It was August 2015. The 20th day to be precise. A day that I will not forget in a long time. I was a corper then, serving in Abeokuta, Ogun State. We finished CDS early so I got back to the Family House around 11:30am. It was quite unusual. I played Football Manager, ate and slept off. I felt that it would be evening before I woke up. It wasn’t. I woke up, checked the time and it was 12:45pm. Imagine.
I was feeling somehow. To express how I felt is not easy. But I remember I just wanted to do something different. Something…how do I put this? Something…crazy.
But I knew that I was well known in my area. More so, I was the state NCCF General Secretary. So I needed to find somewhere that I wasn’t popular.
My mind drifted around, doing a mental tour of the town. Kuto. Asero. Iyana Mortuary. I thought and thought. Then it hit me. Odeda. It was at least a one-hour drive from my base. Far enough from all the people that could know me, but still within the town. Also, the presence of students from FUNAAB and FCE, Osiele meant that there would be hangout spots there.
You wonder how I could have been so strategic in my thinking, right? Well, recently I learnt that when the devil gets hold of a man, he gets hold of his gifts. The same gift that I had use to coordinate the logistics for several state programs was the same one the devil was using in that moment.
Well, quickly, I changed from the khaki and crested vest that I was putting on. I went for something trendier. My heart was beating fast, but I couldn’t care less. I wanted to do what I wanted to do. There was that little thing telling me to go back home, but I didn’t want to listen. I stepped out. It was 1:13pm. I told myself that if I didn’t get a bike in five minutes, I would go back inside. 1:18 passed and surprisingly I didn’t get a bike. So, I added five minutes. 1:23 there was still no bike. So I decided to ignore the time and wait as long as it would take. I didn’t have to wait much longer. A bike surfaced.
Looking back, I realize that when a man wants to go to Tarshish (away from the will of God), there is always a ship. There is always a means of transportation.
I paid the bike man 750 naira for the long trip. He thanked me, turned and zoomed off. My pace of my heart beat increased. Looking around, I spotted a signboard that advertised the kind of place I had in mind. The kind of place I would be able to fulfil the desires of my heart. Following the directions, I was scared and excited. Scared that I was disobeying God but excited that I was going to enjoy myself. The war kept waging inside me, but I couldn’t care less.
From nowhere, I heard someone scream “Uncle”. With all that was within me, I wished it wasn’t me. The footsteps began to get closer. “Uncle!! Wait nau. Where are you going?” It was then I knew it was finished. Which kind wahala be this now? With a smile on my face, I turned and saw the person. It was Bro. Lucas. The NCCF Bible study coordinator (Rabbi) for Odeda zone. Chai. While I was constructing my getaway model, I forgot a very important variable. I forgot about the Odeda NCCF zone.
“Uncle, good afternoon. This is such an unexpected meeting. Where are you going to?” Within seconds, the answer came. “Erm, bro Lucas, I was sent from the Family House to pay a surprise visit to the brethren in Odeda.” The guy’s face lit up. He believed me. “Wow. This is a divine visitation. Praise God. But wait o, the family house isn’t in the direction you are going nau?” That was a twist. I needed to think quickly. “Ehen. It isn’t? I didn’t know o. I didn’t want to call anyone. I just wanted to show up and fellowship with brethren. The same way Paul fellowshipped with the Corinthians.” Bro. Lucas was thrilled. “That’s so humble of you sir. Please let me lead you to the family house.”
Those forty five minutes I spent in the fellowship were the longest I have ever spent. I just wanted to get out of there. Well, eventually, I was able to. After taking the closing prayer, I excused myself with the lie that I had a meeting at the Family House. The Sisters’ coordinator and Bro. Lucas escorted me and crossed the road with me. They flagged down a bike and told the man to take me to the State House. They paid him 1,000 naira, and also gave me 2,000 naira as a thank you gift.
You would think I had learnt my lesson, but I hadn’t. Fifteen minutes after the ride started, I told the bike man to stop. I alighted at Camp junction. The man was worried that I would collect the balance from him. I didn’t even care. My body was still doing somehow. I wanted to catch some fun before night. I was wrong.
This time around, it was the horn of a vehicle that startled me. It was Dr. Jarex Timothy. A mentor and a friend. I no go lie, I just weak. “Uncle! Where are you going? I am heading to the State House for a program with the executives. You were the last person I expected to see here.” Quick thinking saved me. “Ah. Doctor, I just left the brethren at Odeda. I had a burden in my heart to visit them. Like the biblical Macedonian call. So I decided not to harden my heart to the word of the Lord sir.” He was touched. “That’s so wonderful. God bless your darling heart. Oya, come in, let’s ride together.”
I got into the vehicle and shook my head. This God ehn. I just couldn’t wrap my head around Him. See Him going all out in search of one lost sheep. In search of me…
For the (remarkable, undeserved) grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to reject ungodliness and worldly (immoral) desires, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this world, as we wait for the blessed Day we hope for, when the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ will appear. Titus 2:11-13.
Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Luke 15:4-6