It has been more than 4 years now since we moved to Australia.
It hasn’t been an easy transition but God was with us through it all.
It all started out well. Typically people get their permanent residency (PR) approved, quit their job move to Australia and try to find a job. We were so blessed that I got a job even before our PR was approved (important later)! Our relocation was paid for for, and I was employed from the momment we touched down, everything was peachy.
The first couple of months was uneventful but soon after that God started shaking us.
First God removed my job. Then, because of that we had less than a month to leave the country. (Technically one has a month from losing one’s job to leave the country, what we didn’t know then was that the Immigration Department wasn’t very efficient – more on this later.)
So what was initially a source of praise, ie getting a job prior to the PR being granted, meant that we technically had only a month to get ready to leave again.
You can bet we started praying and crying out to God in earnest! We got down on their knees and prayed for God to make a way, for me to get a job before the deadline expired.
God makes a way / Blessings in the midst of trials
Well the good news is that God always answers prayers. It just might not be in the way you expect.
First thing He did was that the company agreed to “fire” me few months later, in the meantime he was technically on leave without pay, but this gave us more time to look for another job. Subsequently the company went into administration so that got pushed out even further.
The weeks passed but there still was no job in sight. Finally I was officially made redundant, we packed our bags and went to stay with the in-laws overseas.
Then God did the second part of His plan. Whilst in another country, through a referral from a brother-in-Christ, He provided for another job in Australia.
So without actively looking for a job, without having to travel for the interview (the interviewer was in that part of the world for business anyways) I got a new job.
What did this show me?
- God can do it without my help. In fact when I do something FOR God, what’s happening is that He’s allowing me to participate in His Work. Because, seriously, he doesn’t need my help at all.
It paints a picture of how the Body of Christ should work. Just like when Ananias helped Saul.
Sometimes we don’t want to help fellow Christians because they are different from us (e.g. different denomination) or we just don’t like their personality or we think that they are getting help anyways (ie what we’d do isn’t necessary or helpful anyways) or we are just plain embarrased to offer to help.
What I’ve learnt is, we shouldn’t be hesistant! Who knows how many blessings we have withheld from each other just because we are hesitant!
All it took was for my Christian brother to mention my name to the headhunter, then God worked through that for me, and my family to be blessed.
The third thing that God did was that He blessed us with a second child. So even in the midst of trials and tribulations, God blesses. We just have to be able to see them.
Two things showed that God had a sense of humour. One, when we tried to come back to Australia we found that my working visa from the first job was still valid! (see I told you the Immigration Department was inefficient)
Two, a week after we returned, we had to leave Australia again. This was because our PR was finally granted and they had to leave Australia and return to activate it.
But God was not through with shaking us. A year after I got the new job, my hours were cut back and the job because a part time position. Another year after being made part time I was made redundant yet again.
And this was after I got involved in a pastoral care programme at my church. Just goes to show, service does not guarantee safety from trials and tribulations. In any case, service should be the outpouring of a grateful heart, not an attempt to manipulate God’s Hand.
So what did I learn from my second period of redundancy?
God comes through always
Despite the fact that I was saved from my last redundancy solely by God’s power, again I relied on human wisdom. I did contract work – but it did not lead to a full time position. I networked – but it did not lead to a job. I met up with headhunters – but they did not manage to get me a job.
It was a tough time, yet through it all I continued serving – I’m not saying this to boast about my commitment but to make the point that we should not use troubles as an excuse to dropout from our commitments to the Body of Christ. Also, when you see your faithful brothers and sisters in Christ serving – ask them how they are doing. Sometimes they might be going through a tough patch – they may not necessarily need material or financial help, sometimes a listening ear and a bit of time and love is all they need. Afterall they are human too.
Eventually, I sought God’s wisdom, the thing I should have done at the very beginning!
And God came through again, this time through a sister-in-Christ. Yes, we say that God will always come through. But is that just head knowledge or is that something we believe truely, having experienced it over and over again in our own lives?
A new job, which required a move to a new city. Yet more changes.
My final thoughts on transitions:
- When God moves us like Abraham, like the Israelites, is there a purpose to the journey? Is there something God desires to do in our lives in our hearts, but yet is unable to due to our stubborn nature?
- Maybe there is nothing. Maybe things happen, and they are incidental to the Will of God. Like what flavour ice-cream you choose at the supermarket. But maybe it isn’t. Maybe there is something to be gleaned from that experience.
- Don’t you want to know? Don’t you want to avoid repeating the class? (There is a saying that life is a series of classes and if you don’t learn your lesson in a class, you’ll be forced to repeat it – indefinitely!)