STORIES OF FAITH
BATTLE IT ON YOUR KNEES!
Have you ever experienced what starts off as a normal day but it ends as a nightmare? I did. I was in my office one Friday afternoon over two years ago when I was handed a letter of suspension. After reading it, I was numb, stunned, and shocked at the allegations made against me, which screamed ‘False!’ I thank God for strength that I did not break down. I had been Company Secretary for almost five years at this workplace. The Chief Security Officer came to oversee me pack my items and told me to leave the company laptop and car. The news of my suspension had spread quickly, and as I stepped into a car that was availed to take me home, I saw people peeping from windows and doorways. What a humiliation that was!
As I tried to process everything it all appeared like a dream. I must have been going through the Kubler-Ross change curve depicted in the stages below:
Shock: Initial paralysis on hearing the bad news
Denial: “This can’t be true! This can’t be happening to me!”
Anger: “WHY is this happening? What happened? Who is to blame?”
Bargaining: “Let not this happen Lord! My children still need to grow and complete their studies …”
Depression: “I’m too sad to do anything, I have lost all hope.”
Testing: Seeking realistic solutions. “What do I do?”
Acceptance: “I’m at peace with what happened.”
I informed my husband of what had happened, and I could not eat and hardly slept that night, agonising on what had happened and how I was going to deal with it. I do not even remember what prayer I said that night. It could have been something close to what Jesus prayed, Lord let this cup pass. In the days to come, I shared the sad news with my family, my prayer partners, and the pastor. One of my brothers in Bulawayo told the Bishop of our church about the issue. My family and my prayer partners and church ministers engaged in prayer on my behalf. One of my brothers sent me prayer points which I prayed on for weeks and months. We engaged in spiritual warfare prayers.
At times I was in denial. I prayed and hoped that the nightmare would soon be over, and I would be called back to work. I was hurt particularly that I was being accused of something that I was not involved in. As days passed, I surrendered everything to God. I later learnt that six of us executive managers had also been laid off and each one had a different charge.
Testimony within a Testimony
Meantime, I continued in prayer, and I am grateful for my prayer partners and those that stood with me at the time. I realised that this battle was not mine but the Lord’s. I stood on the word given to King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20:15, where he was told, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For this battle is not yours, but God’s.” I also kept in mind the word of God to Prophet Jeremiah, “They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you” Jeremiah 1:19. I then recalled a time when I had faced a similar situation some years back in a previous job. One of the managers had been retrenched and he refused to hand back the company car. The company sought to recover the car through the court process. When he was served with the court papers, he went to report to the police that I had personally and fraudulently withheld payment of his pension, yet I was not responsible for processing the payroll. I attended court several times as an accused person and I prayed the following Psalms:
- “May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you” Psalm 25:21.
- “Contend, Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me” Psalm 35:1.
- All of Psalm 121 where I lifted my eyes to the Lord as I knew my help would come from Him who neither slumbers nor sleeps.
- I also stood on the invitation tendered by our Lord Jesus for such as I, when he said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28.
When the prosecution realised the accuser’s lies, he stopped coming to court and the charges against me and the company were dropped. Although I was angry, I tried to pray for my accuser. It is hard to pray for one’s persecutors but once we let God fight our battles, it becomes easier.
Back to main testimony
The hearing was postponed several times. Some weeks after the aborted hearing, my lawyers advised that the board had decided on negotiations for a mutual settlement. The negotiations for a separation package started and were not easy. We did not get what we would have wanted, however there are times when one must accept the situation and move on, trusting in God’s provision.
The whole situation was spiritually, physically, emotionally, and financially draining. Some days I would feel fine, but on other days I would be depressed and anxious about the future. My son had started university in the United Kingdom (UK); and my daughter was in her 6th Form, soon going to varsity also. One day I came across my daughter’s motivation letter applying for university places and she had written how it was disheartening for her to see me sad and to deal with the situation. She immersed herself in her schoolwork. We thank God she did well, attaining three As, and as a result, she was awarded two scholarships when she started university. It could only be God at work. One day as I was taking her to school, the car started boiling and we were late. After I dropped her and stopped at a garage, I parked the car and cried. If I still had my job, I would be having a car that was in good condition and would not be using an old car.
It never rains but pours
Four months after I lost my job, my dear mother who had been ill for a while passed on. As if that was not enough, in January of the following year, my father-in-law passed on. We were devastated. I went through the Kubler-Ross change curve once again. I held onto God’s promises in Isaiah 43:2, where God says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”I also appropriated for myself Psalm 23, believing that my good Shepherd was with me. I was encouraged that these very sad and heavy times shall pass. Did God also not say he never allows us to be tempted beyond what we can bear, in 1 Corinthians 10:13. I had to soldier on.
Breakthrough from a breakdown
I prayed that I would get another job or start a business. I applied for jobs and attended several interviews. There were prospects that I would be offered jobs, but these never materialised. I was concerned that since I was above 50 years of age, I would not get a job. One day, I refreshed my Linked in profile and saw an advertisement for those interested in jobs in Europe to send their CVs. I submitted my CV and within a week, I got a call from the agent that there were prospective jobs in Europe. He asked me which countries I wanted to work in and in two weeks I had an interview. The second interview was on my birthday. That was like a good omen. Two days before Christmas of 2021, I got an offer from my current employer. God had answered my prayers in ways beyond what I could imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Landing a good job in the UK was more than a miracle. It was as if God was putting together stage by stage his amazing plan for us to be together as a family. Our son had not been able to come back home for Christmas holidays due to the Covid-19 pandemic. My family was so happy and excited at the opportunity to be together soon.
On the 1st February 2022, we had moved to our new house that we had been building in Harare. The separation package helped us to bring it to some habitable state. On the same day, I got an email from my employer sending the work permit and information to start visa applications. My son was already in the UK on study visa. I had only told my husband about the job offer but had not told our daughter. We applied for visas, and it was only when the visas had come out in March that we shared the news with other people. Although my husband and I had thought we had kept the good news under wraps, when we collected the visas and told our daughter, she said she already knew. I asked how, and she said,
“Mum, I’m not a baby. First, I overheard you telling Dad when you got the job offer; and secondly, when we went for the TB tests and biometrics, I had an idea what it was all about.”
“Well, I’ll call your brother and tell him the good news,” I said.
“He already knows. I told him!”
That burst my bubble. As a family we were so grateful and thanked God for his goodness. We saw his hand coming through for us at such a time. I realised that God really works in miraculous ways. He is a God that restores. He provides and meets us at our time of need. He never fails us. When a door shuts, he opens another one and sometimes a better one too. His timing is always right. God’s favour, goodness and mercy had located me. I had gone for a year without a job and did not even think I’d get a job outside the country. It showed me that he is faithful and true to his word.
As days for departure drew closer, I went through the Kubler-Ross change curve a third time. Relocating from one’s country and settling in a foreign land is not an easy decision. It was an agonising time; however, I believe that this was all predestined by God and that he was taking me from a season of unfairness and pain to a new season of hope, Jeremiah 29:11. Someone said not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path. For people that get unfairly dismissed, I advise that one should seek God’s counsel first. Yes, there is always the legal route to challenge the dismissal. An unfair action should never be condoned, but one must hear and discern what God’s intentions are. Fight the battle on your knees. That is the best weapon one can use, surrendering it all to God. Sometimes such unfair actions taken are God’s way to shield you from something that may harm you in the future. At other times, it may be that your season in that place is over. Fight the battle with humility, trusting in God. It may be a painful and draining process, but God strengthens those that put their trust in him.
We are eternally grateful to God for this opportunity, and as we settle in the new land, I put all my faith in God trusting that he will sustain and see us through. Though we will face the storms of life, he will always be with us and will never leave nor forsake us. He is a faithful God, and his promises are a YES and AMEN! My final word is, learn to battle it on your knees!
Samukeliso Ndebele is a lawyer by profession. She is married to Thulani Ndebele, and they have two children who are at university in the U K. Nqobani Iphithanda, the first born is studying BA (Hons) Accounting with Finance, and Nomakhosi Londeka is studying MEng (Hons) Aerospace Engineering.
NB. All quoted scripture is from the New International Version (NIV) Bible.