I have been studying the book of Esther and the theme of providence this past month. Providence in this study is defined as that frequently mysterious, always interesting way in which Yahweh provides for His servants in their various needs (Professor Dale Ralph Davis). God’s providence explains the fact that in life there is no chance happening. Everything in our lives is orchestrated by God, whether we know it or not. Nothing takes him by surprise. There are two stories at play in our lives – the one we see before us and the back story, which is God’s story.
Where we find ourselves at this moment is not a coincidence. God has us exactly where we need to be at this point in our lives. It may feel and look like a mistake, but God is using even that which seems like a mistake for your good. Nothing is too broken for him to redeem.
Where we find ourselves at this moment is not a coincidence. God has us exactly where we need to be at this point in our lives.
In my life, I have frequently felt like where I am at a given point in time is as a result of a mistake or chance, and it is only in retrospect that it clearly was never so.
One of these many times was two years ago when I travelled to Kampala to visit my mum who was unwell. My husband and I had taken a while planning for this visit mainly because my usual bus travel would be cumbersome with a nine-month-old in tow. We were therefore researching the cheapest flights, saving money, and working out all the dynamics that come with travelling with a baby. I ended up travelling in May rather than April as planned.
I was unemployed then and really needed a job so we decided that I would also use my month-long visit to search for a job here, even though we had only just started toying with the idea of moving back to Kampala.
I got to Kampala and spent most of my days at home with my daughter, attending to Mama. I did apply for jobs on referral but with very little enthusiasm. A lot was going on at that time. Mama was in and out of hospital. Each time I planned to travel back to Nairobi, Mama got admitted. She would get better briefly only to be back again. This went on for the whole month of July until she passed away on July 29th 2018.
She passed away on a Sunday morning, and on Monday 30th July 2018, I was called in for a job interview. Talk about bad timing! To put it lightly, I really was in no state for an interview. I remember telling the gentleman who had called with the invitation that I would not make it as I had just lost my mum the previous day and her body would be arriving home for the vigil on the day of the interview. I asked if they could push it by a week and he promised to inquire and get back to me.
I talked to my sisters about it and my elder sister encouraged me to go. She reminded me of the fact that I badly needed this job. Even though it didn’t feel like it at that moment, this was an answered prayer and there would still be a life to live after Mama’s burial.
The gentleman called back after a few minutes informing me that the interview would not be pushed. He encouraged me to go for it as well, and I agreed. I was given the liberty to choose a convenient time, and to this day I cannot believe I had to make a decision based on when my mother’s body would arrive for the vigil. I chose 9 am, just to get that out of the way early and get back home to help with all the preparations. When I woke up the next day I had changed my mind. It was only after more encouragement from my sisters (God bless them) that I mustered the courage to go. I arrived two hours late but I was allowed to interview. I left that room sure I had failed the interview.
From then on it was burial arrangements and finally the burial on Wednesday 1st August 2018. That evening, we were talking in the kitchen with my siblings when I opened my emails (I do not know why I was checking my emails hours after I buried my mum), and there was the email congratulating me on passing the interview. I had always imagined a huge celebration when I finally landed a job after having not worked for a year, but yet there I was, in anything but a celebratory mood.
In just one week, my whole life had changed. I lost my mom, got a job and that essentially meant I had to move countries again. It all left me feeling so frazzled.
Looking back though, I see God’s providence written all over the events that happened during this time. For instance;
It was not a coincidence that I travelled in May and not in April. Had I travelled earlier, I probably would have returned to Nairobi in June or early July and would have been away when Mama died. One of the things I am forever grateful to God for is that I was in the country when Mama passed away. I cannot imagine getting that phone call, I shudder at the thought of it. When I was away and Mum was sick I hated getting phone calls from home. I always thought, ‘this is it, the phone call informing me of my mum’s death.’ I thank God that it did not happen as I had dreaded.
It was God’s providence that I landed the interview a day after Mama’s death. I was still in a state of shock and I could still push myself to do some things. A week down the road or even a month, I am certain I would not have gone for this interview. The grief hit hard in the following weeks and months and many times all I wanted to do was stay curled up in bed. This job also helped me have something to push myself out of bed for. I could not just stay home all day; I had to show up at work. And not just show up, but be present because I was learning the ropes of a new job. Also, if this interview had come later, I would probably have travelled back home to Nairobi by then and willing myself as well as planning to travel back for an interview would have been so much harder. I probably would have second guessed the decision.
Moving countries meant that I got to grieve Mum’s death with my family. Being with my family during this time has been a huge blessing and it was all possible because I got that job. Being away from family and friends can get lonely, but that coupled with grief… I cannot imagine just how much harder it would have been. I have always considered it God’s perfect timing that I moved back when I did.
This experience two years ago taught me that God is in charge of our lives to even the minutest detail you can imagine. Down to the very second everything should happen.
The family you were born in, the opportunities you have had, the job you are currently at, where you are currently living, the century you were born and lived in, it is all God’s providence. It is not a mistake or by chance and when we look back at our lives closely, we shall be able to trace God’s providence throughout.
Yunia Kazibwe is the founder of Adulting Out Loud. She is a wife, and mother to an amazing little girl. When she is not writing for the blog or recording for the podcast, Yunia loves spending lazy days with family, watching movies and catching up on a good series. Though she doesn’t currently have one, she loves cats.
Yunia prefers texting to phone calls, enjoys taking walks, and her favourite snack is popcorn. She often plays pranks on people, and only stops laughing to catch a breath.