In the name of Jesus Christ I testify, I am sis Stepfanie Hee from Bayan Bahru Church.
I am sure that 2020 has been a tough year for all of us. Just in early 2020, trivial matters such as grabbing your car keys and driving to church, hanging out with our dear brethren and so on instantly became bothersome and “risky”. Out of the blue, staying at home, working from home, wearing a facemask or even having worshipping services online became a new norm. As inconvenient this pandemic may be, perhaps it’s also a reminding call for us to reflect upon His blessings.
After my degree, I had the thought of continuing postgraduate studies. Most lecturers recommended me to opt for a full-time research rather than course-work based to secure better undertakings in scientific research, even though this might take a longer time, some even up to 7 years. However things doesn’t seem to go according to plan. Albeit many enquiries, I either kept receiving offers I’m not interested in yet with scholarships or I received offers that I’m interested in but without scholarships/funding or I was rejected by the ones with funding yet am interested in. If you had trod on similar paths before, surely you would have understood that interest plays a major role. How can you commit to a research project if you have no interest in that particular topic? Although I finally manage to secure an offer I’m keen to work on, yet things again went haywire and I am forced to halt all of my plans. I was devastated and I understand not what went wrong. It’s not that I have sought not His guidance. I have been praying about it for so long yet my prayers seem to be unanswered and nothing seems to be smooth. Why can’t I just obtain something that I am interested in and it is with funding? Why were my course mates having a smooth journey and I didn’t? At the end, something prompted my mind to look up for a job first and temporarily leave plans for postgrad studies aside. Without an additional academic qualification, my option mainly remains in diagnostic laboratories. But I didn’t adore that position because it would be challenging to attend Sabbath services and furthermore I don’t really like working in diagnostic laboratories because it’s too rigid and theoretical. Science, I believe it’s supposed to both empirical and theoretical, and only through research you can have both. In Malaysia itself, it is difficult to work as a scientific researcher without additional academic qualifications. Eventually, I remember telling the Lord I will look up for a job but if He wills, let it not be in hospitals or diagnostic laboratories so that I can keep the Sabbath, but regardless of the decision, may I be dutiful and submit to His will.
In the beginning of year 2020, I received a request for an interview from a scientific company in my hometown. I stumbled across this offer randomly and I decided to just try my luck albeit knowing chances are pretty slim without a postgraduate degree. But to my surprise, I was called for an interview. I was supposed to make a presentation in that interview and although I had made preparations beforehand yet I was still slightly affected in my emotions as it was during the sudden demise of a close relative. The interview was carried out with a few interviewers with one unable to attend. During the interview, an overseas interviewer gave a question through live conferencing and I recall being unable to answer well. One of the local interviewers sitting opposite actually hinted and provided me the answer and of course the questioner wouldn’t have notice since he isn’t present physically! Later on, I also got to know that the absent interviewer was actually a well-known peremptory “lady-boss”, among the company and many previous interviewees were unable to make it just because of her, and being in that state of mind at that time, surely I too will not survive. Even one of the interviewer actually said, “Thank God she wasn’t present!” And just like this, I received the offer! Perhaps people will perplexedly say that this is luck, this is mere coincidence. Yet is it really so? I never heard of interviewers providing answers to the interviewees and how can that particular interviewer be absent in this particular interview? How can I a mere degree holder successfully secure a job I adore amidst well-qualified candidates? Moreover it is in my hometown and most importantly I don’t need to work on Saturdays so keeping the Sabbath isn’t a major issue anymore. This must be no other but the working of God.
I began work in early March and around two weeks later, the status of Covid-19 in Malaysia worsens with MCO being enforced. Later on, we know how terrible our economy and the job market have suffered. If I was late just by a step, probably I would have been jobless or I will need to work on something I loathe due to the lack of options. If my plans for postgraduate studies have been smooth initially, perhaps now I would have been stuck elsewhere unable to return home. If I had embarked on a postgrad journey yet unable to proceed due to the pandemic, imagine how much exhaustion it will bring to my personal safety, my parents’ finances and anxiety. Now as I look back, I realize God meant the best for me. Although it was as if He wasn’t present in the first place, but in fact He is always there. He has foreseen the future, He anticipated this pandemic and that was also why He intercepted my plans and realigned my directions.
“And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide Himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it”, when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.” ~ Isaiah 30:20-21
Today this pandemic might be causing us so many anxieties; we might be suffering emotionally and financially from it and only God knows how long this will last. It may seem that He is no longer present anymore, as if our prayers for this pandemic to end are in vain. Yet how many insights can we mortals have? Can the plans we devise be better than His? We can only pray that we will be completely submissive to His arrangements, and only may the Lord have mercy and comfort us in this time of adversity, guiding us onto the correct path.
May all glory be given to the Lord Jesus. This is my first testimony. (To continue with second testimony)