Posted in christian

Perspective

Photo by Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash

The heat beat their sweat-drenched backs as if as a punishment from the sun. Used to the scorching rays, they continued weeding in their father-in-law’s farm. In unity, the women worked together, understanding the starting point and when to end work for the day. To watch them work, one would believe they were of one mind, but the painting their bodies depicted was different from their thought processes.

Ada worked on the farm, and weeded out problems from her mind, casting them down like strongholds. Ure planned on weeding her problems out with the help of Ugo, the local truck driver. On closer inspection, one would notice that though occupied, Ada worked with a system in mind, and the weeded out grassland showed her result. Not so for Ure, who could taste and feel her freedom, disregarding the task before her.

Ure stood and looked around, breathing in the fresh air. She longed for the day to come when she would never have to smell the soil. She looked at the land she worked on with Ada, and smiled on all the fruit and crops they worked hard to harvest over time, and how it helped their husbands’ family survive. She frowned, remembering culture laid the family’s survival on their backs. Two young, naive girls, married into a family of generational drunks, taught from birth to seek the easy life. Well, no more. She had reached the end of the line.

She looked over at Ada, who still worked on her side and shook her head. Did the girl have no plans, no ambitions? She bent down and continued working, an idea forming in her mind.

“What was Nne saying about looking up, during bible study today?” Ure asked.

Ada didn’t stop working. “We should look up to God for everything. We need His help.”

“I wonder why she doesn’t drum that into her sons’ ears. They need Him more than most.”

Ada remained silent.

“Don’t you ever get tired of it all? From morning till night, the endless work, even to the bedroom’s demands, when one is tired out? We make the family prosper while they grow fat on the crops we harvest, cook, and pass before them to eat. Doesn’t it seem unfair to you?”

Ada stopped working, and grabbed the water bottle she hitched to the side of her torn jeans, with the cloth tied around her. She closed her eyes as the freshwater sated her dry tongue and prayed for wisdom. Finished, she closed the bottle, and tied it to her jeans again.

“Ure, look around you. Stop and look around this farm.” Ada said, looking at her sister-in-law. The request, a demand.

Ure stood, looked around, and back at Ada.

“We did this together. When we started working on this farm, it seemed barren, and you know how long it took before it yielded fruit. God made it happen for us by His grace. Some families don’t have this testimony. Some don’t have food on the table, not to talk of what to sell in the market. Why don’t you look at life like that and praise God? He has sustained our family, does it matter how He did it, or through whom?” Ada asked.

They stood looking at each other for a while, the rhythmic pacing of their drawn breaths different, one faster than the other. The quick breather looked around again; the truth of the words spoken was evident; however, the distance from her present to freedom was too small to consider such inconsequential facts. Ure dulled her mind just before they heard someone calling her name.

They turned, not answering, looking out to the tarred road, broken in places due to erosion. Ugo huffed and puffed as he walked up the road, muttering to himself. They watched him stop, shout Ure’s name, hiss, and continue on his way up.

Ada looked at Ure. “Why are you not answering?”

Ure’s hoe fell from her hand. Freedom had come for her. She didn’t know how to feel or what to do. She rushed to her clothes, picked them up, stuffed them into the bag she brought her farm clothes in, and did not bother to change. She wore her sandals and raced back to Ada.

“Come with me. Ugo has come to take me away from here. We will look after you till you find a man who will love and care for you the way Ugo loves me. Please, come now.” Ure said, pleading as she held Ada’s hand, almost tugging her.

Ada disengaged her hand, her mouth widening. “You mean you are leaving the village? With Ugo? This one?”

The disdain apparent in Ada’s estimation of Ugo angered Ure.

“Yes, he loves me and buys me things. He tells me I am beautiful and that he will take care of me if we live together in the city, far away.”

Ada held Ure’s hand tight and looked into her eyes. “What about your husband, your ailing mother? You can’t just leave.”

“I have been shouting your name from Akporo junction to this place,” Ugo said, stopping to catch his breath. “Why are you not answering, my wife?”

Ure snatched her hand away from Ada and moved to stand in front of Ugo, touching his chest.

“Forgive me, my husband. I was saying goodbye to my sister.”

Ugo looked at Ada, a smile forming on his wide face. His appreciation of her visible in the way his eyes slid over her.

“Well done, sister. How are you?” He asked his eyes on her chest.

“I am fine, but how is it that another man’s wife has become yours without any dowry returned to her husband or paid to her family? Is that how to marry?” Ada said, her hands on her hips.

Ure hissed at her and turned to Ugo, whose face darkened like clouds before a rainstorm.

“Don’t mind her, my husband. I am ready.” She said, taking his hand and walking away, pulling him as she went.

“Ure,” Ada said, following them. “To look up is to understand that though life can happen, the way we interpret and live shows the difference between those who thrive and those who survive. Life is not greener anywhere, my sister; rather, it is God’s grace that enriches our lives and nourishes our daily existence. Without Him, I would have been like you, looking for an escape from one life, only to jump into a worse one. Remember, to look up, when the going gets hard because it will.” She said to Ure, who neither seemed to hear nor care.

Tears fell on Ada’s cheeks, splashing on her top, as she realized her sister and friend was leaving. She bent her head and wept for Ure as the two lovers continued on their way.

Till next time, be transformed!!

Posted in christian

No Expectations by Bridget A. Thomas

Choose Joy!

Christians Read

As a child, when my birthday was approaching, I was often focused on what gifts I might receive. I remember my father telling me two things: (1) That they were going to cancel my birthday that year 😉 and (2) That I should not expect anything. My birthday was never cancelled and I always received presents. But my father was right about having no expectations. However, I don’t believe this just pertains to gifts or birthdays. I believe this is good advice every day of our lives.

One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from Ann Voskamp: What messes our life up most is this expectation of what our life is supposed to look like. This is so very true, in big things and in small things.

Imagine someone who wanted to get a college degree, but life took them down a different path and they never accomplished…

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Posted in christian

The State of Grace

Photo by Morgan Winston on Unsplash

In the Pastures

Uzo held his brother’s hand as they walked. The wind blew and ruffled his hair as it did the green, lush grass, and he chuckled. The ten-year-old was joyful that his brother walked with him in such a beautiful place.

Their mother agreed to let Onyeoma, his brother, take him hunting, and Uzo walked out of the house proud, a big boy. Onyeoma didn’t seem to want to hunt and kept strolling with him through the green pastures. He prepared a picnic near an odorless, and clear stream, under a towering fruit tree, and they ate. All this beauty wasn’t enough, Uzo wanted action. He sought to hunt down a small animal for his mother and be called a hero.

They walked on bare feet, enjoying the way the grass tickled the soles of their feet. There was no clear path, but his brother seemed to know the area and walked with confidence.

“When do we start to hunt? The day is almost over.” Uzo asked, looking up at his brother.

“Soon, Uzo, be patient. I want to show you the land today so that you can know it. Remember all the places we passed through. You will need the knowledge when you start to hunt on your own.”

“But I want to hunt today. I want to take something back to mama.” Uzo cried distressed.

Onyeoma knelt and held his brother’s shoulders. “Trust me to teach you to hunt the right way, okay.”

Uzo nodded, looking away so his brother wouldn’t see the errant tears.

After that conversation, Uzo lost his appreciation for the beauty and peace of the land. He found no pleasure in the mundane and sought action over wisdom. A while later, the evening almost upon them, Uzo wanted to ease himself.

“I want to go the tall bush to ease myself,” Uzo said, pointing at the dense vegetation on the left.

“Are you sure? I don’t think it’s safe. Since it’s just us, do it nearby.” Onyeoma said with a smile.

“Don’t worry. I’ll be fine; I’m a big boy now.”

“Okay, go, do your thing. I will wait for you.”

In the Valley

Uzo went towards the area he chose, and before his brother could see, disappeared. He smiled as he walked, removing the little knife he stole from the kitchen before leaving the house, from his pocket. He would take a dead animal home.

He didn’t go far before he heard Onyeoma calling out to him. Uzo walked faster, his mind filled with getting away from his brother and finding a baby rabbit to hunt. After a few minutes, Onyeoma’s calls seemed far away, and Uzo relaxed. He would try his luck before his brother found him.

When he focused on hunting, he noticed the tall grass appeared to hover over him, closing him in. Uzo couldn’t see past it, and fear like a dark smoky hand held his heart tight. The boy turned and headed back to where he thought he last heard his brother’s cries.

“Onyeoma, I’m here, Onyeoma,” Uzo called.

“Uzo, stay where you are, I am coming to find you.”

The grass seemed to have gained life and was moving in on him. He kept going forward in a panic, almost out of breath, until the grass cleared, and he stood on barren ground. He looked back to the green vegetation, relieved to be out of its clutches, but surprised such a desert could be close to it.

“Onyeoma, Onyeoma, I’m here.”

There was no response, but Uzo heard movement behind him. He turned with a smile to see his brother and screamed. Three hyenae circled him, with their fangs widening. The animal in front bent his head at his cry and moved forward, faster.

The hungry beast hurled itself at Uzo, eyes red, with glistening sharp teeth, when a rod struck its head on the side with force.

Uzo, who had fallen in fear, looked up at his brother’s face before losing consciousness.

He woke on his bed, with a big ache in his head. He turned to see Onyeoma seating by him.

“Onyeoma.” He said, calling to his savior.

Onyeoma woke up, looked at him, and smiled.

“You are awake, Uzo. You’ve been through a lot.”

“I’m sorry I should have listened to you.”

“It’s okay. Next time, walk with me and learn from me. You cannot do this alone. There are wild beasts, dark places, and traps everywhere.”

Uzo beamed. “There will be a next time?”

Onyeoma ruffled his hair. “Of course, I will make a great hunter out of you.”

Uzo lay back on his pillow, grateful for his brother’s love, forgiveness, and protection.

Till next time, be transformed!!

Posted in christian

The Two Paths

Two men stood at the junction, where the road split into two.

The first, Paul, looked muscular, thick biceps, and a hard face, but not the kind of body resulting from hard days at the gym. Paul had been through much. Tony, the second man, would make you smile because he always had a smile on his face. Not as well built as Paul, Tony’s relaxed demeanor and soft look depicted an easy life, with no struggles.

They stood at the junction as strangers, but trust Tony, he turned and smiled at Paul. Paul neither turned nor caught the smile and didn’t seem to care. He was on a mission.

“The two paths are parallel. Why don’t we split up and see where…?”

Paul was already on his way. He took the narrow path.

“Hmm, not a very nice fellow, is he?” Tony asked himself as he took the broad one.

They walked on for a while before Tony became tired and wished to sit. The only other person on both paths was Paul, and Tony knew he would neither listen nor help. He tried, anyway.

“I am tired. May we stop?” He asked, in his most polite voice.

Paul walked on for a bit and stopped. He turned around and walked back to stand parallel to Tony’s position.

“Are you hungry? Do you have water?” Paul asked as he heaved off his backpack from his shoulders.

Speechless, Tony shook his head. At Paul’s upward glance, he found his voice.

“No, I hoped we would find shops on the way. It’s quite odd, and I packed all this money for nothing.” Tony said.

Paul smiled and unpacked his bag. He brought out a big Ziploc bag filled with bread, and a water bottle, still sealed. He threw a piece of food and bottled water to Tony.

“Eat, and let’s be on our way.”

“Aren’t you eating?”

“I eat as directed.”

“Who directs you? There is no one else here.” Tony asked as he chewed, his brows furrowed.

“I listen to God’s Spirit.”

“Really, where is he?” Tony asked as he stood up and looked around.

Paul laughed. “Relax, He is inside me, in my heart.”

“Oh, right,” Tony said as he sat down again. “So, what else does He tell you?”

“That’s a long story. Are you done, we need to move on?”

“Okay, thanks.”

They moved on, and Tony wished he was on Paul’s path. They walked for a few hours, and darkness descended. Tony whipped out his phone and used the torch to find the massive light source in the backpack he carried. He looked over at Paul’s path and stopped in his tracks. Paul moved forward without any light. No streetlights, car lights, or a phone. Darkness covered the narrow path, as it did the broad one.

“Hey, why don’t you use my phone, it’s fully charged.”

“No, thank you. I have the light with me.”

“Are you sure? I’m looking at you, and there is darkness all around you.”

“I have the Holy Spirit to guide me. I’m fine, thanks.”

Tony turned back to the road, irritated. How was the invisible spirit guiding and directing the guy?

There were rocks all over his path, Tony wished Paul well, concentrating. They had walked for about thirty minutes when Tony noticed Paul had stopped.

“I want you to listen to me with care. There is a snake behind you…” Paul didn’t finish.

Tony shouted and ran.

By the time Paul walked up to Tony, he was wheezing and fanning himself.

“Was that a joke? How did you know about the snake?” Tony asked, still out of breath.

Paul smiled. “The Holy Spirit told me about it.”

Tony rolled his eyes. “This Spirit thing again? Are you sure there was a snake back there?”

“Go back and check.”

“But I can’t do that.”

“Well, you have to trust God.”

“I don’t know how to do that either.”

“Do you want to learn?”

“This night? Let’s start tomorrow. It’s late.”

“Okay. Let’s go.”

An hour later, Tony complained, he was tired. Paul stopped and encouraged him to sleep, trusting God for protection. They would rest there for the night.

Tony awoke the next day to loud screeches. He opened his eyes slowly, as his heart took up a fast beat. He assumed the noises were not human. Three gorillas stood near him, ransacking his torn bag. He shouted and moved as he stood. He scrambled away from the animals who turned and followed him.

Paul woke up and looked at the scene. “Stop!”

The animals halted, Tony did not. He kept running, not bothering to look back.

Paul looked back at Tony’s scattered bag, shook his head, and continued on his way. He caught up to Tony in an hour, and set his backpack on the ground, searching for breakfast.

“You said to trust God. Why did he allow those animals near me?”

Paul smiled. “Did they hurt you?”

“No, but they could have. Look, all my stuff is with those wild beasts.”

Paul laughed at that. He couldn’t help himself.

“Are you laughing at me? How dare you, do you know who I am?”

“How has your status helped you on the path you are on?”

“This is temporary. Listen, be good to me, or…”

“Or what?”

Tony looked at the bread in Paul’s hand and the water in a can, and shut up, rubbing his growling stomach.

“I am hungry.”

Paul smiled as he threw bread and water to his companion.

“Thank you,” Tony said, as he picked the bread and water from the ground. He never thought he would ever eat food thrown at him. Tony didn’t want to continue on his chosen path. The dangers he faced didn’t seem to affect Paul in the least.

“The road you are on is better.”

“Yes, it is. It leads to life.”

“I don’t know about that. I’m talking about the absence of danger there.”

Paul laughed again. “Who told you there is no danger here?”

“Well, we’ve been walking together for a while now, and nothing dangerous has crossed your path.”

“Do you know Psalm 91?”

“My mother taught me.”

“Do you remember it?”

Tony thought hard for a while before his eyes widened in understanding.

“You mean it’s all true?”

“Every word.”

“How can I get such power to work in my life? I need protection and sustenance.”

“It depends. Are you looking for power or God?”

“Is there a difference?”

“Yes. The power may come and go with all its trappings, but God remains all-powerful and omnipresent.”

“I want God. If that’s what you have, I want it too.”

Paul smiled. “You have one thing to do, my friend.”

“What is it?” Tony asked, with the first smile on his face in a while.

“Leave the road you’re on and join me on mine.”

“That’s true. How?”

“Start at the beginning.”

The smile left Tony’s face.

Till next time, be transformed!!

Posted in christian

Abiding Under His Shadow

Photo by Laurent Perren on Unsplash

Nneka laid out before her father, the king. The throne-room was vast, without walls, shrouded in secrecy. The King sat on the throne, glad she visited, always wanting to hear from her. She laid on the ground, which was neither hot nor cold; it’s temperature even. It was the only way she knew and had become accustomed to taking. When problems assailed her, and unrest filled her heart, she would enter into his presence and lay face down. On other days, she still paid him visits; she knew how much he loved her company.

He smiled, loving her.

Nneka rose and knelt before him, giving him praise. She adored him for who he was to her and wept as she remembered all he did to ensure she attained the position for which he gave her life. In that vast space, she was alone before him; she could be bare. She called on her helper when she couldn’t go on and asked for support. He stood with her and assisted as she worshipped.

Nneka brought all her problems before the king. She laid them all out piece by piece. As she remembered, she spoke, asking for advice. When she finished, she laid herself before him again, knowing she would receive mercy and grace for her time of need.

He didn’t disappoint.

It was her habit to listen for instruction, as she did so, he gave guidance to face the issues of the day. He enlightened her on reasons for some problems she faced and provided wisdom for the way forward. As he spoke, Nneka’s mind traced his words to scripture verses he hid in her heart. For some, no scripture came, but she knew before whom she laid.

Nneka rose again and praised her father, thanking him for all he did. For the peace, he gave and the abundance of grace available for that day. When she thought about how merciful her father was, receiving her anytime she called, granting her audience regardless of her failures, Nneka wept again. Her father’s love and kindness would never stop overwhelming her heart.

The Nneka, who rose to get ready for the day, was not the same person who awoke from sleep, overwhelmed by life. The difference was clear. Darkness overcame the first person, and light encompassed the last. Anxiety overwhelmed the first Nneka, and the last one had the peace that passes human understanding, guarding her heart and mind.

‘He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.’ Psalms 91:1

Till next time, be transformed!!

Posted in christian

God’s Generals

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

The five sat at the round table. They understood the reason for the gathering, each quiet under the weight of the knowledge of whose presence they gathered. The summons came at night, invitations to a room filled with white smoke and walls of dark clouds. An initiate would not know that though the walls billowed, they stood sturdy. The white smoke wreathed in its progress to reach every part of the room, incense from the throne room itself. God hosted this little gathering.

For the first time, the guests could hear the sound of silence, thick and heavy. Though no words were said, some sweated like goats on the slaughter table; others tasted the bitterness of failure. None of them of the mind to start giving their reports.

“Generals, give account.” His soft words flowed like still waters, heard only in the soul.

Nneka knew without being called that she was the first.

“I taught my children to know the Lord from childhood. They chose their paths, I couldn’t do anything, but watch and pray. I did my best.” She said.

“Yes, your best. However, I was with you through it all. To help with your struggle, and your day-to-day. I would have been your help and strength.” Our helper said, his soft words loud in her soul.

Ekene coughed. “The government threatened to kill me if I didn’t join their conspiracy. I prayed and fasted for help, but none came. I joined to bring the change you said I would.” He said, his eyes on the wood, blinking with tears.

“I heard prayers, but not yours. Fasting, but not from you. You forget that you live because I give you life. Why did you fear? Change, yes, not mine.” Our stronghold said.

“I formed the organization on kingdom values and beliefs. We are still working to ensure that all our transactions are honest.” Etuk said, his hands sweaty.

“You did, son. However, you went to sleep. Your subordinates are doing what they like, and getting away with it. Honest, or as led by me?” Our wisdom said.

“Father, I am teaching the children to love you with all their hearts. The school is blossoming, thanks to your grace.” Lawrence said.

Silence, our comforter smiled. Though the occupants of the room could not see the King, they felt the warmth of it.

“Children, dear ones. Do you love me, Lawrence?” The lover of our souls asked.

Lawrence looked down as tears filled up his eyes. He couldn’t answer before truth.

“I never left you, son, not in the days when you all lacked, nor in the days, when my grace supplied. I touched you, felt your pain, wiped your tears. Yet, you were unaware of me. You will lose those children, if you do not teach them to love, from a heart that loves first.” The Father said.

Ursula, the last to speak, knelt on the floor, as the thick smell of incense filled her nostrils.

“Father, forgive us.” She cried.

The swirl of incense stopped. Every movement ceased, as time stood still.

Like a movie put on replay, the life-giver took time back to the start of the meeting. This time, there was a difference. None sweated out of fear. There was joy in the air as the children rejoiced with abandon in God’s presence. Nobody remembered failing or not living out God’s will. The redeemer had given them all another chance, and wiped away their mistakes.

“You were made perfect for good works. I am always with you; call on me, lean on me. Drop all burdens, carry no loads, except the ones I give. You are of the kingdom and not of the world.”

They continued to rejoice, his peace sipping into their souls. They all woke up in that state, filled to overflowing with the love of God.

Enjoy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dm_ToFXpMOs

Till next time, be transformed!!

Posted in christian

Perfection (2)

Photo by Jonathan Hoxmark on Unsplash

Kola started climbing from his school days.

The approving glances of the teachers cast on well-behaved or intelligent students, and the smiles his parents bestowed on his siblings for doing well, led him to it. He sought to reach the same place and exceed.

He didn’t reach it in the university, but he tried. Kola did everything the lecturers said, reading all night, sitting for every test. A first-class result, yes, but he still didn’t reach the mark. He aspired to lead in all areas.

The climbing continued when he got his first job. His certificate seemed like a curse; office politics trumped the piece of paper. His managers disdained him because the C.E.O picked him out. Kola continued to scale the rock, trying to manage his work life, for the C.E.O on the one hand, and the managers on the other.

He kept scrambling up through weather changes, from hot to cold, and through the rain. Sometimes, he would reach a milestone and think he succeeded, only to look up, and still see no end. Kola kept at, though the pressures of life beat at him, and the people on the ground called to him, to give up. He would hear voices in the wind, some encouraging, others discouraging, but still, he kept scaling up.

Sometimes, all he heard was the wind, a soft breeze threatening to lull him to sleep, or a windstorm advancing to blow him off course. Kola bore it all. The smile on his boss’s face when he handed over Kola’s promotion letter; the hug from his wife as he handed her the keys to the new Benz; the children’s joyous cries when he met their needs all helped.

He wanted to stop climbing many times. Kola would look up, and down, and feel like he had gotten nowhere. During those weary times, he would stay on a boulder and rest, with every part of his body revolting against him. In his despair, he would look up, not to the rest his soul needed, but to the top of the mountain, and wonder when he would find peace.

The rocks cut his body as he climbed, but after a while, he got used to it. The sweat covered his eyes, making it difficult to climb, but he grew accustomed to climbing blind. He would often grasp grass instead of rock and fall, but he learned how to pick himself up, to climb back up again. No matter how bad the air pressure, he acclimatized.

Kola suffered from Hypoxia, but how would he have known? Most of us don’t know when we suffer from our lifestyles. Climbing for Kola proved difficult after a while. He suffered from a lack of appetite often and chugged it up to old age. Later, migraines, distorted vision, and fatigue became the norm, all attributed to growing old.

He founded his startup at 60. Advised to retire from full-time work, Kola didn’t listen; he still had not attained the height he wanted. He would get up early, disregarding the doctor’s orders and return home late, his business needed to succeed, and he alone could ensure it did.

One day he was at the office, and the next, six-feet under a plaque, which described him as the climber. To family and friends, that was what the man achieved.

Kola sat up, his body at rest. It seemed odd to him, and he couldn’t remember the last time he experienced such a thing. He looked around, at the green pastures, and the still waters. He felt peace as he walked the quiet path, a soft wind in his face, and birds chirping above him, making him smile. Here, he thought, there is no fear, no worries, and the pain can be endured. An encompassing feeling of rest engulfed him, and the truth hit him. It felt like a physical blow; Kola’s knees hit the ground. This was it, the summit.

With the truth came agony from a painful fact. Kola still didn’t make it.

Till next time, be transformed!!

Posted in christian

A Work Of Art

Photo by Jeremy Lishner on Unsplash

The night stilled, dense in its thickness, only the three could see through it. The wind blew, and the trees billowed, bowing to the greatness in whose presence they dared to be. The stars shone, but not with their usual spectacular brilliance; greatness had emerged to work. The air flitted about, filled with possibility, fresh and scented with the creativity only the three could bring.

They bent down to work, the subject already in their minds, and the sand, made ready for molding. Then they spoke into it, dominion, beauty, knowledge, understanding, blessing, and fruitfulness. Yes, they had that much power, to make pronouncements, and create.

An outline first appeared on the sand, a drawing that looked like they did. Like magic, though their power was higher, unfathomable, a draft was drawn within the sand. Parts traced within the subject.

They looked at the outline in the darkness and were pleased. The entourage watched, not understanding, but accepting. Whatever the three formed would be good, because unlike other teams, they were one perfect entity, complete in their unity.

The three approved the outline, drawn in fine sand. Next, a body emerged out of the drawing, from top-down. They did not use material tools, but the skill and perfection used for the work were evident to the onlookers. The three carved parts out with precision; every minute detail accounted for. No waste and no mistakes made. All this done, while they stood and watched.

With the carving done, the three smiled in unison, pleased again. Their creation possessed a god’s body, the mind for high potential, and the heart to love and trust. Yes, this one would be good. 

Next, a small drizzle sprayed the sand, preparing the work for smoothening and crafting. The team made the eyes, crafted the ears, defined a nose, and lined out a mouth. Other body parts appeared, excellent in their intricate design, from top-down. The artwork was engraved to perfection, everything in the right order, as the creator intended. The earthy smell of the sand wafted through the air, leaving its trail everywhere it passed.

They smiled again at the complete image they made.

A slow wind arose from the south of the three and moved with ease past them. It seemed to remain on top of the sandy body. At their nod, it rolled over and around it, blowing away sand and debris. The wind blew away everything that was not required from the work area, living the space clean and bringing the subject into better focus.

After the wind subsided, the sand took on a life of its own. Changing, stretching, and forming. The unknown became known. The figure created in the night appeared in the light of the three, and understanding dawned on their followers. They sculpted a version of themselves in one. The three would also be one in their creation, filling him with light and truth, and enabling him to execute on the earth, as they did in heaven.

Finally, in unison, they breathed into the one. They gave him their life. Everything spoken into the work at the beginning came to life on the inside of this magnificent creature. Then, he breathed in deep, forceful breaths of life as he flexed his new body parts. He opened his eyes and saw the creator, the first and most important being in his life. Understanding filled the creature, and he did the only thing he could. He knelt before his maker and father and worshipped.

Epilogue

Though the creature failed, the creator had a plan to return him to his position as the son. The plan worked.

Posted in christian

The Fugitive

Photo by Andrea Leopardi on Unsplash

Philip opened the door with his usual skill, and eased out from the house, looking to the left and the right. He covered his head with his hood and walked forward into the night. He was leaving the city.

Once he announced his intentions to marry Amaka, the world turned against him. First, his parents took him to their Pastor, and after all the talk, threatened to disown him. The Pastor watched them leave the room and didn’t say a word to dissuade them but turned to Philip.

“My son, how can God ask you to marry a well-known street girl? Does that sound like God to you?” He asked.

Philip wanted to ask him if they thought he was insane to cook up such a story. He didn’t but kept mute and waited for the Pastor to finish, thanked him, and left the office.

His parents kicked him out of the main house and asked him to stay in the Boy’s quarters of their three-story mansion. Philip thanked God, knowing it could have been worse. He could have endured all the disrespectful, and ridiculous behavior from his parents, and the house staff, if they hadn’t taken the problem to the office. Philip worked for his parents.

They owned a large Electronics shop, which he managed. He didn’t understand how the news reached the office, but before he could blink, people started giving him the stares and talking behind him. After a week of social distancing from his staff and some friends, Philip decided he couldn’t cope anymore. He would leave town for a while and look for a place to think.

The night he left, he felt relief. As he covered his head and strode to the gate and out the house, He smiled. He was on his way to the next town, where John, his friend, waited. They spoke at length in the afternoon, and John promised him a room in his house, and work in the factory where he worked. Philip walked faster, the promise of an escape from his life egging him on.

One thing nagged his mind, Amaka. He shook his head inside the bus. He was not leaving her or saying no to God; he just needed time out. A place to rest from people. So, he was justified.

John seemed happy to see Philip, who arrived early the next morning and welcomed him. John lived in a 2-bedroom apartment in the town. Philip was grateful for John’s kindness; anything was better than home. John asked him to rest for the day. They would be going to the factory, early the next morning. John left for work, and Philip slept, his problem was solved.

The next day, John took him to the factory and introduced Philip to his new Supervisor. Philip could not believe the conversation that followed. When the introductions were over, and John excused himself, Philip excused himself and followed his friend. Outside the Supervisor’s office, John turned to Philip, smiling.

“What’s up, Philip, any problems?”John asked.

Philip looked at him, wide-eyed for a while.

“Thank you for the job opportunity; however, is there nothing else I can do as a Master’s holder in this factory?” Philip asked.

John smiled and shook his head as he looked down. When he looked at Philip again, no trace of the smile remained.

“Philip, you are still a child. You expected that because you are a Master’s holder, we would make you the manager here like you are in your parents’ business? No, you should have asked for my job as well; after all, I don’t have a Master’s degree. Listen, not all of us were born to rich parents and had the world handed to us. I started here from the same position, on the factory floor, cleaning spare parts, and I grew from there to where I am now. The position is the only one available for now, take it or leave it.” John said, and walked away.

Philip couldn’t believe the words John hurled at him. Childish, silver-spooned, what?

He looked for the way out of the factory and walked out, not intending to go back. A few meters into his revolt, Philip asked himself how he would survive? John would be upset and not want to feed a job seeker. How long after his savings ran out, would he continue to beg his friends? Philip turned, slowly, heart-broken, and went back into the factory. He sought out the Supervisor and asked for the position.

After the first week, John stopped providing food. When the month ended, he asked Philip for half the money to pay the landlord for utilities. Philip said nothing and gave John the money. It meant he had next to nothing at the end of the day, which he was sure John knew.

Philip worked in the factory for three months and adapted to living in survival mode. He thought of God, who abandoned him, and Amaka, the cause of his problems, less and less. The more he scraped and hustled, the happier John seemed. His friend would come home, boasting about his achievements at work. John would invite his girlfriend over and rub it in Philip’s face; he couldn’t afford one as fine as she was. John bought a car, a brand used for purchases in Philip’s parent’s business, and told Philip to wait for five years to buy one.

The weirder John got, the more Philip believed John wanted him out of his house. It continued until one night after work, John accused Philip of stealing his perfume. Philip walked out of John’s house, checking his pockets for money. He was returning to his parents that night.

Filled with rage and not minding where he walked, a motorcyclist without a horn didn’t see him on time, and therefore could not apply his brakes. Philip felt a blow to his right leg, heard it snap, and went down. Pain gave way to darkness.

Philip woke up in a pile of dirt, and the odor cut off his breath. He looked around him and tried to get out of the rubbish heap, but realized it was sticky. The more he tried to extract himself, the deeper he sank.

“Where are you going?” A voice said, from the right.

Philip turned and saw an old woman, with thick white hair, seated on a kitchen stool. She leaned on her walking stick with both hands.

“What do you think you are doing?” She said.

What he was doing should have been obvious, but he explained, hoping she might help.

“I am trying to get out of this sticky refuse pile. Can you call people to help?”

“Why, I thought you liked it there? She said.

Philip’s mouth dropped open, and then he looked at her closely. Maybe the old lady had a gap in her brain. Deciding that was the case, he looked away and continued trying.

“You were given an assignment you abandoned, and preferred squalor to the abundance your father planned for you.”

Philip stopped and looked at the lady. “Madam, I am not who you think I am.” He said and dismissed her again.

“Philip, wake up!” She said and stood. “God offered you abundant life, but you chose poverty, dirt, and death instead. Why? Fear? You heard God, why didn’t you believe?”

Once again, Philip was speechless.

“Where am I?” He said, after a while.

“Does it matter? I asked you a question.” She said.

Philip remained silent; he shook with anger.

“Answer me, Philip. What happened to your faith?”

“Where was God? Where was he when everything around me went up in flames? Didn’t he see my family disown me, and the Pastor write me off? People scorned me everywhere I went, and John, the poorest kid in school, a guy I clothed and fed, treats me like his servant. All because of God.” He said and turned to her.

“All things work together for good, right. Well, it’s for bible characters like Paul and John. Nothing in God is working for me.” He said and continued trying to get out, dismissing her a third time.

“Listen, you will remain in this filth until you remember who your help is.” She said, and walked away.

Philip didn’t turn around, nor did he acknowledge her words. He kept trying, using all his might, trying different techniques, and after a while, started shouting for help. He went deeper into the mire and started losing strength. Philip continued in this till the bog swallowed his body up to his neck.

Weakness took over from a deep sadness, which filled his heart. Like a rock, it seemed to pull him deeper into the darkness.

“Father, please help me, forgive me. In my weakness, you are my strength. Have mercy.” He said and stopped struggling.

Philip woke up on a hospital bed. They wrapped his forehead with bandage and his leg in a cast. The rubbish heap had been a dream. He sighed in relief and inhaled to assure himself. He lay back to rest when a nurse walked up to his bed. Philip turned to ask for water when he saw the nurse and stopped in shock.

“It’s good to see you again, Philip.” The woman by the mire said. She walked without her stick and with agility, though the white hair remained. She stood by his side and held his hand.

“The Father asks you to trust Him, even when you don’t know what’s next or tomorrow. He will deliver you out of the mire. He will not allow it to swallow you. Trust God, trust in Jesus, and pay attention to the Holy Spirit. You are a child of God. Now get better and go home.” She said, smiling.

Tears ran down Philip’s eyes as she departed, and as another nurse came with his medicine.

Till next time, be transformed!!