The Faith of a Nigeria Man Vol. 2, No.21

During the Nigerian-Biafran civil war, called the war of the Brothers (1967-1970), people used to run into bush for safety, to take cover. In one of the Biafran villages affected by the war, there was one middle aged man Onyemaechi by name. He had deep faith and trust in God that God would protect him from death in this bloody war. He took off in one of the nights of hot battle and air raids, when even the invading solidiers were already dangeriously patrollingng a neighbouring village to his own, he prayed and prayed. Earlier, his family had been evacuated to a more distant village to stay with relations. Only he was still around. He was of course in mental agony and psychological suffering as is the case with the victim of any war.

After his prayers, the man Onyemaechi decided to take these things for his flight and refuge in the bush. He took bible, a bush lamp with matches and an alarm clock. He hoped to read his bible and pray each morning as early as 4am. The alarm clock was to wake him up while the lamp would supply him light to pray and read the bible. He meant well. And so he departed, basing his trust on the living God who never fails his faithful even in war and calamities. But that very night he escaped into the bush, without his knowing the soldiers had approached that zone from another side of the town. He was successfull in carrying out his spiritual exercises the first night. But that was also the last. For the following day, the box of matches he put near his lamp was lost beyond find, carried away by a rat while he was sleeping. Soon, his alarm clock was gone. It fell into a ditch beyond entrance as he was trying to cross over to another port of the bush. Even animals pursued him and thank God, he was not eaten by wild animals as he fled still to a farther part of the bush, thicken and more lonely. For his apparently incomprehensible predicament, he bemoaned his life and his condition which was getting beyond human endurance. He wanted to die, But only prayer and trust in God to whom all life belongs kept him going there in the wild bush. Besides, during wars, all reptiles are meat, and all grass is food, insects, when one is able to catch them are delicacies. Onyemaechi suffered but did not die.

For loosing his match box as well as his alarm clock, with which to pray, Onyemaechi felt God has abandoned him. But his so called predicaments were necessary in order to avoid light in the night and the ringing of the alarm clock that would have attracted enemies to assassinate him. The man lost his few but precious belongings in order that his life, more precious than all these put together, may be saved. God was saving him through suffering. Our sufferings are for a purpose; for good, for life, for great events in ones life. God permits nothing for nothing. But why wouldn’t God permit nothing for nothing??? In our December series therefore, we shall discuss our suffering and its mission.

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