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 (Manna 57: Christians in the Community)
Thanksgiving
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Thanksgiving

J. Ouyang

A DIFFICULT DECISION

During a recent Bible study, we were asked to share reflections on our lives since last Thanksgiving. I pondered the question and realized that I have a lot to be thankful for.

Several months ago, my boss approached me and asked if I would consider relocating to the main office after my contract expired in December. I was lukewarm about the idea because I realized that if I were to accept the offer, I would have to live hours away from the closest church. It would be difficult to sustain such a long commute to observe Sabbath every week. I asked my boss to give me more time to think about it. I also asked him to help me explore other job opportunities that would not require relocation.

As the last day of my contract drew closer, I began to realize that management would not allow me to work away from the main site. The choice came down to this: If I were willing to relocate to the main site, I would have little trouble transitioning from a long-term supplemental position to a permanent position. I would also be given priority to move to other internal openings, if I so desired. However, if I chose not to relocate, I would be on my own.

This was a difficult decision to make. I postponed the decision as much as I could, hoping that with the extra time a compromise could be found. 

I found it hard to leave a company that offered me a stable job. As a young engineer, I benefit both professionally and intellectually by learning from colleagues. 

When I realized what leaving meant for my career, I was not sure of what I would do. I knew all along that I needed to put God first, but I was not sure if I had the courage to do what was right. For several weeks, my wife and I prayed for God’s guidance, hoping that He would open a way for us to work and stay close to church for our spiritual survival.

GOD’S MERCY

We finally reached a decision several weeks later. We realized that, even though relocating to the main site would be good for my career, we couldn’t rely on that potential because nothing in this world is certain. We both agreed that moving far away from church would not be good for either of our spiritualities in the long run.

Thinking through the problem and realizing what needed to be done was relatively easy. My wife and I decided that we did not want to move unless it was absolutely necessary. The difficult part was finding a job that would allow me to stay close to home.

I felt depressed as the end of my contract approached—I had a lot of work to do in addition to the unpleasant task of finding another job. I was so busy that I didn’t have time to prepare for interviews. I knew I made the right decision in choosing not to move, but I was afraid of the consequences of not being able to find a job close to home. I worried that I had been too stubborn by insisting on where I wanted to work.

About two months before the last day of my contract, I saw a job posting for a company close to home. It was a pleasant surprise, because there had not been a start-up in the area for years. I submitted my résumé online right away and made a mental note to drive by the company on my way home that night.

Before the day was over, I got a call from the hiring manager. He had seen my résumé and wanted to know if I could stop by in two days.

Two days later, I went to the company for an interview. They asked me questions on technical subjects that I had not studied in a long time. I was disappointed after the interview because I did fine but not as well as I needed to secure a job offer. I wished that I could have studied some more before the interview.

By the end of that day, I was certain that I would never hear from the company again. I comforted myself with the thought that I could at least treat this interview as practice and take lessons away from it for the next interview.

About a week later I was pleasantly surprised when I received an email from the hiring manager. They were satisfied with my interview and indicated that they would like to proceed to salary negotiation.

GIVING THANKS

I am very thankful for God’s guidance throughout my job search. There was a moment of shock and disbelief when I realized that my future with my previous company was about to come to an end. There was a moment of uncertainty when I realized that companies that I wanted to apply to were too far away. There was a moment of sadness when I cleaned my cubicle late into the night.

Finally, there was a moment of vanity when I realized that, even though I had worked long and hard, coming home late at night and working on Sundays in an office without air conditioning, I had to leave everything behind.

But there were also moments of peace when I realized that I made the right decision by not accepting a job that would take me far away from a church that has been like a home to me. Regardless of the cost, I felt great peace with my decision because I knew it was the right one.

There were moments of thanksgiving when I realized that God provided me with a job despite my not exactly acing my technical interviews. I was fully aware that, given the state of the industry, I could not expect to keep the same job until my retirement thirty-five years from now. I am thankful for all that I have learned during the time I was with my previous company.

I am thankful because I did not suffer weeks of unemployment and started work at my new job right after my contract ended.

This experience has given me more faith for the future. I have no idea what will happen a few years from now, but I know that as long as I continue to put faith in God and focus on doing what is right, He will somehow provide a way.

It will not always be easy. But as it says in Philippians 4:13,

            I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

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