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This our God is awesome!
By Orji Kalu
Saturday , March 13 , 2010
There is something awesome about God. The more you try to know Him the more complex it becomes. No wonder the prophets of old had varied encounters with Him. Those of them who did not understand the true essence of His being were either flabbergasted by His inestimably CONQUERING presence or mystified by his colossal greatness. Up till date, most people are yet to correctly estimate His almightiness, let alone comprehend the intriguing and awe-inspiring mysteries surrounding His very existence. But one truth many have come to realize is that God is God and only He and He alone can be so called.

Among the Jews, God means different things - depending on the circumstances in which He is situated. All the names ascribed to His name are all as a result of people's personal encounters with Him. God has variously been called omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. In all of these names there is a common denominator - omni (meaning 'all'). For this reason, I have never heard of any other god that is so addressed or revered. Every other god has no life in it. That was why Elijah defeated the 450 prophets of Baal.

This God is a wonderful God. He it was that led the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt into the Promised Land. He led them through the Red Sea and through the pestilence of the wilderness. He fed them with Manna from heaven and did other miraculous wonders in the face of adversities. He was close to his people throughout their periods of captivity.

His compassion for his people knew no bounds, which was why He was always willing to send a judge to redeem them each time He sent them into exile. He did it with Gideon, Samuel, Moses and other prophets in whose direction He guided them.

This same God is still our God. He neither slumbers nor blinks. He is ever ready to answer the distressed cries of His people who are chastised by their leaders. He is the God of the poor, the sick, the orphans, the widows and the needy. Each time these people call upon His name he has always answered them.

All those who called him in their times of distress have had their prayers answered. He is the creator of all things in heaven, upon earth and beneath the earth. He has dominion over everything he has created. He is high up there in heaven but He sees and knows all that transpires upon the face of the earth. In fact, the world is His footstool. This God is our God.

It is this God that makes kings and anoints leaders. Nothing, in fact, happens unless He gives His divine consent. He knows the beginning from the end and determines what happens and it will happen. He created the firmament, the hills, the mountains, stars and moon and none of them can disobey Him.

To show His amazing grace, this God knows where the shoes pinch us, even though we are the wearers. He knows the thoughts of all men and the night is like day to Him. This God is our God.

When all hope seems to be lost and the mountains fall into the ocean's depth that is when He shows His greatness. Nothing overwhelms Him and He is never outsmarted by any human being. Our wisdom is nothing but foolishness before Him. For our sins he shows unending mercifulness. He does not hold our sins against us, because if He does no man will live. To underscore His love for mankind He sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ to die a shameful death on the Cross, for the sanctification and salvation of humanity. This his son, who shares the same person with Him and the Holy Spirit in the Trinity, conquered death by rising from the dead on the third day as the scriptures had foretold. He ascended into heaven and sat at the right hand of God the Father. Now the whole world is awaiting His second coming when He will come to judge the living and the dead.

This second coming has been described in many ways - most which are fearsome. But to the people - His flock - the second coming of Christ will herald the coming of a new era. When that time comes death will lose its sting while Satan and all his workers will be cast into the bottomless pit. Man will be liberated from the pang of mortality and wear the garb of immortality. Then all those who died in Him will rise with Him on the Day of resurrection. This is our faith.

This season of lent offers us a special opportunity to meditate on these mysteries and then ponder the Beatific Vision. It is a season that evokes in every true child of God a special feeling of expiation and penance.

We are expected to devote 40 days out of the 365 days in a year to meditate on our past and see where we have offended God and seek reconciliation with Him. This is why it is worrisome that some persons feel nothing about the season. They still view the season as every other season. But how wrong they are! For me, there is no season as solemn as the season of Lent.

For the Nigerian Christians and indeed, every lover of this nation, we should not allow this season to elude us without you devoting some time to think and pray for Nigeria. We have done everything humanly possible to salvage this country and yet everything seems to be falling apart. We trusted in our wisdom and human strength, but all these have failed us. Why not then come back to God and seek his face in penitential acts?

Our nation, no doubt, is passing through difficult times. Like the Israelites, we are about to be swept away by the torrential deluge precipitated by our sinfulness. God seems to have deserted us because we have refused to repent and come back to Him. The centre can no longer hold. Life has become a huge burden for many Nigerians. It is a Herculean task for many families to afford two meals a day. Nobody is talking about square meals these days. All what many people are concerned about is just to find something to keep body and soul together. Quality in this case is no longer an issue.

I think all the problems of our nation take their root in the insufficient understanding of God and his amazing power to transform us into better citizens. There is nothing impossible for Him to do. I believe He is ever willing to give us another chance. God is not apathetic to our cries of agony in the times of distress. He is ever compassionate. All we need do is come to Him with our hearts torn and not our clothes. Some have misconstrued lent to mean an outward show of penitence. The Prophet Joel has made it clear how we should conduct ourselves during Lent.

Perhaps, some people may not know that there are several ways to atone for our sins. They include alms giving, visiting the sick and others in a state of isolation, fasting and abstaining from those things we used to indulge ourselves in, regular prayer, and forgiving those who offend us. While each of these methods of atoning for sin has been found to be efficacious alms giving has been adjudged the most efficacious. Through alms giving we exchange our afflictions for God's affections and at the same time positioning ourselves for the bounteous blessing of God's abundant love.

Our inability to comprehend the latent benefits of the season has been responsible for the lethargy with which many of us approach the season. But I wish to exhort you the reader to spare a moment this season and practice a bit of what I have taught here and you will be surprised by the way you will be enriched. Many of life's problems desire just simple solutions. And prayer and little acts of charity can change our grief into joy.

No matter the travails life may present it is often advised we stick to the ways of the Lord. It is not always easy for a good Christian to lead his daily life without temptations. However, when situations, such as this happen, we should look up to Christ - our ideal model - who shunned Satan's bogus promises after He had fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. If Christ, who is God, could be tempted, then what becomes of us – ordinary mortals? Suffering and temptation are two weapons Satan uses to try our faith. When sufferings come they usually leave us hamstrung, hopeless and hapless. But as believers in His word we should stand firm and confront them with fortitude and courage.

Those who work in the vineyard of the Lord are not supposed to plough and look back because He who ploughs and looks back is not fit for the kingdom. We should not behave like Lot's wife, who turned back to see what was happening to Sodom and Gomorrah and automatically became a bag of salt.

There are many who are like Lot's wife. Their faith in God is not built on any known foundation. They run from pillar to post in search of salvation. At the slightest pressure of life they falter. This category of people is looking for signs and wonder. And when they cannot find it they lose hope and begin to question the very existence of God.

The crucifixion of Christ on Good Friday is significant because it set us free from the bondage of the sin of our original parents - Adam and Eve. If Christ hadn't died and risen from the dead, probably our faith would have been useless. That Christ rose from the dead, therefore, is the reason for our bearing the name Christians - followers of Christ.

We may not die physically with Christ (because He had already done this for us at Golgotha) but we can do so by being dead to sin. By rejecting Satan and his evil ways we are dying with Christ and giving meaning to the ultimate sacrifice He made on the Cross at Calvary. Do you have the courage to turn away from sin and become a true ally of Christ as He walks to Golgotha? Can you resolve today to turn a new leaf and embrace the ways of righteousness and bear testimony as a true follower of Christ? These questions should be able to arouse your consciousness to make amends and opt for a life of piety and dignity.

How I wish our leaders would use this season to think about how far they have gone in fulfilling the promises they made to the electorate. They should spare some quiet moments to see where they have made progress and where they need to step up the effort. Governance is a very serious matter and should be tackled with all the attention it requires. No leader can go it all alone without seeking the help of God. It is only God that can guide them on the path of truth and shield them from the snares of the fowlers. This period is the best time to attain this great relationship with God.

It is not enough to imbibe the lessons of the Lenten season and dump them as soon as the season is over. The most important thing is for us to ensure that these lessons permeate our inner minds and make us better citizens in the end. Somebody asked me the other day why evil thrives in our society despite the increasing number churches. I think the answer is very simple. Many go to church without allowing the church to go through them. The same thing is applicable to education in Nigeria: some passed through the university without the university passing through them.

Our society will become better the moment we begin to allow the word of God to take root in our hearts.

How do you plan to celebrate the Easter? Revel in sin or exude the richness of the season such as to get to others, especially the less-privileged that are found within every inch of our country? Poverty has become such a pandemic that many families can hardly take care of themselves. How can such families celebrate the Easter with joy and jubilation? I think they can still join in the celebratory pomp of the season by making do with the little they have with open hearts and thanksgiving. They should remember that God has the capacity to turn around their situation and enrich them. After all, there is nothing impossible for Him to do. It is when we have lost hope that God takes over.

For the rich, they should share what they have with the poor in order for the season to make any meaning to them. It will not cost them anything if they give out just a little percentage of what the good Lord has endowed them with. The orphanages, schools for the blind, handicapped centres are begging for their attention. They should remember that it is by giving that one can receive. I recall with nostalgia Chief Moshood Abiola and his popular saying that the hand of the giver is always on top. And to add to that: Givers don't lack.

As we await the events that will culminate in the death and resurrection of Christ I urge us to show love to one another and avoid anything that will bring us in collision with the law. Let us live everyday as our last by doing good to all manner of men. Keeping for tomorrow what you can do today is dangerous because I wonder how many people are sure of seeing tomorrow.