TheNigerianVoice Online Radio Center


By NBF News

I have used this biblical text to illustrate what happens when we are faced by difficulties that defy any known human solutions. Often we react to situations from the human perspective without a thought about what God had destined for us.

Similarly, many things happen in our daily lives that tax our patience, tolerance, fortitude and beliefs. What do we experience when trials and temptations come our way? What about when friends, who hitherto you had had rosy relationships with, suddenly betray you? These friends forget all that you went through together to be where you are today. From nowhere, allegations start flying around how bad you have been.

I have always known that human beings are difficult, mischievous, uncanny and untrustworthy. When they want anything from you they pretend they love you. They can kowtow and do all kinds of demeaning things just to convince you of how good they are, but inside of them they nurse evils of all kinds. Once they get what they desire, they turn their venoms on you, calling you all forms of names. It is at this time they suddenly realise you have, all along, been a never-do-well, a thief, an intimidator, an extortionist, a liar, and a destroyer. When the going was good you were almost seen as a saint. They doted on you anywhere you went without solicitation. They saw you as a problem solver and bombarded you with them in torrents.

Notwithstanding their slippery, snaky, chameleonic and tricky nature you chose to trust them. After all, we must trust one another, not animals. Despite their incompleteness, you opted to accommodate them in your life. What is life without trust? Great men and women who lived before us suffered all kinds of betrayal, even from their closest allies. Our Lord Jesus Christ was betrayed by Judas Iscariot - one of His disciples. Judas, despite all the trust lavished on him by Jesus, sold him for 30 shekels of silver. He kissed Jesus on the lips to show his assailants who He was.

The role of Judas in the suffering of Christ on the Cross at Calvary was designed by God to glorify Jesus as Our Lord and Saviour. So, when trials and tribulations afflict us or when friends, relatives or loved ones betray us we should take it to God in prayer. We do not have any justification to seek vengeance. Naturally, we may be tempted to retaliate, but it is advisable you sheathe the sword and allow God to fight for you.

The truth is that those who sell out, under whatever guise, suffer from some form of kleptomania. It is not a healthy human attitude, but one steeped in an uncontrollable urge by one to reap where one did not sow. Greed is propelled by a deep desire to amass wealth, which one does not necessarily need. Those who kill, blackmail, castigate, impugn, or besmirch other people's character are obsessed by greed. I wonder what other name one can call this kind of excessive behavioural deficiency if not greed.

Life is a bundle of puzzles and mysteries, you know. The moment we were born, we signed to face the trails and vicissitudes of life with equanimity. At times, when we consider the gravity of problems that confront us daily as we work to eke out a living, we tend to lose hope. We become despondent, fitful, and besieged. We think, at this time, that all is lost, or that God is no longer alive. Can anybody or anything obliterate the presence of God in our lives? As witnesses to the word we are assailed daily by the worries of life. In our hopelessness, we are forced to utter uncharitable words against God, our neighbours, leaders and others in positions of authority.

There is no way we cannot face difficulties, because they are the hallmark of every Christian's life? As Christians, we are witnesses to the gospel of the Kingdom of God. And this makes us co-heirs of the Kingdom, just as Christ is. The troubles of life are stepping stones that challenge us to continue to trust in God and work conscientiously for the good of one another. Christ Himself did not curse those that betrayed Him, rather He prayed for them for His Father in heaven to forgive them for they knew not what they were doing.

When we are buffeted from every angle by the storms of life, what are we expected to do? Lose hope or curse God? No way: we should remain hopeful and prayerful, because every problem has an expiry date.

There are many persons whose lives remain a source of inspiration to many of us. Lives of great men and women such as Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Jnr., Nnamdi Azikiwe, Herbert Macaulay, Nelson Mandela, George Washington, Indira Ghandi, Michael Okpara, etc., motivate me so much. These were people who sacrificed their lives for the cause they believed in. They suffered all kinds of persecution, humiliation, betrayal, denigration, sabotage, yet they were not cowed. They stood firm and confronted every difficulty that came their way with courage and straightforwardness. Their simplicity of life and undaunted spirits were quite exemplary. They lived and died – standing firm in their beliefs.

One of the biggest obstacles to our faith is wobbliness. We hardly sustain our resistance in the face of troubles and trials - at the slightest pressure we fall by the wayside. Shying away from problems does not serve any useful purpose: it rather leaves us distraught and suspended. It is like postponing the doomsday. When we are in this kind of dire-straight, trusting in God is the most commonsensical thing to do, because God does not fail, no matter the situation.

Those who trusted in God's faithfulness in the past never regretted it. Abram obeyed God when he asked him to leave the land in which he lived and go to the land he would show him. His name was later changed to Abraham. And because he obeyed and trusted God he was richly rewarded as the father of multitudes. At an old age, Abraham and his wife, Sarah, were blessed with a son, Isaac. Isaac begot Jacob and Esau. Jacob later became the father of the 12 tribes of Israel, which have existed till this day, in fulfilment of God's promise to Abraham.

There were several other instances where God showed his faithfulness. In each of these cases he used his awesome grace to navigate the beneficiaries out of their quagmires. This simply demonstrates the willingness of God to allow us to encounter him as we walk through our individual difficulties.

What are important in our relationship with God are our personal dispositions towards him, particularly in the face of adversities. There is always the temptation of pandering to our own beliefs and indulgences without trusting in God wholly. There is little we can do when we trust in our own strengths. Our strengths are nothing comparable to the awesomeness of God the Most High. He is always ready to intervene in our special circumstances by extinguishing our enemies and giving us victory over our adversaries.

I want anybody to show me any instance in which God has failed. The Bible is replete with accounts of the wonderful feats the good Lord wrought for those who put their hope and trust in Him. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end and, therefore, knows about any situation ever before it erupts.

It is my belief that nothing happens by accident: it happens as the Lord has willed it. This is why I believe that whatever happens to a man is for his good. Otherwise, it would not have happened in the first place. We are usually at a loss when things do not happen the way we want, forgetting that God must have his seal upon anything before it can take place.

My worry is that some persons, especially our leaders, behave as if the world is their permanent abode. There is a more blissful, permanent home in heaven - in the bosom of God. This life is ephemeral while everything in it is nothing but vanity. The only thing that cannot fail is a life rooted in the love and fear of God. When we lead a life of empathy, righteousness, and abiding faith in God we are positioning ourselves for eternal life in the Kingdom of God.

So, what is man that he should boast and brag, knowing how vulnerable he is? Many had gone when they thought that life was just looking up for them. If man is like a weed that sprouts in the morning, grows up and dies in the evening, why then does he fret over little, transient things?

The level of unfaithfulness in our society is heart-tearing. There is unfaithfulness in business relationships, unfaithfulness in marital life, unfaithfulness in fraternal and filial relationships, unfaithfulness in politics, and even unfaithfulness in friendship. This raises a very important question: who can then be trusted if human beings can be so unfaithful? As believers, we should see faithfulness a precursor to whatever relationships we go into. An unfaithful person is a very dangerous person: he says one thing and does another. His words are full of deceit and untruths. He never rejects anything evil. In fact, he plots your downfall, pretending to be your friend and ally. Such persons abound in large numbers in our society. And they are ever ready to destroy anybody who attempts to trust them one bit.

But what then should be our attitude when those we trust betray us? The natural thing for any human being to do in this circumstance is to seek revenge. This shows how human and feeble-minded man can be. As children of God, we should not seek revenge. We should rather bring our complaints before God. He is the only one that can apportion punishment appropriately. What man sees as a disappointment may be just a process through which God wants to show His mightiness and fulfil his designs in our lives. That is why Isaiah 55: 8-10 captures the huge difference between man's plans and the divine order.

I believe that God remains God: he does not change. His ways are a mystery while his plans for us are inestimable. In whatever happens we should give thanks to God. But one thing is certain: no evil shall go unpunished. Even the Bible makes it clear that the wicked may prosper, but they shall be destroyed ultimately. The wicked may despise God but they shall certainly be doomed. This is why we should be careful in all that we do.

Like Satan, the wicked will be brought to a tragic end because of his pride. Because God gave Lucifer (the head of the angels then) a privileged position he thought he could be like God. He became conceited and arrogant. But how did he end? Tragically, and he lost everything and was chased down from heaven into the world.

For those who are tormented, persecuted, cajoled, humiliated, intimidated, harassed, and even slighted, this is a clarion call for them to be steadfast in their faith. They should not allow their temporal difficulties sway them such as to lose their faith. God is still God; he does not change or falter. The only thing is that his judgment does not come as swiftly as we envisage, but it will surely come.

As for me, I have always trusted and obeyed. I know that the God who created me would surely take care of me. My life is a buoyant testimony of the Lord's goodness. He has never failed to lead me through my most trying moments. This is why I have never prayed for death for my detractors. I pray for repentance for them for what shall I gain from the death of a sinner. It is better he repents and returns to God and have his soul saved than to perish in his iniquities.

The God, we serve, will never allow our enemies to gloat over our distress. Like Daniel, he will never fail to come to judgment when the time is nigh.