God as CEO
Unconventional but miraculous. That was how William Lai experienced God as his CEO through his company's worst crisis.
By Kristine Lee
1965 – the year Singapore gained her independence was also the year William Lai's father started his own business in construction supplies. Fast forward 52 years, William took over the flagging business. Earnings were enough to pay the wages of 13 staff but not enough to pay off bank loans. William tried everything he could to revive the business.
"I was everywhere. In the office, in the warehouse. I would often work till 9pm. This ate into my time with my family," William recalled. But things still didn't pick up.
Three years later, William made a decision. "I asked God to be the CEO of the company."
New mandate, surprising blessings
"'Bless all your staff' was God's first instruction to me. God wanted my staff to experience blessings from Him. Then He gave me all the plans to do so, including introducing quarterly performance bonus."
Once William surrendered the business to God, he felt the burden lifted off his shoulders. Work became a breeze. "I had so much time I could go on holidays," William expressed in delight. He also soon found out he was healed of Type 2 Diabetes. "For the first time in 20 years, I no longer needed to take medication for my diabetes," he exclaimed.
That was the beginning of miraculous blessings from God, the CEO. As William followed God's blueprint, the business began to turnaround. Even though there were now quarterly bonuses instead of one year-end bonus, the business started making profits. For the first time, the business no longer had any bank debt. William's sister, the Financial Controller of the company, was stunned. Though a pre-believer, she and other staff recognized the hand of God upon the business.
William recounted one incident. "Our company had confirmed the choice of a Chinese national as our driver. But a different guy turned up. Everyone was shocked. I soon found out this new staff's grandmother was the only Christian in the village where he came from. I immediately knew that this 'mix-up' of staff was God's arrangement. We built a relationship and I brought him to Trinity's Chinese service one day where he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior."
The unconventional CEO
But this year, William's declaration of God as CEO was tested. Since May, business declined sharply because of COVID-19. It was down by 75% compared to the previous year. On the retail front, cash collected was less than $100 on some days. On the business front, because of the Circuit Breaker, William's clients were unable to receive their goods and pay them. But William had to pay the manufacturers for their orders. Bad debts started accumulating.
"I tried very hard to find solutions on my own, and even thought of letting my elderly staff go. But God stopped me. He impressed upon me that He loves them and does not abandon anyone in crisis. In fact, this was the time to care for them even more."
In a time where mass retrenchments were common, William obeyed God and went against business logic to keep his staff. "Bless your staff." God's directive echoed in William's mind. His staff was amazed. "Can't find another company like this one now," was the sentiment William heard. But the decision did not come easy.
Who's in control?
"Money was still going out and nothing was coming in! I was overwhelmed with panic. My mind was consumed with the situation. The more I depended on myself, the more confused and troubled I became. I could not sleep and started having panic attacks."
William's Connect Group was supportive. They kept praying for him. "But I was still consumed by my problems. This went on for weeks. Finally completely burnt out, I broke down. Realizing I was self-absorbed in trying to solve my challenges instead of seeking God, I cried out to God for help.
I heard God say, 'Son, let go. Rest in me. I’m still in control. Focus on me, not your situations.' I broke down and surrendered to God. Instantly, I felt God's peace and strength coming upon me. I realized God's peace was always available. It was I who had chosen to leave His peace by my own strife."
Blessings and favor!
Amazingly, two days later, an urgent and profitable order came in. That very evening, William's Connect Group's sharing was Jeremiah 29:11 and Philippians 4:6 – exactly the two verses God had been speaking to William about. "I felt so overwhelmed by God's care for me," he recounted.
And a week later, William's company received their biggest order. "The order was so big we could not use our usual supplier, and had to look for an overseas one. By God's grace, He gave us favor there too! This supplier turned out to be cheaper than our usual. The earnings from this one sale covered three months of our warehouse rental! My sister and the staff were surprised. They could see how this was clearly God's blessing."
Just when William thought that was already very good, in end June, God blessed them with two more repeat orders of the same big order. William excitedly reviewed, "The total quantity of these three orders is seven-fold of what we would usually get. From the backlog of confirmed orders that will eventually be picked up and paid for, I can foresee our overall results for this year will be even better than previous years. What a turnaround from the 75% loss!"
Upon reflection, William realized that their April sales was unusually good. God had already given them some buffer before the crisis. "Yet, instead of looking to God, I let the crisis get the better of me. But when I let God take reign as the CEO, nothing could stop His plans for my staff to experience His blessings. Not the Circuit Breaker. Not COVID-19. He is indeed over all and my CEO! Praise God!"
Reflect & Respond
How have you seen your circumstances or perspective change when you turn to God and let Him reign in your situation? Is there someone you can share your story or this story with?
What promise is God reminding you of as you read this testimony and His Word? Can you surrender your circumstances to a God who cares and is still with you?
How does knowing that God does not abandon anyone in crisis impact you? What difference does this make in light of challenges you face? Would you like to know this God more or receive this God? Follow this prayer: Jesus, thank You for dying on the cross for me. I am sorry that I have sinned against You. I now turn away from all my sins. Please forgive me of all my sins and be my God and the Leader of my life. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen. Get in touch with us via email or join us in our online Guest Reception after services. We would like to help you get to know God more.