the Amazon.com experience

Some of you know I spent two hours yesterday morning interviewing for an Amazon.com Financial Analyst Intern position. It was a big Friday, perhaps worth a significant stepping stone in my future, but in hindsight, most likely not. Without spilling over into unnecessary (and confidential) details, I spoke individually with four separate interviewers for half an hour, each of them tossing slightly different questions my way. From my perspective and emotional state, the first three segments were at least going alright; it was the fourth that destroyed me. The technicality of questions combined with on-the-spot pressure were meant to break a person, and I can safely say I was defeated, silenced, and humbled to the core, drawing mental blanks and arriving at few statements of any value or relevance whatsoever. But this is all minutiae. What I want to focus on is something else entirely.

The beauty of the situation exposed itself through the support of the Church, and then through my humiliation. I asked those I love to pray with me earnestly before the interview happened, that God might guide whatever circumstances were to pass. I know that prayer is heard by God and it can change outcomes, so I wanted the support from brothers and sisters in my family to join me in an attitude that submits to his sovereign rule. I feel far too blessed to be surrounded by people that would do this by the power of the Spirit, and if you’re reading this, I thank you. I had dwelt on a very timely passage in my reading of John, where it is said, “whatever you ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” [John 14:13]. According to this text, it was not even an outcome I was ultimately searching for; rather, God changes our minds to glorify him by praying. And so, according to John Piper, the benefit of multiple people joining together in this activity, is just this:

the more people there are praying for something, and thus depending on God for mercy and power, the more people will give him thanks and glorify him when the answer comes.

Secondly, for the last twenty minutes of the interview, I felt like a fool. I was not prepared for the conceptual financial difficulty of the questions, and my mind froze and was unable to come up with answers that didn’t sound ridiculous. As someone who is dissatisfied with imperfection on one extreme and lying-to-impress on the other, I sat in silence looking down ashamedly, trying to get my mind to ponder something other than my inabilities. Reflecting on this overnight, I am realizing it is these very weaknesses that only the power of God can overcome. I could have put my head in books, become phenomenal in my field, put in hours and hours of study and preparation, but humans still don’t ever measure up, do they? Industries everywhere use the word “human” as an adjective, as if to believe universally that we are destined to fail. Well, there was one who didn’t fail at anything he set out to do: the man Jesus Christ, who was one with God. His death was not a failure, for he knew all along that he was to bear it; failure would have been comfortably ducking out of his road to execution, but he willingly went to take the punishment for all our “human” problems. And now, by grace through faith, this event sets us free from sin to no longer cower, lie, cheat, steal, kill, hate, or fear. He offers hope and redemption in all these places humans fail, and for this he is glorified. 

So today, God gets glory because I fall short. He is all the more excellent and perfect in comparison, which is the way I need to see him anyway. 
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