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The One About the Leaving Present

It’s 21 December. William, a senior manager in a large manufacturing business, is making a few phone calls to members of his team to wish them happy Christmas. His last call is to Jasmit.

After the seasonal well-wishing, Jasmit says, ‘I wanted to speak to you. I wanted to thank you. If it wasn’t for you and the support that you have shown me, I would not be alive today.’

William’s eyes fill with tears.

Jasmit’s is a story of perseverance through tough times, of good days and difficult days, of sickness and health, of lows and highs. Yes, over the years William had prayed occasionally for Jasmit as he did for others in his team, but never in a way that would have prepared him for what God was to do.

She’d joined his team four years earlier. Competent and dependable, she’d made an excellent start. As time went by, however, it became apparent that she had a legacy of significant health issues, which manifested themselves in ongoing conditions, some minor, some more serious. Bewilderingly, no one could figure out what was at the root of it all. Her capacity to meet her objectives diminished and she began to be off sick as much as she was in work. Still, over time, with support from the company’s occupational health team and her GP and hospital, she was able to manage a slow, phased return. It wasn’t long before she was back working fulltime. Case closed.

Except that three months later William received a text to say that Jasmit was struggling with her emotional health and was seeking counselling support. By early March she had deteriorated rapidly, to the point where her GP declined to let her leave the surgery until the mental health Crisis Team were involved.

William surged into action.

First, he ensured that the company HR and occupational health teams provided the support she needed to back up the excellent care she was receiving from the NHS. Secondly, he insisted that Jasmit message him at least once every day so that he knew she was still OK. And thirdly, his prayers got a whole lot more specific, particularly about her health.

And so William was completely taken aback when five weeks later he received a text telling him that she had begun attending her local village church. This was rapidly followed by news that she had joined a home group and was playing a full part in the church. God had intervened, marvellously and spectacularly, to, as William put it, ‘save his precious daughter.’

Jasmit’s turnaround was so dramatic that only four weeks after the Crisis Team were first involved, she was discharged back to the care of her GP. Only a couple of months after that, she was back in work full-time, sunnier and happier than at any time William had known her. Case closed, once again.

That autumn, Jasmit developed a small IT application for William’s team, which had the potential to reduce costs as well as deliver improved visibility of data. Once piloted, William arranged for Jasmit to present her work informally to their department head.

The presentation went well, and the business potential was clear, and William rapidly received a request to release Jasmit from his team so that she could deliver this solution into the wider business. He was totally amazed: God hadn’t only rescued Jasmit from untold harm and brought her into his kingdom, now he’d opened the doors to prosper her professionally.

At no time in the past four years, William realised, would Jasmit have been physically or emotionally strong enough to move into a new team. He certainly would have been concerned for her. But now she was stronger and more robust, ready to step into the next adventure – alive, both physically and spiritually, thanks to God’s direct intervention in her life and the promptings of the Holy Spirit that had guided William in speech and action over the months and years. He’d been her manager, yes, but, in many ways, her pastor too. Jasmit, however, didn’t feel ready. She was excited but daunted. William encouraged her, ‘The God who turned your life the right way up will not let you down. It’s time to leave the nest. You’re ready to fly.’

For him, it had been ‘an extraordinary privilege and an honour’ to walk alongside Jasmit and to see the story unfold in ways he simply could not have imagined – God’s ways are not our ways.

A couple of months on from that Christmas phone call, William, after over 30 years in the company, took voluntary redundancy. And when he left, everything was in excellent shape. His team was in outstanding form, his major projects were all running smoothly, and his final big project had just hit the production lines. It felt like a gift from God to be able to log off with such a sense of peace. But the Lord had more in mind.

Not long after William left he got an email from Jasmit. She’d applied for a management position in a prestigious and even larger global business. And, after an intense round of interviews and assessment centres, she’d got the job. As she wrote, ‘I guess you were right about me being ready to fly!’ And then she added, ‘Yes, Jesus has been guiding, blessing, and protecting me in every walk of my life.’

William could hardly have wished for a better leaving present.

 

***

How might you minister grace and love to those around you?

Is there someone who’s supported you through thick and thin? Give thanks for them.

‘Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.’

EPHESIANS 3:20–21

 


 

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