Written by Andrea Low, Malaysia
Not too long ago, I went through one of the most anxious seasons of my life. I was in the midst of looking for an internship placement to fulfil my university requirement. I applied to close to 30 companies, went to a few interviews, and turned down an offer that didn’t feel right. Finally, I was scheduled for an interview with a company that I really wanted to intern at. I prayed hard to get into it. I did my best during the interview and the assessments, and I thought I stood a chance.
Alas, I didn’t get the offer. I was devastated at the thought that I wasn’t good enough to make the cut. The gravity of the situation hit me slow, but it hit hard. The deadline to confirm my internship placement was a few days away, and I did not have any other interviews scheduled.
I was also worried because the next week I would be sitting for my exams, and I wasn’t keen on having to find a job and attend more interviews on top of that. But I had no choice because I had to start my internship shortly after my exams, and failure to obtain an internship placement would mean delaying my graduation. So I hastily sent out more applications and desperately prayed to God for a way out. I knew getting a placement was no issue because God would provide, but the timing of it all unnerved me, so much so that I could feel all the fear and sadness covering me like a second skin.
Life felt so difficult during that one week. My worry overwhelmed me to the point that I could not bring myself to focus on studying. All I could think of was what was going to happen to me if I failed to get an internship placement. I shuddered at the thought of delaying my graduation.
I also began to think that perhaps I had made the wrong decision in rejecting that one offer I received weeks ago. Had I made a choice that was against God’s will? All these thoughts waged war in my head, so much so that I just wanted to lie in bed and mope. I wanted to cry out to God so badly, but no words formed. My only comfort was knowing that even without words, God knew my innermost thoughts and feelings, the groans of my heart, because the Spirit intercedes for us (Romans 8:26-27).
Still, there were moments when I felt that God wasn’t near me. I sang worship songs and begged Him to make His presence known. I kept repeating the verse “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). I clung to this verse, but I had no idea when I would see the “good” of my situation show up.
My sister reminded me that God always provides, and that He would show up when I need Him most. But at that time, I could only wonder, “How much worse must things get before Jesus helps me?”
Learning to be Still Before God
One night, after the long, gruelling week and having just declared scripture, the song “Still” (by Hillsong Worship) suddenly came to mind. It was a song that I hadn’t sung in years. The lyrics deeply comforted me because it described what I was going through—that in the midst of storms and floods, God is in control, and so we can be still and find rest in Him.
Even though I still didn’t understand why things were happening the way they were, singing this song brought me much comfort and peace, and for the first time in days, I went to bed with fresh new hope for the coming dawn.
Through that moment, I was assured of God’s perfect timing and ongoing good work in my life, whether or not I saw or felt it; I was reminded that His ways are higher than my ways, and His power greater than my struggle.
The next morning, I woke up to renewed hope in my heart. Then I saw a message from the HR manager from the company that I really wanted to intern at. Apparently, they reviewed their process and asked if I was still available. I couldn’t believe the words I read. Exactly one week ago, I had received the news that I did not pass the assessments. And now, one week later, I was told that I had been reconsidered and would be offered a placement. It truly baffled me, but I was beyond grateful and joyful at how things turned out.
A Bible story that really resonated with me during this time was that of Peter and the storm (Matthew 14:22-31). Instead of focusing on Jesus, he was frightened by the storm, which caused him to start sinking. In the same way, I had been so overwhelmed by the mental and emotional storm I was in that I had begun to sink. But just like how He reached out His hand to hold Peter, Jesus, too, reached out to hold me. “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31)–reading these words felt like Jesus was speaking them to me Himself.
Before this encounter, I had thought that my faith was already strong, but I was wrong. There’s no such thing as having reached the highest level of faith; we can always grow further and deeper in it in the course of our spiritual growth.
Looking back now, I know that I was not alone. Although there were instances when I wondered where God was, I knew deep down that I had never been abandoned. The mustard seed of faith in me allowed me to cling onto a sliver of hope despite how seemingly hopeless the situation was. Jesus had always been there, offering quiet comfort, just as He promised that when we pass through the waters, He will be with us (Isaiah 43:2). Despite a most difficult week, Jesus provided the strength I needed every day to wake up and go about my tasks. I know He was there beside me, giving me strength and hope to keep going.
Whatever season you are in now, I pray that you will cling onto the truth that God is present and in control, and that He loves and cares for you. When you are at your lowest point and the suffering seems to never end, run to Jesus and ask for strength and courage, and trust that He is a generous, merciful, and faithful God. He will see you through the most difficult seasons of your life, just as He did for me.