“Tell me what was going on in your mind at the time of the incident?” Pastor Kunle asked.
Ayo let out a harsh breath. “Anger and pain. I expected her to understand. I have been overwhelmed by a lot of the things happening around me. The company’s management, where I work, are thinking of downsizing, and none of us know our fate. Peter has been sick for some time, so I have been taking a lot of time off to care for the boy, since Maria traveled. My mum’s shop in the market was razed to the ground with the recent fire outbreak, and I am back to being their primary financial support. When she returned and blamed me for Peter’s condition, I struck.”
Pastor Kunle nodded in understanding. “I know it’s not easy to deal with the challenges of life, Ayo, but you must know God is with you.”
Ayo laughed, a mirthless laugh.
“I kept believing the grace of God would see me through. I kept praying for strength and holding on for a break. I have no idea how I became so angry, so fast. I still can’t believe I hit my wife.” Ayo said, his voice thinning into a whisper as he shook his head.
Pastor Kunle stood from his chair and walked around the table to sit next to him.
“Ayo, I believe you gave in to the pressure of the external. The fear of losing your job, Peter’s sickness, Maria’s unavailability, and the new financial burden clouded your mind, distracting you from your position in Christ.
“God promises that in the waters, He is with us; In the rivers, we shall not be overwhelmed, and in the fire, we will not be burned, nor scorched by its flames. The verse is easy to quote, but do we believe and live them out? God tells us in straightforward sentences that waters, rivers, and fire will come to test and strengthen us and that He will be with us through all of it.
“You believe in God’s grace, but you admit you felt overwhelmed. You worried about too many things, forgetting to lay each one of them down before God, leaving them at His feet. Instead of walking in his strength, you prayed to Him but depended on yourself. You forgot that the most important place to be at all times is in God’s presence and prioritized your situation over it. You lost your peace from there.
“Ayo, what happens on your inside is more important than what’s happening on the outside. If you can overcome inside your mind and heart, you will triumph in the physical.”
Ayo nodded and turned to the Pastor.
“What do I do now? How do I go home to face her and the kids?”
Pastor Kunle smiled as he patted Ayo’s shoulder. “First, you need to forgive yourself. God loves you with an everlasting love, and He will keep drawing you with love and kindness, so believe He has forgiven you.
“I will give you a series of scripture verses I want you to study and pray. We will be praying with and for you. I will speak with your wife as well, to pray with you. Perfect love casts out fear because fear brings torment. You will need to grow in the perfect love of God, as do we all.
“You will return home and apologize to your wife and children. Tell them such a thing will not happen again. Love and cherish them, as God gives you grace.”
“What if it happens again? I heard that once you beat a woman, you will continue to do so.” Ayo said, lowering his head.
Pastor Kunle smiled. “Ayo,” he waited till the other man raised his head and looked at him. “That’s the lie of the devil. Please don’t believe it. The choice is yours, though. When you walk in the spirit and the Most High’s strength, you will not give in to such bouts of madness, but when you fall back into depending on yourself and facing life alone, God alone knows what can happen.
“You are a child of God, and the Spirit of God resides in you, Ayo, have faith, and live it. Don’t allow the enemy’s lies to distract and destroy what God is doing in you.”
Ayo nodded. “I see now how important it is to be careful about what one hears and thinks. I will immerse myself in the word of God.”
Pastor Kunle smiled again. “Study and listen to Him too. God has a word for you every day. Immerse yourself in the living word of God available for each day.”
The Pastor turned and tore out a small sheet of paper from his table, took out his pen, and wrote down some verses. He handed the paper to Ayo.
“Study and pray these verses until the Spirit of God gives you leave to do something else. Depend on God, Ayo, that’s all we do here, or else the challenges of life would suck us dry.” Pastor Kunle said as he stood and walked back to his seat.
Ayo stood as well. “Thank you, Pastor, for all you’ve done since last night. If not for you and your wife, I don’t know how I could have managed until now. My mind was a war zone yesterday.”
“Yes, the enemy would try at that time to ensure you stay down in the darkness instead of seeking the light of life. Thank God you made the right choice. Let’s pray.”
The Pastor prayed for grace, mercy, and strength in the inner man. He also gave thanks for Ayo’s life.
Once he was done, they shook hands, and Ayo left the office. As soon as he shut the door behind him, a question popped into his mind. How is it possible to change so fast?
Ayo stopped, pondered the question, and smiled. “I understand God loves me more than I can ever know and is willing to carry my burdens. I will lay down my problems before my father rather than carry them around like a beast of burden. I will continue to deal with issues and questions that arise in my mind, rather than making the problems in the physical my priority.” He said out loud as he walked away, still smiling.
Till next time, be transformed!!