5 Jan 2013 by Mindy Oon CM-
Musically inclined, Joel Stephenson always had a passion for music. However, Ipoh, his hometown is not the place to be for one to break into the music scene in Malaysia. Still, he did not leave for KL and served the Lord until God called him to go. As always it is difficult for one to wait for God to say ‘yes’, especially when one knows that he or she is born to do that something. However, as he waited and matured in the Lord, God provided everything he needed when the time was right.
A Job Provided
When Joel finally got the green light to move to KL to pursue his music career, he prayed and asked the Lord to provide a place to stay, a car and a good paying job. With only an SPM cert, it was not an easy thing to do as these days university graduates are a dime a dozen. However, with much prayer, he began to see things happening. The country manager of an Australian company approached a friend of his and asked if anyone was available to be a Web Coordinator. No qualification was needed, as long as he could speak English well. His friend told him about the job opportunity and the next day Joel went to the head office in Kelana Square. When he arrived, he was called to the office to speak with the Country Manager, bypassing other applicants who were there for their interview. Within minutes Joel was offered the job, and all the papers were signed that very day. Not only did God provide a well paying job, but the office was located barely five minutes away from his home.
Band Members Coming Together
As the main reason Joel left for KL was to pursue music, one of the items on his prayer list was for a band. As he continued to trust for the correct people to come aboard, God brought a talented guitarist, drummer, and bassist. Remembering a prophesy he had received a few years ago that said that he would ‘find band members by asking God for musicians’, there was not doubt in his mind that God was the one who brought the band together, and that if God was the one who brought the band together, there would be a mission for the band. Called 40 days, the band aims to bring the message of life and change to the world through songs about hope, peace and love. With a single coming out soon, and 3 concert performances in January and February, 40 days is something new and different worth looking out for.
‘You don’t need to look for men’s favor when you have God’s favor’
One of the things that Joel observed in his workplace was how certain employees would do everything to please their superiors by giving them cigarettes and paying for their food. According to one of his colleagues ‘You will not be able to climb the corporate ladder if you don’t do some shoe polishing. See, all of the general managers know me.’ However, Joel did not agree to this and said to his colleague ‘You don’t have to please people like that. You don’t need to look for men’s favour when you have God’s favor’. His colleague scoffed at him for being so ‘naïve’ until a few weeks later when to their amazement the CEO of the Australian office visited and asked for one person – Joel. Till this day, Joel is not exactly sure why and how the CEO asked for him, but he knows that without God’s favor, the CEO would not have asked how he was, how he was coping with his job, and talked to him. Indeed when we have God’s favor upon us, things that we do not expect can and will happen.
Running Away from Temptations
Other challenges that Joel faced were the pressure to drink and since he is pretty good looking (in my opinion), girls. I have been told that ‘I am not a man if I don’t drink. While I don’t think that it is wrong to have a few as long as we don’t get drunk, it is my personal conviction not to drink’. One night, when attended his colleagues wedding, he was pressured by those around him to sleep with a girl who was giving him all the ‘signals’. “I had to use all my energy to resist from giving in to the pressure. If I had gone for it, it would be the start of going down the wrong path. It is the choice that I have made since I was young not to be with anyone except my future wife”. As with Joel, all of us are surrounded with temptations whether it be girls, or something else. However, we need to know that God gives us the strength to make the right decision, and like Joel, we need to choose the right path, and sometime the right path is to run away from temptation real fast.
As Joel sees God coming through for him time and again, there is no doubt that he has a loving Father who cares for him. We too, have a loving Father who cares for us and we need to understand that we can always run to Him. Remember today that we have a Father who will never leave us, not forsake us.