When God didn’t show up
Sebastian Ng // February 1, 2021, 4:46 pm
At the start of 2019, in my last year of university, I decided to work as a financial advisor.
There were a lot of reasons why I chose that career. Firstly, I believed that the financial world was a place where God wanted me to go and be an influence.
Also, working as a financial advisor would offer the time and flexibility to serve in my church. As a core member for the video and youth ministry, I needed the time to complete video projects and meet the youths for discipleship.
I was deeply burdened by Haggai 1:3 in all of this. So even when people raised doubt or concerns about my job choice, I would reply: “I believe God will come through for me as I do my best!”
A few months into my job, and my sales production was the top among the other new agents in my agency. My director and manager held me in high esteem.
“Certainly, God came through for me! My future is set from here,” I thought to myself, filled with hope and faith.
At the same time, I decided to increase my monthly giving to my church’s mission work by twentyfold.
I was hoping that God would “show up”.
However, things went downhill from there. My sales production eventually dropped significantly, despite my every effort to recover it.
From June to December, I couldn’t even hit my basic sales target. Most months, I had zero sales. Still, I was paying for roadshows and online advertising while faithfully giving to my church’s mission work.
I was hoping that God would “show up”. However, He didn’t.
Eventually, I had to stop giving because my bank account was nearly wiped clean.
My nights were filled with doubt and anxiety for my future. No matter how many times I prayed or went to the altar, my situation did not get any better. Shame began to fill my heart.
I began to question my faith. I was hurt. God had brought me so high, then suddenly dropped me so low!
I started to question His goodness deep in my heart.
But even so, I held on. I still wanted to believe in His word. I wanted to believe He is still good despite my circumstances.
In my life, I had crossed a lot of checkpoints with God that had helped me to know Him in a deeper measure. I wasn’t going to allow this circumstance to ruin everything that I had with God.
At the end of January 2020, I wanted to leave the company and find a new job.
My director told me that he didn’t want to drag a “dead cow” along and walked away from me with disappointment.
In that time, I continued to serve in my ministries, giving my best, trying to forget about my failures in my career.
But I knew that I was serving with a wounded heart, one that was not right with God. Whenever my leader brought up the topic, I would always tear up because I didn’t know how to face God or talk to Him.
I was serving with a wounded heart, one that was not right with God.
It took a long time for me to move from disappointment to trusting in God again.
But over time, I came to see that God was drawing me closer to Him in my troubles, and I began to experience His providence in a whole new measure.
I grew to trust that even if He didn’t meet my needs in the way I expected, He would still have a plan for me elsewhere.
So, by February, I was ready to start looking for a job again. But that was when COVID and the circuit breaker came around. As I bided my time, I decided not to join the financial industry ever again.
Fast forward to April. I was asked to try the finance industry again by my longtime church friend. He is a manager, and he wanted to guide me. I was very reluctant and doubtful about it.
Again, my plan was to find a job and forget that I ever was in the finance industry. So I went on a search for other jobs – but none of the companies replied. Even those offering SGUnited traineeships did not get back to me at all!
So I thought, “Why not I just try again as a part-time financial advisor, and continue my job search when the economy gets better?”
I signed the contract and resumed my career as a financial advisor in July.
I need to thank my friend for being so patient with me. Because every rejection I faced made me easily discouraged. I would say, “See, I am not suitable for this.” But he encouraged me anyway.
I began to feel a sense of assurance and peace from God. Four to five days a week, I was in the office telemarketing and learning from the seniors. In time, I closed my first deal! Subsequently, more deals!
Miraculously, my schedule started to fill up.
As I worked, God provided interested clients to me. Business was so good that God restored fiftyfold of what I had lost in 2019!
And with the help of my friend, I cleared two years worth of targets in just the fourth month working in my new company!
After dealing with disappointment for a year, I see that God did come through for me.
Now I can truly serve in ministry and work with full flexibility! I get to enjoy the luxury of taking a month off from work in December and focus on my church’s different projects.
God is still good and faithful even though circumstances told me that He wasn’t. The problem was, I had associated God’s goodness with what I see or receive in life.
- I scored well for my exams = God is faithful.
- I didn’t get the job I wanted = God has forgotten about me.
- I’m stuck in a difficult place = God has forsaken me.
But Psalms 107:1 says “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!”
Not “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for he has blessed you with high sales production or with a high salary job!” The verse simply states that God is good.
I had wrongly believed that God’s goodness and blessing only come in monetary form. God showed me that my experience of His goodness is very narrow and shaped by the world!
I was struck by something Pastor Steven Furtick said: “What if God didn’t meet your expectations because He wanted to exceed them?”
In Mark 5:21-43, we see that Jairus desperately asked Jesus to heal his daughter, but Jesus was stopped temporarily by the woman with the issue of blood.
Due to the delay caused by the woman, the Jairus’ daughter died. However, little did Jairus know that he was going to receive something way better than healing – he saw the resurrection of his daughter up close.
Jairus asked for healing, but he received resurrection instead!
“What if God didn’t meet your expectations because He wanted to exceed them?”
It is normal to have doubts about God. It shows that you are human. But the most important thing is act rightly when you do.
When we open ourselves to God to guide and correct our expectations and plans, that is where God is able to do exceedingly and wonderful things in our lives.
Sometimes, being in the desert place reveals to us whether our faith is genuine or circumstantial.
Do not feel condemned where there is doubt, that is where God is calling for a deeper relationship with Him!
THINK + TALK
- Has there ever been a time when you’ve felt disappointed with God? What happened?
- Looking back, where do you trace the hand of God in your life then?
- What promises or truths in the Bible does God offer us about His presence and provision?
- Know someone facing discouragement? How can you be a light to him this week?