I had prayed and reasoned with God to bring me out of the big factory if that was His will because I did not have the courage to step out in faith on my own especially as I was not 100% certain at that time that it was God’s voice that I was hearing. A few weeks after praying and reasoning with God I began to feel a pain in my right elbow, I could not remember hitting it off anything and hurting it but I thought that I probably had and not realized it.
The job that I did involved quite a bit of lifting and moving heavy components and as the days went by my elbow got steadily sorer. Like a lot of men I am very reluctant to visit the Doctor and I kept working through the pain until one day the pain was so intense I just had to stop. I made an appointment with my GP and he diagnosed me with having Tennis elbow. He told me that I would have to rest my elbow and give it a chance to heal. The work that I was engaged in would not give my elbow any chance whatsoever to get rest and heal.
I told the factory nurse what my Doctor had said and she made an appointment for me to see the company Doctor. He agreed with my GP and told me that I could not continue to do the work that I was engaged in and told me that I would have to take sick leave. I asked him how long he thought it might take to heal and I nearly died when he said that it could take up to two years because I had not sought medical advice earlier and as a result I had caused more damage to my elbow. Take note men, don’t delay going to the Doctor if you know something is wrong with you, delay may be your demise.
If you have ever suffered from Tennis elbow you will know the kind of pain associated with it. I could not lift a cup of coffee without feeling severe pain; I could not even hold a light fishing rod and reel. I was training four days a week and had to stop and this caused me to feel depressed and irritable. I was not someone who liked to sit and laze around, I was a worker but now that had been taken away from me. Some of the more mature generation have a saying, “Your health is your wealth”. It is quite true that we take so much in life for granted and we only appreciate some things after they have been taken from us. This was the situation that I found myself in and I did not like it, I had no control over the time that it would take for me to heal and it was an opportunity for God to show me and remind me of just how little we really are in control of in this life. There is a verse in scripture that says, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’S purpose that prevails”. (Proverbs 19:21.)
After a number of months of Physiotherapy the condition of my elbow had not changed in any significant way and from time to time I had to give an update to the company nurse. The company had a scheme whereby employees who had worked for the company for over ten years were paid full basic pay for a number of months and then went on to another scheme, as I said earlier it was a good company with good benefits and that was one of the reasons I was reluctant to leave and forfeit relative security for my family and myself.
By now it was September time and I had asked the company if it was possible for me to return to work and do light duties because I really was getting down not being able to work and even when walking any distance my arm would ache unless I had it supported in a sling. They told me that I could not return to work until the doctor deemed me fit to work and he could not do that until my elbow had healed. One day the personnel department contacted me and asked me to come in for a meeting and discuss my situation, they sent a taxi to get me as I could not drive because I had started a course of cortisone injections into my elbow.
To cut a long story short they wanted me to consider taking a severance package, I had never heard of this before during my time with the company but basically what it meant was that they would offer me a sum of money to terminate my contract. If I was not happy with their offer basically they would terminate it anyway and we would go to arbitration. They offered me a sum of money that I was not happy with and the mediator asked me what I thought was fair. I was the union health and safety representative in the company at the time and the company had very generously paid for my health and safety qualification.
I knew the figure that my union was proposing to the government concerning redundancy payments and it was a lot more than the offer on the table before me. I don’t think I was being greedy because the company had been good to me but I also had been good to them. In the fifteen and a half years that I was there I was never late once. When asked to work overtime and sometimes at very short notice I usually did. My annual reviews by my foreman were always good and I was engaged in first aid, company forum and health and safety, so I genuinely felt a little short changed with their settlement offer.
I told the mediator the sum that I thought would be fair and her jaw nearly dislocated but she went to the other room where the company representatives were and delivered my proposal. She was not away very long and I did not see this as a positive thing for me but I am happy to say that I was totally wrong. The company agreed to my figure which was approximately four times more than the first offer. I signed some documents one of which stated that I could not divulge the settlement that I had received and from that moment I was officially unemployed. September 2000.
What I did not understand at that time was that this was God answering my prayer and also showing me great favour at the same time. I had been honest with him and told him my fears and apprehensions and he had worked things out according to his purposes and plans. (11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart”. Jeremiah 29:11-13.) This was just the beginning of my new life adventures with my Great God. My time of working with machines had now come to an end and my new adventure of working with people would wonderfully begin to unfold.