It was a few minutes to five when Daniel walked into Oakwood Christian Church and was greeted with a warm smile from a young man that pointed out a seat to him. He bit his lip. He wasn’t sure if he had made the right decision coming over but time would tell. The room held different men of different ages. There were about twenty-plus of them there.
He took his seat and took a deep breath to calm his nerves. It was a plus for him that no one knew him; he didn’t need anyone looking at him and shaking their heads or confronting him. He just wanted to be on his own.
They were all seated for about ten minutes before the meeting started with a prayer from a bulky, elderly man in glasses and from there the bible study kicked off.
“I have had a few men walk up to me to ask all sorts of questions on living right with God and man, living chaste when we are surrounded with women who don’t care if their dressing is hurting a brother or not, being a good father to our children and so forth. Today, I want us to focus on one that deeply touched my heart and I’m sure is a great foundation for us all before we broach other topics. Today we talk on who we are as men. Not just any man, but a man dependent on God.”
Daniel swallowed hard. All of a sudden all of him screamed ‘get out!’ but he stayed put. He didn’t know what held his feet to the ground.
“I won’t lie to everyone in this room and say I have been the best of husbands or the best of fathers through out my life. There have been times where I made mistakes I regretted and I was never the best God wanted me to be.” He laughed. “I was very far from it. Not that today I’m there already, but I can confidently say that I’m more dependent on God now than I was then, for living the kind of life He expected of me. Many of you here know my story. You know how I cheated on my wife and ran off with another woman.
“I had kids outside my matrimonial home. But God still brought me back home. I reconciled with my wife of thirty years,” Everyone in the room clapped loudly and a few shouted ‘praise God!’while Daniel just stared at him; a lot of thoughts running through his mind. He had a lot of questions in him that needed answers. The elderly man raised his hand for them to stop and gradually everyone settled back to listen to him.
“All the glory belongs to God. After I reconciled with my wife, God gave me a mandate to teach His Word to men and let them know what He expects of them in life; as His son, as a husband to their wives, as a father to their biological and spiritual children and as leaders in the church and society. When God gave me that calling I looked at myself and my past and asked God why. Why would He tell me to do such when it’s clear I’m totally unqualified.” He smiled. “He told me words I have hid in my heart for the past twenty-years;
Daniel watched other men nodding and others looking sober from the heaviness of his words.
“I ask each and everyone of you in this room. What kind of man are you and are you dependent on God? When you answer that question it’s enough for you to know if you’re living the life God wants. How far have you fallen from the tree and then comes the question, how can I get back? When God created man He gave him certain things to do. Let’s turn our bibles to Genesis chapter two and lets get started.”
She held on to her tummy and laughed loudly.
“Seriously Korede? How could you do such a thing?” She flipped from her side to lay on her back. “How could you take your money back from a beggar?”
“I already explained why I did what I did. He was going to buy hard drugs and I wasn’t going to stand for it. He asked me for money to buy food. I gave him money, expecting him to buy food from the buka not too far from me and the next thing I know he’s making contact with one guy to sell him weed.”
“How are you sure it was weed?”
“My dear, I saw the signs and I followed my instinct. I should have followed it the time when I knew I shouldn’t have. I just wanted to be the good guy and give when I noticed others weren’t giving the guy face. Anyway, I took the man to the food joint and bought him the food and gave him.”
Adesewa thought on it a bit then said, “Should we give to others just because God said we should or because He leads us to do so?”
He chuckled. “That’s the same question I was asking myself. God knows all things and He’s a good God who expects us to do good as well. So if we don’t help them does it mean we’re doing wrong or what? And if we do give to those who are just looking for the next cash to get weed, what do we do?”
“That’s a good question.” Adesewa sighed. “I really don’t know but what…”
Zainab walked into her room interrupting the conversation and sat down on the bed. Adesewa would have loved if she excused her till she was done with her conversation, but knowing her she wouldn’t even do that.
“Korede can we talk later? I need to attend to maid-of-honour duties.”
“Sure. Would chat you up tomorrow. Take care.”
Why tomorrow? “Okay then. Bye.”
She hadn’t dropped the call when Zainab asked who Korede was. She ended the call and dropped the phone on her bed. “An old friend of mine. What’s so urgent that you couldn’t afford me the privacy to finish my call?”
She ignored her question. “So who’s this new guy that has you blushing and talking on the phone for thirty minutes?”
Adesewa frowned. “You were timing me?”
“Not on purpose. I just happened to look at the time when the guy called, hoping you would be done in the next ten minutes. I was wrong.”
“Okay. So since you’re here what’s up?” She couldn’t wait to text Korede. Waiting to hear from him tomorrow seemed too far.
“Sonia called me a couple of hours ago and I’m not sure if I should take her threat seriously.”
Adesewa sat on the bed, Zainab had her full attention. “What threat?”
“She would tell IK everything. She has videos of our encounters. She said she would show them to him.”
“So what do you plan on doing? Your wedding is barely two weeks away. What does she want?”
“She wants us to continue what we once had.”
“Is she out of her mind? She should carry that her lesbian attitude elsewhere. Don’t give in to her demands Zee. Just tell IK. That guy loves you and I’m sure he would forgive your past mistakes. It’s not like you were with her while you were with him.”
Zainab looked away.
Adesewa reached out to touch her arm. “Right?”
“I was with her a couple of times. There were times IK frustrated me and I felt she was the only one that could understand me. It was a long time ago though.”’
“So what do you want to do about it?”
Her friend shrugged and got up from the bed. “I would meet up with her.”
“What!” Adesewa screamed. “That would be a big mistake.”
“It would be my mistake then. I can’t imagine how disgusted IK would feel about all this.”
“He would understand if -”
“Sonia is my cousin!” She cut in. “My mum’s sister’s child and we have been intimate with each-other. How do you expect him to understand? If you were in my shoes would you do the same thing and risk everyone finding out? I’ve been the black sheep enough. I don’t need to add to it.”
Adesewa shook her head. “I don’t agree with this Zee. There’s always another way out.”
“By telling the truth? It could work for you but not for me, and don’t even think about telling IK anything. Mind your business and focus on that new guy of yours. You’re my friend. Just support me.”
She walked out of the room.
Adesewa took off her wig and flung it on her pillow. The cool breeze combing it’s fingers through her weaves was very much welcome. She knew no words for her friend at that moment except for her to tell the truth. She had known about Zainab’s ‘girl-issues’ when she had stayed with her in Abuja a while back, when she was healing from Daniel when they broke up the first time.
She had been very sceptical of living with her . . . Extremely uncomfortable after the discovery, but Zainab had made it clear she didn’t see her in that light. Adesewa had kept her friend’s secret not really seeing the big deal in it and it was her own life to live. But now . . . Now things were different.
Can I really support her?
She couldn’t seat back and watch her friend make a mistake. She couldn’t stand as her maid-of-honour if she was going to lie to her fiancé about something so bad.
Her conscience wouldn’t let her be.
Rumours were going about that his daughter was no longer in her husband’s house and there was a possibility he had an illegitimate child. His congregation members were treating him the same way they treated his daughter, with disdain and disgust.
Eghosa flipped through the pages of his worn-out bible. It was the same bible he had used for the past fifteen years and the best book he had ever read in his life. He had followed God’s precepts one after the other and tried so much to live the life God expected of him . . . But these days he was losing faith.
He had counselled on marriage for a lot of people and even counselled them again after their marriage. People make mistakes but because it just happened to be from the Pastor’s daughter it was a crime. It gave room for them to doubt his capabilities to lead the church and counsel others.
Lord, is this my reward after so many years of serving You? Is this how it all comes to?
The passages came swiftly to his heart, Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth. But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice.
Eghosa smiled. The scriptures were from the book of psalm, a book he was currently studying and here was God comforting him through it. He knew everything would be alright. God was faithful and He was never late with His plans and purposes for His children Eghosa knew that but he wished he could know the plans of God for his daughters.
IK, the young man dating his eldest daughter, had called to let him know they were getting married in two weeks and they would love for him to be there. Knowing his daughter may not be as willing to see him as his future son-in-law he had smiled and told him he would he there.
Efe was thriving at were she was serving but he had a feeling things were not as right as she claimed it to be. He had a heaviness in his heart to pray for her and he had been doing so. Felix informed him of their grand-daughter living with him for the time-being while Daniel got his act together.
If he ever gets it together.
He felt sad for the son he thought he had in him. A man that looked to have a promising future. Eghosa didn’t just feel sad for him but he also felt anger for how he had treated his daughter. But he did the best thing he could do for him as well . . . Pray. Pray for him to be all God wanted him to be. Pray for God’s plans for his life prevail despite how far he may have gone from God’s path for him. He was working at forgiving him, but it was difficult.
He chuckled to himself. He had preached forgiveness on different occasions but he was finding it hard to do it.
“God help me forgive as you want me to. Even if he doesn’t get back with Efe,” The thought grieved his spirit, “even if down the line things go sour for us all . . . Help me forgive and love with the way you want me to. No matter how had it is.”
Her thoughts kept her awake most of the night that she hardly got any sleep. Last night she had asked God if she was falling in love with Amanze and did she truly expect Him to be supportive when He was clearly telling her to focus on Him and His love?
It was Friday morning and Efe was already at her desk sorting out files of the previous day. Amanze wasn’t at work yet and she looked forward to his coming but she also warned herself to be cautious. She had already made the mistake of kissing him twice and she wasn’t going back.
She resumed focus on her work, but it wasn’t long before Amanze walked over to her table on his way to his office with a huge smile on his face. It wasn’t just the smile that had him looking handsome that morning but the fitted navy-blue suit he wore that enunciated his broad shoulders.
“Good morning Efe. How are you?” He asked.
She smiled a little. “Good morning sir. Fine thank you and how was your night?”
“It was splendid.” And out of ear-shots he added. “I had the best date last night.” He winked at her and walked straight into his office.
Efe let out a breath. Who wouldn’t want a guy like Amanze? He’s a perfect gentleman and he’s considerate of my feelings. He doesn’t even care that I have a daughter.
He had told her how he would love to meet her daughter someday soon and probably the three of them could got get some ice-cream. The thought had warmed her heart and she could picture that perfect family she had always wanted. A man who would love her tenderly and the children they would have. A family filled with love and happiness. It wasn’t too much to ask for.
Aren’t you leaving me out of the picture? You don’t want a man whose heart is first sold out to me?
Efe sighed. God I can’t help it. Each day I keep falling for him and I can’t help my heart.
Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
She nodded to herself. So what do you expect of me God? What an I to do now?
Embrace My Love.
This was one of the times Efe felt like refusing to do what God expected from her. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. When she opened them a tall, slim beautiful woman was standing in-front of her with a handsome baby boy.
“Is that what they pay you to do? Sleep on the job?”
Efe proffered a smile that wasn’t entirely from her heart. Who is she to judge me? “Good morning ma, how may I help you?’
She didn’t smile back. “Please tell your boss his baby mama is here to see him.”
“Why did you invite me to your church?”
They weren’t able to have their discussion after the meeting ‘cause she had rushed home afterwards. Now they sat together at her church just after the morning prayers as people filed out. Some weren’t in a hurry to leave while most dashed out clearly not wanting to be late to work or wherever it was they were headed to. Daniel on the other-hand had some minutes to kill before leaving.
“I told you, God wanted me to talk to you.”
Daniel found that so hard to believe after everything he had done to those he claimed to love and that loved him.
“What’s on your mind? I feel you have loads of questions to ask.”
“Can you answer my questions?”
She shrugged. “I can try. I have the Spirit of God in me.”
The church was almost empty and Daniel figured he would soon have to leave.
“Okay. What do you do when you make mistakes over and over again and keep apologizing to God but yet you still make the same mistakes?”
“I get up from my many mistakes and go back to God. I’m His child. No matter how much I hurt Him or wrong Him, He is still interested in me. There may be consequences for my actions but God still loves me. The bible says, for a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again . . . No matter how many times you fall you would still rise if you remain in Christ.”
“What if I fall more than seven times? What happens?”
“God would forgive you, but then it shows you aren’t completely relying on the strength of God to help you through your weaknesses or struggles. The bible teaches us as believers that it’s not right for us to sin over and over again that we make sin a lifestyle. Paul said . . .” she turned to look at him, “You know Paul right?”
Daniel nodded. Paul was the guy that thought he was doing God a favour by persecuting the Christians and stopping them from preaching about Jesus and His resurrection. Until Jesus appeared to him and told him he was persecuting Him by oppressing His people. That was how he believed.
“Right. So Paul said in Romans that what he wished to do wasn’t what he was doing ‘cause his flesh was opposed to it. But he said thank God for His grace made available to him to overcome sin. How much are you relying on God’s grace than your human strength?”
His phone rang then and he brought out his phone from his pants. It was Ebuka.
“I have to go now. I’m late for work.”
He rose and she did same.
“We would talk later then. Have a great day.”
“Yeah, and you too. Thanks for your time.”
She smiled. “Thank God.”
He made a dash to his car and got in. He drove off immediately but he wasn’t in a hurry to forget all Mitchell had said to him that morning.
TO BE CONTINUED…
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Author: Temitope Ogunyinka
Temitope Ogunyinka, is a loving, caring and friendly person. She is passionate about impacting the world through timeless wisdom and knowledge found in her thought provoking stories and writing that applies to all ages. Her stories and articles cut across love, relationship and romance in a way that does not deny the relevance of God in our everyday life. She is a devoted christian, passionate about bringing people to the knowledge of God’s true and unfailing love.
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