A Melbourne prison had commenced their annual recruiting campaign. I was genuinely excited because the prison offered training to candidates and I liked the idea of assisting with someone's rehabilitation. But there was one major problem: more than 330 people applied for the job. The prison was only looking for 10 people who could demonstrate healthy work experience and solid life skills.
My resume consisted of only one full-time job held for about eight months. Most of my life has been spent in a classroom studying-- hardly the life experience they were looking for. But I felt God say to me, "If you believe I can give you this job, claim it as yours right now. From this point onward do not apply for anything else. After I give you this job, you must let it be known that I promised it was yours before you could even see it."
It took extraordinary faith. The prison wouldn't be finalising their top 10 candidates for three months. A lot of decent jobs can pass by in three months. I feared I might be taking my faith to an extreme level. Was God really going to give me this job?
After days of spiritual wrestling, I decided to follow the voice. At first it was weird because I went from spending eight hours a day on job searching to none. I reasoned that the break was good for me, since all my efforts for the past five months were failed attempts anyway.
Since God assured me I'd be working in a prison, I decided I'd better start exercising so that's what I did for three months. But I also used the time to pray and daily meditate on God's promises. Long-term unemployment is a spiritual battle and only through God's word could I remain joyful in the midst of troubling circumstances.
As the months wore on, I was amazed at how God keeps His promises to His children. Every day felt like an eternity of uncertainty and waiting but ever so slowly, God began to weed out the 330 applicants. I wished He would move faster but looking back, I'm glad God gave me those three months to rely fully on Him.
One day, I received news from the prison, "Congratulations! You're in our top 100." I sat on a park bench where I spent most of my days talking with God and began to praise Him and thank Him. I left our meeting spot confident God would provide all my needs. The war of faith continued but God's word is much stronger. Satan's doubts were quickly losing credibility.
Eventually, I received more news, "Congratulations! There are only 37 of you left." It was drawing to the final stages now and I was amazed at how God was keeping me in the race. Some may call it coincidence but when you spend enough time in prayer, you realise God is more than just coincidence.
Finally, it came down to an Assessment Centre. This is where 30 of us were divided into groups of five and given the opportunity to demonstrate our team skills. I left the Assessment Centre convinced I had just done everything humanly possible to fail. The other candidates seemed to be completing the tasks with great ease but I was fumbling and continually second guessing myself. My work was filled with crossed out sentences and arrows pointing to separate thoughts I'd forgotten to mention.
Fortunately, we have a God who is faithful to His promise--the kind of God who gives you a job in May and tells you to hold out until August. After the Assessment Centre, I was mentally and spiritually exhausted for a week. I had done every test and interview required of me, waited three months and now the only thing left was for God to carry me over the finish line. I continued to pray.
Then came the breakthrough I had been waiting on for the past three months: "Congratulations! We would love to have you on board." I could have kept my story to myself but that was not part of the original agreement. By telling this story, I hope glory has been given back to God. Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5, 6. Stephane Millien lives in Hampton Park, Victoria.