I met an old friend in Ibadan recently
One of those guys who end up being friends with everybody in the neighborhood although nobody wanted to be their friend in the first place.
Like a worm or a cockroach, the more you try to keep such a fellow out the more you find he has warmed his way into your closet
He was neither hated nor loved but nobody missed him when he was not around
It has been over 30 years since we had lived in the same neighborhood
When I got to Ibadan, I reached out to him
He picked up my call and jumped on a motorcycle to my hotel
As soon as he saw me, he started lamenting
“I have been watching your progress on social media and I am shocked, to say the least.
How come the most unlikely to succeed in life always end up making it while those of us who deserve to be successful are still begging God to settle us?
I mean your father was a teacher and your mother was a full housewife
My own father was a Director in a bank and my mother was a matron
Look at me and look at you today?
Do you know how many houses my father built while you were still living in that rented apartment in our estate?
How come I have nothing to show for my life and it seems your life is all milk and honey?
Not only you, I met B, the son of that herbalist that while we were in that estate couldn’t even speak any English
He now works at Isopako (Sawmill) and he is filthy rich
Do you remember the A family, that had four boys?
Their parents built the first duplex in the estate and threw lavish parties all the time for those boys
The boys were the first to drive cars in the estate
All of them are struggling now and these are true blue bloods!
God has not been fair
Do you remember D, that young man with a golden heart? He is dead. Died at a very young age and that girl that every boy practically used to know how to have sex in the estate is married with four children while my own sisters are still trusting God to get married.
One day I thought deeply and hard about it and decided I didn’t want to be a Christian again
The God of the Christians is a white man’s idea, I am fully into African Spiritualism now
I didn’t plan to tell you all this but seeing you today just prompted me to unburden
God is not fair!
I kept quiet for a while and watched as he wolfed down the plate of pepper soup and red wine that I had bought for him with my money
When he was done eating, I said “When we were in secondary school, I can count the number of hours you spent in school.
You were always at snooker joints and video games centers
It is true we both read loads of books but the knowledge you acquired is of no profit to you
When it was time to gain admission, you did fake admission and scammed your parents of a lot of money
You knew you didn’t get admission and you didn’t re-sit the GCE or JAMB until you were unable to do NYSC in your final year
Your father sold most of his properties to pay for the school fee of his fifteen children from three wives and he was defrauded heavily at a point
Maybe only your older brother gave your father any joy of all his children
I remember meeting you in Lagos in 2014, you were working with a government agency at the time due to one of your uncle’s connections
You resigned from the job saying the money is good but the work is too stressful
You impregnated a lady and took to your heels at a point
Today you are sleeping with a single mother of five children, understudying a herbalist in your newfound African Spiritualism journey and you have no job
You have refused to take responsibility for dropping the ball of your own destiny too many times
You are now blaming it on God
At this point, he said “Explain this, one old woman came to me, and she said “Who did you offend that turned your destiny upside down like this?”
Another man met me on the road and said, “Someone has afflicted you to spite your parents”
Why would God permit that?
I shook my head and said “You are almost 50 sir, you know you are older than me by many years, and hiding behind excuses like this even at this time means nothing will change in your life.
If you desire to turn your life around, it has to start with a complete mindset change!
We chatted till late in the night, then he went home
As I talked to the Lord after his departure, I felt great pain in my heart
I never expected this “friend” to amount to much in life, he had always been plagued with the inability to think right and act right
He almost always will self-sabotage
But I know it was not too late to see a turnaround in his life
His African Spiritualism nonsense will only cut short his life
I know this for a fact
I desired a touch of the Holy Spirit for him
I wanted him to come into the knowledge of Christ
I know what that will do for him
He showed up at my hotel early the next morning
He said he needed some money to pay for a training program (He wanted to learn how to drive trucks) and since I am in town, he needed to see if I can be of help
I wanted to tell him about Jesus, but I felt restraint, so I gave him the money
Later that day I left Ibadan with a very heavy heart
I prayed for this friend all the way to my destination
Today, at about 2 pm he called
He said he saw a vision overnight
He went to his herbalist mentor for the meaning but the man couldn’t help him, then he thought of me
I said, “Tell me what you saw”
As he cleared his throat and opened his mouth to speak, He started crying and weeping and praying in tongues
Try as he did, he couldn’t stop
He just kept saying “Jesus forgive me, I am sorry, with deep sighs and groaning and tears and gushes!”
I just sat on my bed totally shocked by the turn of events
The Holy Spirit arrested my friend and He did it while my friend was on the phone with me!
It wasn’t the first time it would ever happen, but this was totally unexpected
I kept him on the line until he could talk legibly
He said, “I have said many things about you to many people. I said you are desperate to make money and must have done juju to mesmerize people so that you can take their money. I hated you. I hated God. I am sorry. I hated my life. I need Jesus in my life. Please pray for me, pls
I don’t think I have so happily and joyfully prayed with another soul the way I did for him
He was baptized in the Holy Ghost
We prayed together for a while
When we were done, he told me the vision he saw
In the vision, he saw a believer laid hands on him and water began to flow out of his belly
I told him the vision was fulfilled the moment he called me
The Holy Spirit had steered him toward the light in His own unusual manner and brought Him back to Christ.
Glory be to God
Of all men, I am most joyful on this day, I know the rapid transformation that my brother will experience in the next few days and the years to come
I admonish us not to give up on those who seem determined not to know the Lord or walk in the light
With a burden in our hearts and prayers on our lips we can do the impossible through Christ.