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God’s Unexpected Plan in My Failed Job-Hunt

Written By Aryanto Wijaya, Indonesia, originally in Bahasa Indonesia

I have dreamed of becoming a journalist since entering college. My love for writing and travelling were my primary reasons for choosing the journalism course.

But as graduation drew near, I was torn between two choices: passion or salary? It was a tough decision, especially since the salary of a journalist in the city of Yogyakarta was average. After some thought, I chose the latter. To get a job with a high salary, I would have to work at a big company, I thought to myself.

In the first week after my thesis defence, I went to a job fair in the nearby city of Surakarta. Loaded with 30 copies of my resume, I rode my motorcycle from Yogyakarta in high spirits. But my optimism faded when I realized that none of the jobs offered interested me. Most of the companies at the job fair only offered marketing positions.

I wasn’t going to give up yet. I joined a LINE chat group that consisted of hundreds of job-seekers; we got updates of job offers and job fairs every single day. Still, nothing piqued my interest.  A week after the first job fair, I went to another one. There were two national-scale companies that interested me this time. I sent my resume to both companies, hoping to pass the initial rounds of selection.

The first one was a cigarette company. Even though it was a large company, I was hesitant about working there because I did not smoke. But I went ahead to try for the job. Though I passed the initial administrative phase, I failed the next day during the personality test. Among 300 candidates, only 75 passed the personality test.

Still, I was not discouraged. I prepared myself for another personality test with the second company. But again, I failed. As some of my friends who had come along with me also failed, I was not overly disappointed.

When the job fairs didn’t work out, I also tried applying for jobs online. Though I applied to five different companies, none of them got back to me.

 

Reconsidering my reason and purpose

Truth be told, these failures did not really disappoint me. Instead, they got me thinking hard about my reason and purpose for working. Do I just work for money? Is it pride that makes me look for big companies? Don’t I want to develop all the journalism skills and knowledge that I acquired in college in my work?

Some weeks later, I saw a job posting for an editor of a website managed by a non-profit organization in Jakarta. I was interested because even though the position offered was not my dream job, it was still closely related to journalism. But I was a little hesitant because I was still hoping I could work in a big company that would give me a high salary. So, I applied to another famous company—even though the position that I applied for was not related to journalism. At the back of my mind, I really hoped that I would be accepted to work there.

But the thought of applying to the non-profit organization lingered in my mind. So I decided to take some time off to order my thoughts and visit a friend who lived a bit further out. I prayed, asking God to give me a clue about what should I do. Every time I prayed, my heart pushed me to apply for the position of editor in that non-profit organization. I asked my friend, and he told me to do it, since I had nothing to lose anyway.

Eventually, I applied to the non-profit organization and went through the recruitment process. A week later, I received two e-mails on the same day. To my surprise, both the famous company and the non-profit organization wanted me to go to Jakarta the next day for a follow-up interview.

Just a few months earlier, I had been worried that I would not get a job. Suddenly, I had two interviews and I was confused because I was going to have to pick one out of the two choices. Afraid of making a wrong decision, I prayed again and again, and also asked my friends for advice. Eventually, I decided that I would pick whoever accepted me first—as long as the salary was high enough to cover my necessary expenses.

I went to Jakarta the next morning. After the interview, the non-profit organization offered me the position of web editor and I accepted the job offer—just as I had decided on the previous day. I then sent an e-mail to the other company to cancel the interview and apologize.

 

Rejoicing in my role as an editor

After I accepted the job offer as an editor, I stopped looking for other jobs. I also left the LINE group chat. As the reality of starting work set in, I began to feel afraid. Would I be able to adjust to my new environment? Would I be able to do well in my job? But I remembered the verse, “Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34b). I prayed that day after day, I would grow in my obedience to God.

The first month of working as an editor was challenging. Besides adapting to a new environment, I also needed to learn from scratch all that I knew about editing. The knowledge that I had acquired from college was not enough to help me fulfil all the aspects of my job which comprised editing, writing and networking with contributors.

As an editor, I receive articles by contributors from various parts of Indonesia every day. Each article is unique. Some are about the writer’s opinions, and others are about their life experiences. Among the many writers, a few stood out. There was one who went through many accidents in life, but never gave up and was still able to say that God was good. There was another who shared the heart-breaking story of how her relationship ended without any clear reason. There was even a 71-year-old woman who shared her testimony about her physical condition and blurred vision.

Reading these articles brought me a lot of joy and motivation and convinced me that God is the one who prepared this job for me. It has been seven months since I first started my job and I really enjoy the experience so far.

I used to think that an ideal job was a job that paid well. I thought that a high salary could give me happiness because I could then buy anything I wanted and travel to new places that I haven’t visited. But my current job as an editor has changed my perspective.

With my current salary, I can meet my daily needs, support my parents’ life, and travel around Java Island. I am also able to save some of my money. But more than just working to earn money, I work so that I can glorify God, just as Paul said, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” (Colossians 3: 23).

As a recent graduate, I still have hopes to continue my studies one day, but I believe that my current task is to give my all for God through this job. When I place God above all else in my life, I believe that He will provide for all my needs. “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25)

Are you struggling to find a job? Don’t give up and keep praying. Surrender all your worries to God and let Him work in your life so that one day, looking back on your life experiences, you can see His wonderful plan for your life.

“I know that You can do all things; no purpose of Yours can be thwarted” (Job 42: 2).

The Day I Forgave My Abusive Father

Written by Aryanto Wijaya, Indonesia, originally in Bahasa Indonesia

I used to hate my father. In my eyes, he was a compulsive gambler, a hypocrite and someone not worthy of being a father.

On one occasion, he came home at the crack of dawn after a long night of gambling. He had lost 10 million rupiahs (SGD $1,039) that night. Sore and resentful, he took his anger out on my mother and I. Yelling, he kicked and punched the furniture in our house. Even my mother, who was cooking, was not spared. I watched helplessly as my father mocked and swore at her. He even tried to hit her.

I was sick of this treatment. Enraged, I approached him and slammed the kitchen door. I exploded in anger, shouting: “I don’t care about your gambling problems. It is your choice to gamble and your consequences to bear whether you win or lose. But can you at least not bring problems from outside into our house?”

He answered by attempting to punch me in the face. Dodging it, I ran outside as my father cursed and swore at me. I hated him so much. I did not want to acknowledge him as my father.

Not knowing where to go, I rode my bicycle aimlessly. I did not want to go back home—I knew my quarrel had made the situation at home very ugly. I decided to go to my home church, which was five minutes away. It was not a Sunday, and hence, there weren’t many people around. However, I still hoped I would meet a church friend there who could cheer me up.

I sat in church, daydreaming for hours. The scene of my outburst in the morning kept replaying in my mind. My heart felt as if it was being torn apart as I recalled all the unkind things my father had done to our family. It was not the first time he had gambled and vented his frustration on us. In fact, whenever he lost money gambling, he would hurt my mom, slapping and hitting her. It made me so sad that I could do nothing to stop it.

Fortunately, my friend came to church that day to retrieve his bicycle, which he had parked in the church garage. Seeing me in that state, he asked me what had happened. Sobbing, I tried to explain what had happened. My friend hugged me without saying a word.

That evening, I decided to go home. I hadn’t brought money or clothes out with me and I felt bad leaving my mother alone at home. When I got back, I learned that my father had gone out to gamble again.

 

Deciding to Forgive

As I lay in bed that night, I was hurt and angry. I began to question my self-identity as a Christian. I was reminded of my baptism in 2004, when I promised to follow Jesus with all my heart. Following Jesus meant extending forgiveness the same way God did. If God could forgive a sinner like me by sending Jesus to die on the cross for my sins, then did I have a right not to forgive other fellow sinners? Was I a true believer if I refused to forgive my own father?

Even as I prayed to God for a solution, the verses God impressed upon me were all about forgiveness. The Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:12 had made it clear to me: “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Jesus even told Peter to forgive 70 times seven times (Matthew 18:22).

To be honest, that verse sounded very clichéd to me. I felt like I had heard it many times, whether through Sunday School or sermons. Then I remembered Matthew 18:22, which talks about the core of the Christian faith—the receiving of forgiveness and the act of forgiving.

Reading that verse, I gave in. I couldn’t bear the burden of hating my father anymore, and I wanted to release all my pent-up hatred. That verse had clearly told me to forgive my father. However, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.

In my desperation, I prayed: “God, please grant me the strength to forgive him.” God listened to my prayer. After praying, I calmed down and thought through the incident carefully.

I realized that it was partly my fault. I had allowed my anger to take over me and yelled at my father. Instead of being patient with him, I chose to fight fire with fire. I should have used water to extinguish the flame. That water was forgiveness, which would eventually dissolve the hatred in me.

Fearing that he was still upset at me, I texted my father, saying: “I apologize for what I did.” After apologizing, I felt so relieved and peaceful, I slept without any worries that night. The next day, I approached him and apologized again. Although I was initially disappointed that he didn’t say anything, I soon realized that I had nothing to worry about. I had already done what was right in God’s eyes.

Little did I know that apologizing to my father was the first step in setting myself free from the grudges and selfishness inside me. I came to believe that no matter who was in the wrong, I should apologize first. The act is important to me because when I apologize, I am humbling myself. Knowing that I had done what was pleasing to Him, I felt great joy. I also became certain that forgiveness would set me free from any hatred.

 

Forgiving My Father

It has been years since I forgave my father for the first time. In 2012, I went to a college outside my hometown and found a job in Jakarta. I no longer live under the same roof as him. Up till now, my father is still gambling.

I’ve learned that forgiveness might not change those who have hurt us or improve our condition. However, as we forgive others, we learn to be like Jesus. Forgiving him has helped me view the situation from another perspective—I don’t resent him anymore.

When Jesus was mocked and tortured on His way to Calvary, He didn’t curse or mock them in return. Instead, He prayed for them. It is written in Luke 23:34 that “Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

I have started to pray that my father will one day know Jesus. As time progresses, I have talked to him bit by bit—something that seemed impossible in the past. Nevertheless, I strongly believe that forgiveness is just like a seed that we plant. If we take care to water and nurture it, it will grow and bear fruit one day. The seed of forgiveness bears fruits of peace and reconciliation.

I can learn to forgive only because God first forgave me for all my sins. Through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we are now reconciled with the Father and can have peace.

Just as the Father has forgiven us, will you follow His example? Will you let go of your pride and forgive those who have hurt you?

Even if you find it difficult to forgive now, it doesn’t mean you can never do so. Forgiveness doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a long process.

Let us remember the forgiveness that was first extended to us and forgive just as God has forgiven us, for He can grant us the strength to do so.

 

Confessions of a Single Guy

Written By Aryanto Wijaya, originally in Bahasa Indonesia

“When I was a child, I saw adults dating. When I became an adult, I saw children dating.”

I laughed when I saw these words on a meme while scrolling through Instagram. I knew exactly what the meme was talking about. Many of my friends started dating in high school, but I have remained single throughout college and even after I’ve started working.

I was raised in a broken family, and had trouble with my self-confidence. I was not rich, could not play any musical instruments, or do sports. So I figured I was only an ordinary guy and would not be anyone’s ideal type. Though I had fallen in love with several different girls in the past, I was usually too nervous to tell them. I often thought that if I told a girl that I loved her, it would ruin our friendship. Instead, I kept my feelings to myself, and just remained friends.

Eventually, in college, I fell in love with my best friend. We went to the same Christian youth fellowship every Tuesday night. We prayed together, hung out, and shared burdens. I finally told her how I felt towards her a few months before graduation. But she said she didn’t want to date, and preferred to remain best friends. I respected her decision. We are still good friends today even though we have since gone our own separate ways after graduation.

Not having a girlfriend, however, does not mean that my life is any less worthwhile. In the same way, my life would not always be better if I had a girlfriend. I have often listened to brokenhearted friends share about their breakups.

I’m happy being single at the moment. Though there are times I feel lonely, I’m learning to channel my emotions and energy during such moments towards meaningful activities.

 

I travel and write a travel blog.

I love to travel. During my four years of college in Yogyakarta, an Indonesian city, I travelled perhaps half of Indonesia, from westernmost Sabang Island to the northern city of Manado. Once, I even spent 30 days travelling across the island of Sumatra with a German friend.

Travelling is a way for me to meet people. I make a lot of friends while travelling, especially through my couch surfing community. And when my new friends express curiosity about my faith, it becomes a great opportunity to share about Jesus with them.

Travelling also reminds me that God always provides. For example, I was working as a student staff at my university which gave me the opportunity to travel throughout Indonesia to promote our school to high school students. And when I travelled with other backpackers, they often paid for my accommodation.

I enjoy writing about my travels and sharing my thoughts and experiences with other people. I believe that God is using my skills and interests to enrich my life, and hopefully the lives of others. What has He been doing in your life?

 

I spend time and energy loving my family and friends first.

I believe that when I learn to love and be content with what God has already given me, He will give me new responsibilities in His own time. Jesus told us that “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” (Luke 16:10)

I believe God wants me to use this stage of singleness to love my friends and family—and He uses this to enrich my life and theirs. I’ve learned to empathize with the problems my loved ones face and be a better listener.

Twice a month, I go back to my hometown to visit my family. I recognize that my parents are getting older so I make it a point to let them know how special they are to me and buy them food. I also spend time keeping in touch with my friends through phone calls and weekend visits. Because I do not have to coordinate my schedule with a girlfriend or wife, I have time to listen to my loved ones’ problems, encourage them, pray with them, and hang out with them.

If you’re at the same stage life as me, why not consider how to use this time to be a blessing to those around you?

 

I often like to say that I don’t need a soul mate because God created my soul complete. If and when God decides that it’s time for me to leave my singleness, He will naturally provide someone. What I need to do in the meantime is to focus on how God wants me to live my life to the fullest and bless others.

The completeness of someone’s life is not determined by whether he has a mate or not. God has already created us complete. Regardless of our relationship status, God has a good plan that He wants to accomplish through us.

Are you living a fulfilling life now?

 

Read “5 Ways to Become the Most Eligible Bachelorette” here.

Why Am I Afraid of Sharing My Faith?

Written By Aryanto Wijaya, Indonesia, originally in Bahasa Indonesia

Have you ever been afraid of sharing your faith with others? I have.

When I was in fourth grade, my family and I were the only Christians in our neighborhood. One day, when I was cycling past a mosque, some children my age came up to me, blocked my path, and tried to force me off my bicycle. When I didn’t get off, they started kicking my bike and tried forcing me to say verses from the Koran. They also accused me of being an infidel—because I was Chinese and a Christian.

I had no idea how to respond. Thankfully, an adult showed up and dispersed the children.

Since then, I have always attributed my fear of sharing my faith to this incident. But after giving it more thought recently, I realized there were three underlying reasons that stopped me from sharing my Christian faith.

 

1. I was afraid of offending people from different religions

Where I live, Christians are a minority, so sharing my faith can be a sensitive thing. On one occasion, my friends gathered for a prayer meeting at my home. Though we did not play any music or make loud noises, a neighbor reported us, fearing that our house might become a church. Two men then came to my house and told us, “Christian activities are not allowed in a Muslim neighborhood.”

Though that incident fazed me a little, God quickly provided me other opportunities to share my faith. One time, I was staying at an elderly woman’s house. On one of the mornings as I was getting ready for church, she asked me, “Hey, where are you going so early in the morning?”

I told her honestly that I was going to church. To my surprise, she expressed curiosity about church, as well as about my faith. It turns out that she had never met a Christian before! I ended up sharing with her a little about God and what going to church was like.

Whether or not we realize it, people around us are watching our actions daily. The way we live could be the very thing that sparks their interest in our lives and in Jesus Himself. It’s exactly as Jesus told us, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

 

2. I was afraid my friends would think poorly of me

Whenever I prepared for church each Sunday, my roommates would tease me, “What for go to church in the morning? It’s better to sleep in . . .” In their opinion, the best way to spend Sunday morning was to sleep in, since our weekdays were always packed with so many different activities.

I admit that peer pressure sometimes got the better of me. When a friend asked me to go jogging with him one Sunday morning, I gave in—and attended church in the afternoon instead. I wanted to be accepted by my peers; and I wanted to be seen as a faithful friend.

I also struggled with what my friends thought of Christianity. Some of them felt Christianity was “complicated” since there seemed to be so many rules to follow: tithing, going to Church, Bible reading, etc. To avoid being seen that way, I hid my faith from my friends.

But God reminded me through my quiet time that I should be focused on God’s view of me, and not that of my peers. I am precious and honored, and God loves me (Isaiah 43:4). Jesus sacrificed Himself on the cross for me. Therefore, I should give everything―my money, energy, and thoughts―to show my gratitude to the loving God who has saved my life.

So now when my friends ask about it, I tell them I don’t mind going to church or tithing or serving, because this is an expression of my gratitude to God.

 

3. I was afraid I couldn’t answer questions about Christianity

Some people have told me that Christianity does not make sense. For example, they ask, how can God have a son? I found myself getting stumped by some of the questions and sometimes wondered if this was because I still had doubts myself. As a result, I didn’t make my faith known to my friends so they wouldn’t ask me about it.

But during church one day, God spoke through the preacher to remind me that I shouldn’t be so preoccupied with whether I can answer my friends’ questions. Instead, I should pray for them regularly, that they may experience the peace of God, which transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

Sometimes, when we are unable to articulate our faith through words, we can do so through our actions. I once had a female classmate in college who did not have any friends. Nobody wanted to be in the same group as her, so she was lonely all the time. I decided to invite her to join my group for one of the class projects.

She was surprised and asked me, “Why do you want to be my friend?” I replied, “God made each of us special. If you are specially made by God, why should I avoid you just because of some trivial reason?”

I don’t know whether if it was because of my actions or my words, but since then, she has joined a Christian community and has been growing in her faith.

 

Our faith is special. It is not just about us, or about building churches. Christianity is about a holy and loving God who cares for sinners.

Being a Christian is a gift we need to be thankful for.  I now understand that I am Jesus’ disciple, and I no longer worry about people labeling me as a “Christian”. I am no longer afraid of sharing my faith. Instead of keeping it to myself, I want to share my story about Jesus.

Even though people might mock or oppress us when we share our faith, like my experience in fourth grade, I pray that these words of Jesus may strengthen us as we follow Him in the midst of our suffering: “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:10-12)