CHURCH BUSINESS: You can absolutely bank on Him
By Oludare Mayowa
I once read a book with the title “for those who hurt.” Am not really sure I could recollect the name of the author nor the details of the content. However, significantly, the book was talking about how God uses our life experience to groom us into maturity.
Sometimes, we are allowed by God to pass through certain experiences of life so that we are able to console those who may also have to pass through similar route in the future. From the depth of our experience, we can then reach out to the wary souls and provide comfort for them.
Personally, I have found myself in some situations in life that seem perturb and greatly distressing, but at the end of the experience, I am always on the look out for something to learn and commit to heart.
Never will I pass through any life experience, either good or bad without glen out what are the lessons embedded therein. It would have been a waste of time if for instance l am allowed by God to go through hunger and lack for a season and I failed to bring something significant out of it all.
The word of God says “the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Ps 19:1. What this simply means in my own translation is that in everything God created, we can see his glory, his hands and purpose for mankind.
Often, we don’t look hard enough and closely to our environment, otherwise most things that happen to us won’t have happened. When we learn from the things we see, hear or even visualized, we are bound to take out some lessons therein that would be useful for our daily living.
Some years past, I went through some life experiences that had remained indelible in my heart to date. For me, those experiences have really helped my understanding of the value of doing good at all times irrespective of the feedback from those who are the recipients.
It was also an eye-opener that made me understand how resilient the spirit of man could be in a time of hardship. That no matter how tough the situation might be, if we don’t give up, we shall overcome it. “Out of the eater came something to eat. Out of the strong came something sweet.” Judges 14:14
What a parable, what a way to describe the mystery of divine presence in the midst of chaos. In whatever situation of life, we find ourselves in, we should think of the possible eatable or sweetness that can come out of it.
It was in the year 1984, back in my days in Ilesa, in now Osun state, Nigeria and I was in school back then when the military regime of General Mohammudu Buhari decided to changed the colour of the country currency in a bid to checkmate corrupt politicians who had hidden stolen money in different parts of the world.
A story was told of a politician who kept a large sum of money in his water tank, while another one kept his under the bed. The objective of the currency reform then was to recover the portion of the country’s money stolen by politicians and political office holders then.
However, like many Nigerians then, I was unable to change my little “pocket money” into the new notes because of the cumbersome nature of the banking process and the requirement for changing old notes to new ones.
Equally, it’s was increasingly impossible to transact any business with the old notes, making it tough for people to purchase food items and other essential needs. I happened to fall into this category of people, who were finding it extremely difficult to feed due to lack of money, this time as a result of the currency policy of the government.
As the situation became critical, morale was ebbing daily and the courage to keep going on was diminishing daily. For a whole week, I became a scavenger, eating mainly fruit pluck from the mango tree and possibly whatever I could lay my hands on, which were limited.
On a particular day, it was so damned bad, I couldn’t sleep as a result of hunger, just rolling from one end of the bed to the other. My thought was jumping from the ridiculous to the absurd, thinking what hope was in continue living when one cannot feed.
I was far away from the nearest place I can receive help, either from my parents residing in Akure, or my senior sister, who dwell in Ile Ife with her family and my base in Lagos which was hundreds of kilometers away.
Where would I have gotten the transport fare from, if I ever made such an attempt to travel to either of those destinations?
And Just at the nick of time at about 10:30 pm, one of my roommates tap me at the back, thinking I was deeply engrossed in sleep, but not knowing I couldn’t sleep due to serious hunger hitting my belly.
As soon as I turned, he offered me a loaf of bread and a canned fish, saying he would have given them to me earlier but knew that I would have shared with others in my usual character. This was a miracle I have never witnessed in my life prior to that time, it was like God sent his angel to bail me out of the impending doom that was about to overtake me. Could not thank my roommate enough after eating to my satisfaction, washed it down with water.
The import of this experience demonstrated the fact that there is always a timely intervention if we don’t give up. Though, hunger, lack and depravity could cause someone to take some drastic steps that would truncate life purpose.
The narrative has a happy ending because, by the following morning, I was able to retrieve my money from the bank and food became abundant thereafter, that in few days thereafter, I had forgotten about the tough experience I passed through.
The hard lesson from this story of mine is that no matter how hard your life has become, there is always an end to every trouble if you don’t give up. “Trouble may last for the night, joy comes in the morning,” says the Psalmist.
Through those periods of hardship, I was strong in faith, sharing the little I can lay my hands on with others around me. While some other were turning their back on their friends, I refused to do that whenever I have something little, I called some people who cannot afford it and share with them irrespective of what tomorrow have in stock for me.
Now, anytime someone shares their experience of hardships with me, I have a repository where I can help to bring out the needed balm to apply on their wound. I can boldly say to them that I was once in the like situation, that I have passed that same route previously and The Lord saw me through and the same Lord will also see them through.
Key lessons our suffering and hardship should teach us are:
1. Season of hardship could help us develop a strong sense of endurance. To endure means we can stand our ground under any pressure and situation that could make some strong men quack. Our ability to endure pains comes from our knowledge that such suffering is not meant to last long, that it’s just a phase in our life and it would soon pass away or expired.
2. Our period of hardship could open our eyes to appreciate what others are going through in their moment of suffering. That it’s not always the case that those who are going through pains or suffering are personally responsible for what they are going through. That you are going through a tough time or vicissitude of life does not mean that you have sinned or a reward for your past misdeed.
3. That sometimes pains and suffering are necessary to bring about the right change in life. Take the example of Jesus death on the cross, painful as it was, it was the reason for the freedom we are all enjoying today; His death sets us free from our sinful nature. If Jesus had not passed through the cross, he won’t have been entitled to the crown and if he has not the crown; then our sin would have remained unforgiven.
4. Sometimes, suffering is necessary to bring out the best in us and develop the right skill and perspective useful for humanity. The success story of the Israelis ability to defend themselves and their territory today did not emerge out of idleness, or in the period of abundance rather, suffering and pains led them to discover the right antidote to cure oppressions by their neighbours.
The Israelis were roughened and toughened by years of suffering and deprivation and through these, they were able to reinvent themselves and brought out the best in them.
5. Pains and hardship should encourage us to trust more in God rather than leaning on our ability. There are times our strength, knowledge and ability failed us. There are times we come to a dead-end because we don’t know what next to do with our life, not necessarily because we failed to play our part or not doing what we ought to do, but because in spite of all, we still find ourselves enmeshed in confusion.
This should be the time for us to seek God’s insight. When the children of Israel were troubled by reason of their taskmaster. The Bible says they cry unto God of their fathers and He answered them by sending Moses to rescue them from the grip of the Egyptians.
6. We also garnered experience that would last us a lifetime to help others in their moment of suffering. This is essential for the perpetuation of divine wisdom from generation to generation.
We grow through pain and hardship, there are some lessons of life we learn through the hard way, there are pains and sufferings that will automatically lead us to research for a solution. It is that solution that we would share with people who are going through a similar experiences and make us a blessing to them in their moments of suffering.
* An extracts from the Book; ‘Engraved in His palms …You’re God’s favorite” By Oludare Mayowa