A Dash of Determinism and a Pinch of Free Will: Seeking God’s Direction in the Job Market

What is God’s will? Does he care if we do one thing or another? Does he have a specific, cryptic plotline that I need to follow in order to attain true happiness? I have grown up with an interesting theology in regards to “God’s will” or “God’s plan.” I have grown up with a theology that straddles between the line of determinism and free will. Surprisingly, I have not casted this thought aside. I merely want to expand upon this idea in relation to my job search.

Ever since my graduation from Fresno Pacific University on the eighth of May 2015, I have been on the job hunt. I would take my proverbial shiny new diploma to many stores, restaurants, and companies. and I thought that someone, anyone, would be interested in a young strapping lad who already has a bachelor’s degree. Surely, someone would hire me, right?

Nope.

Not one.

After the thirty some-odd companies I applied to, I got one interview. I went to said interview. Kicked the interview in its rear end.

Still didn’t get hired.

After receiving that devastating email three days ago, I wanted to waste away in despair.

Of course, my mother wouldn’t have that. She doesn’t like me doing unproductive things, such as “despairing.”

But it didn’t make much sense. I prayed that I’d get a job. I did my darndest to get a job. I believe that I did everything right when it comes to searching for a job. So, what went wrong?

No picking idea.

However, my family believes that there is a specific reason why God has not allowed me to get a job, since I specifically prayed for one. Maybe it’s because there is a better job out there, or some other reason that is for my well being. Who knows?

So this is where the theology comes in.

This is how our prayers work in discerning God’s plan: we first begin with a condition, we see if the condition follows, and hopefully we can decipher what God wants. For biblical folks, I reference the story of Gideon and his fleece. Only, we don’t test God a second time.

Prayer One (How my family prays and the ideal consequences that follow)

Premise One: If it is in God’s plan to get a job at X place, then let me get a job at X place

Premise Two: I got a job at X place.

Conclusion: Therefore, obviously, it is God’s will that I work at X place.

Prayer Two (My prayer, and what actually happens)

Premise One: God, please, give me a freakin’ job.

Premise Two (guaranteed): God gave me no jobs in Visalia after a month of job hunting.

Conclusion: Well. Dang.

Often God communicates his will for me through the openings and closings of doors. And often, the open doors connect with my spirit. Often I know I’m going to thrive when I take advantage of an open door. I would like to think that God can clearly show us his will through conditional prayers, and I think sometimes he does—but I also think that he is concerned with perseverance, diligence, and us relying on him—and not our own abilities.

Unfortunately I don’t find my future very cut and dry. The job market in Visalia is not working out for me, and I’m not sure what I need to do about it. Do I keep going at it, or do I try to renovate my strategy? And what would my strategy even be? Who knows? I clearly don’t. Jay Kim, a teaching pastor at Westgate Church, told me this in regards to discerning God’s will for my life—and I will always carry it with me. He said: “Pray hard, and guess.” I don’t think I’ll always be fully sure on what God wants for me. All I know is that I need to love him and others to the best of my ability. That’s all I know for certain.

So, in regards to God’s will for my career, that’s what I’m going to do.

Pray Hard.

Guess.

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