomfortable. I could not sleep, and started to mull over God’s will. Although I had previously asked Him for a sign and had felt that He had given me one, I did not feel comfortable or joyful about working in Jakarta. I asked with myself, “Was I wrong to ask God for a sign?”
The night before the interview, I read that day’s Our Daily Bread devotion, which was on Hosea 14:9. The author wrote that we are not smart enough to navigate life on our own. At the time, I didn’t really understand what it meant.
On the morning of the interview, I opened the Bible again. This time the reminder was to have a heart of wisdom and sensitivity to others. “What do You want from me?” I asked God in frustration.
Just before the interview, I met my uncle and his wife, who advised me how to choose something that is certain. Both of them then accompanied me to the interview.
During the interview, I was asked to hand my original degree certificate to them for safekeeping. But I said no, saying that they could not guarantee that it would be kept safe if there any accidents such as fires. I was also asked whether I would have an allergic reaction to chemicals if I was placed in a quality control department; I said yes. Finally, I was told to wait for the results of another test for the quality assurance department. I could go home and would be informed by phone if I needed to go for further tests.
At around the same time, I received a call from the interviewer from the European company. He asked me to go his office. There, I was asked if I was keen to join them. Recalling my uncle’s advice, I said yes immediately.
It’s been three years since I joined the company. Looking back on these few years, I feel truly grateful for God’s promises. When I was worried about my thesis, He reminded me of His promise to the Israelites in Isaiah 43:1–3. Even though it was a difficult period, He paved the way so I could finish my thesis and graduate in time.
In 2012, I again learned to trust His plan even though I could not see it clearly and was not getting what I want. He spoke to me through my mother and proved to me that I could get a job even though I didn’t have a professional degree in pharmacy. In fact, I am getting paid more than some of my friends who have such a degree.
While looking for a job, I also learned not to expect a sign from God. I had wanted God to give me a specific sign—if any company called me, I would take that as a sign—but God had His own way to lead me where He wanted me to go. He also showed me that He could use others to speak to me. A few months after starting work, I finally understood what the Our Daily Bread writer meant by “we are not smart enough to navigate life on our own”. God wanted me to consult others, learn from them, and “to have a heart of wisdom and sensitivity to others”.
I had always thought I would get a job in a pharmaceutical company. But God had other plans for me. He placed me in a company specializing in the service and trading of minimalistic furniture. It involves a different skill-set from what I’ve been trained in, but God is making me tap other skills I’ve learned in life to do this job. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my job these three years.
All glory be to God!