I’m currently living in Germany as a part of my study, which I’m really grateful for. Not only because of the awesome opportunity, but also because of what had previously happened prior to me being able to go here.
To really give you a clear picture of what happened, let’s go back to August 2015. I was sitting in a classroom at my university hearing my seniors talking about their study and internship in Germany. They showed how their experiences had changed their life and that those are moments they would always cherish.
After the sharing session ended, I decided to look for internship spots right away and start working on my CV and application letters. I was so full of ambition at that time. A few days later, I sent out those documents to 2 companies.
Almost a week went by and I hadn’t received any response, which was unfortunate. I prayed and prayed for strength and discernment to get through this rough steps. My main concern is that if I couldn’t find a job, that means I wouldn’t get a double degree as I graduate. I was so worried about it that my hands were trembling as I was writing my CV.
Now here comes the fun part.
I remember vividly it was a Monday afternoon. I was in my room waiting till 4 o’ clock, the time when my German language class starts. I was browsing through my email and found something strange; I saw a funny symbol indicating that there was a new response to one of my internship application. However, nothing turned up in my inbox. Anyway, I opened it, and it said that I was accepted to work in a small IT startup as an intern. That’s great, right? I thought so too at that time.
Now here’s the twist:
I looked at the timestamp the email and my heart skipped a beat.
The acceptance email was sent 6 days ago.
I was accepted to work in a company almost a week ago and I had no idea.
So… that happened.
My feelings were mixed. I was happy yet I was thinking “Why oh why?” and I was so full of worry. I mean, I had no idea if the offer still stood should I accept it at that moment. But I replied to the email anyway. On the email, I apologized for the late reply and said that I’d be glad to work there.
Honestly, it felt horrible. And at that horrible moment of uncertainty, I felt the urge to pray – to just strip down my feelings, everything that’s going on my head and just say it. I prayed that I hope that I can work there if it’s His will for me to be placed in that company. At that time, I felt that I had no control over my own life.
As I finished praying, I continued checking my email and browsing the net with my heart pounding like I was on a race. A few minutes later, a new email came in. It said that the offer’s still on.
I felt ecstatic.
Man, I almost cried. But I didn’t; I smiled instead as I reflected back on one of the longest hour of my life.
I looked at how God did something that’s just unimaginable out of my mistake. I realized how helpless I was, and he took me by the hand. Now I understand how I’ve always been helpless the whole time. I have never got control over my life, since all things are from Him for His glory alone. Even in the moments when I feel confident enough in achieving something, I’m actually a nobody.
I can finally say from the heart, that I am nothing without Him – a concept I’d been struggling to understand for a long time.
Somehow I found this to be funny; how I had been so blinded with such naivety, but now through Him, I see. I realized how my worry is actually rooted from putting my confidence falsely – on myself, a fractured being, rather than on God, our sovereign creator.
A lot of interesting events take place right after that. One of them is I almost missed the skype session with my supervisor if not for a friend. I kinda forgot about the time difference between Indonesia and Germany (how silly of me). I remember it was during a Web Systems & Development class when a chat window popped up on my computer screen reminding me that I was supposed to have the interview later that day. I was immensely shocked at that time haha. Then it led to a moment where I had to pick between being calm or start panicking.
Thankfully, this verse from the book of Matthew popped up in my head:
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
And I won’t be here if not for that verse, that’s for sure. I would have panicked and ruined everything. I might have even stuttered and maybe freezed during the interview lol. Thankfully, none of those things happened. The interview was going smoothly (thank God). All in all, it was a good day.
And I personally find that specific verse to be really interesting. Why do we worry, really? And why do we need to worry, since it clearly doesn’t benefit us at all? Think about it.
Now let’s go back to the main story. During the interview, I was informed that I wouldn’t get any salary, but the company would gladly pay for my accommodation. It was okay for me since the main thing for me is that I had finally landed on a job and to not having to think about paying rent is just super for me. Making money wasn’t my main priority anyway (that’d be really nice though).
The next interesting turn of event happened as I was told to pray about me not getting paid by an elder from the church. I think she understands how tough it will be for a student to work and live abroad without any income. And I’d be lying if I’m not saying that this will surely put a burden to my whole family. So, I prayed about it, that if it’s His will, I can get a monthly salary so that I won’t become such a burden to my family.
A few days later, out of the blue, I was contacted by my supervisor and he told me that I’d get a monthly wage. I don’t know the whole process that was happening or how this happened, but I thank God for it.
Another twist came up as I was looking for a place to live. I was informed that someone working in the company (who’s also an Indonesian, how awesome is that) is willing to assist me in looking for a student accommodation. And one morning, he said that since it’s quite hard to rent a room for only 6 months, he’s placing me in a hotel room instead. He said that the bill’s taken care of and also the hotel’s just a few meters from the office, so I can just walk to work. Therefore I won’t need to think about transportation and where should I sleep at night.
I was speechless.
Those things are far more than I could ever ask for. From not getting paid at all, and now I got … this.
I don’t deserve any of this and I’m not just saying that to show my humility or anything. I think it’s a fact that none of our achievements is really ours; they’re God’s. And by grace, not by my own work, He gives all these things. For God could just leave me falling into an abyss of nothingness full of pride, but He saved me anyway. And I’m forever grateful for this.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
However, I think we shouldn’t see grace as mere worldly blessings. Grace is much more than physical things that give us pleasure. It doesn’t entertain us for a certain period of time then throws us empty-handed back to the starting point.
In my case, grace is more than job security; it’s about being reconciliated with God. I had no idea why the email didn’t turn up in my inbox. But this I know, that He showed how arrogant I was – how I was so wrong, and forgave me for it. Not only for the mistake that I specifically made at that time, but for all the wrongdoings that I did and will do. Thus, relying on grace means acknowledging the fact that men won’t be able to do any good outside of God. And this grace isn’t a present specially wrapped only for me. I’m not getting it because I do something prior to that moment so that I deserve it, but despite of it.
By grace alone we are saved, and this work of salvation is carried out for His glory alone. And personally, the delight of having this knowledge far outweighs the comfort of getting a job. Wow, now that’s a statement I had no idea I would be able to say. Thank God for that.
And by the way, Germany’s freaking awesome (I say awesome quite a lot don’t I haha). I’ll tell you more about it sometime.
Further recommended readings:
- How Can I Know If My Repentance Is Genuine? (John Piper)
- Five Points (John Piper)
- Jesus the King (Timothy Keller)
- Already Perfect (But Still Far from Perfect) (Adam Ford)
- Probing the Remote Purpose (Ligonier Ministries)