This coincided with having to complete a re-accreditation process for our business, along with negotiating a new wage package with our staff. We were uncertain if the latter should be drawn up under the provisions of the then new and unpopular Australian industrial relations laws and were unsure how this would be received by the staff. All this was in addition to maintaining my usual full-time nonadministrative work.
By midyear I was feeling worn down and strung out. The reportwriting requirement of my work was being severely neglected. Often I would try to complete these tasks in the evenings or on weekends. Aware that this was intruding into--in reality, invading--family time, I was conscious to try to set some limits on how far this invasion would be allowed to extend.
Each morning during June as I entered my office, I was greeted by piles of files, each one requiring seemingly Herculean mental effort to prepare and complete. I would find myself questioning where on earth I was going to find the time and energy to make a dent in things. By July, none of the files had shifted. Whole weekends were being taken up with church activities and two of the next three included our local church camp and a Pathfinder camp.
As I arrived at my office each morning I found myself saying, "God, where am I going to find the time to get these reports done?" As the week before our church camp neared its end with no reports written, my morning thought became, "God, please give me the time to get this paperwork completed."
I headed off to the church camp on Friday afternoon, knowing it was time I could ill-afford to lose. However, I knew it would be a good time of family fun and relaxation with friends. There may have even been a chance for some spiritual refreshment.
The weekend went well. I managed to keep work demands out of mind most of the time. Chatting with friends was nice. Spending time in worship was great. Walking in the bush and on the beach was refreshing.
Sunday morning, my mind started to drift back toward work. Fortunately, my daughters coaxed me into a game of basketball with them. Thoughts of work evaporated. After 20 minutes or so, a few others joined in and things started to get competitive.
Then my Achilles tendon ruptured. A simple jump shot and bang! It was all I needed! How was I going to fit getting that fixed into my packed schedule? The mental anguish almost blocked the physical pain of the injury from my mind. I rang my work partner and our office manager with the news, telling them I hoped to be back at work on the Wednesday, given how much I had on my plate. Before long, I was in a hospital gown with an orthopaedic surgeon confirming all my thoughts regarding the injury and its management. Except for one thing. He ordered that I keep off my leg, with my foot elevated, for the next three weeks. To do otherwise would significantly increase the chance of poor healing and rerupture of the tendon. Further, he ordered that I not return to work during that convalescent period. I protested. I did not have time to take the time! About a day and a half later it dawned on me: God had answered my prayer! I now had the time to complete the paperwork I had been struggling with. God's solution was nothing like I had imagined. It was, however, exactly what I needed.
God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11.
Hamley Perry works in the area of health and lives with his family in Hobart, Tasmania.