What is with all these interrogation o Lord? I never planned for such questions when I left the confines of my room that Sunday morning. After the barrage of accusations bestowed on me during the service about Tony and I was ushered into the Associate Pastor’s room, it was as if I was being awaited to come and present my case. Have you started praying at all? Do you think you are getting any older? My sister, pray! What else are you waiting for? You have different degrees, you have a tush accommodation, a car, supportive parents, a very good job and most of all, Jesus! Isn’t there any guy yet? You want to finish Ph.D. first? I was speechless but by the time they were done questioning me without waiting for my response, I was asked to go and that we would meet on Tuesday for the continuation of the talk after I might have prayed and God must have spoken to me. That was right indeed! When would my prayers for God’s divine revelation be answered? Exactly when? Wait!…am I really still praying as if I mean it? I doubt it!
On Monday, I decided to fast and talk to God about the matter. I couldn’t bear to go for the counseling session on Tuesday and have nothing to say to the pastor. That would really show that I was not a responsible Christian. I wouldn’t want to risk that. I started praying from 12am on Monday morning on my knees. I wept! I opened my heart! I looked up and imagined Calvary with all the goodness that Jesus’ blood promised. God please speak! I suddenly lost all the words. I didn’t know what to say anymore. There was a great calm and I tried to listen as I could. What happened? Why would there be a silence such as this? My eyes firmly shut, my teeth tightly set with my fists balled up, I slept on the floor, almost hopeless. “I have spoken” I heard silently and still in my position, I was perplexed. “Who could have spoken now? I am alone in here and nobody could have gained entrance into the house.
“What did you say?” I asked again, now with a better concentration and commitment. I heard nothing God, please speak again! Was that you? A very, huge and dark silence! I became overwhelmed and sad. Why exactly wouldn’t God talk to me? I had read many books on what could be the cause of spiritual deafness and I couldn’t just imagine that after much sacrifices, God would still not hear nor speak to me! I recently had my restitutions done! Some lecturers that had gone to talk behind my back that I was a workaholic and whom I had already had in my mind- in malice, I confronted them. I went to meet them, told them they had hurt me and we settled. All who have hurt me, I had forgiven. The pledges, tithes and offerings of my income, I offered with a very open heart. I was nice and welcoming! Hospitability would be a very little word to describe how much of a philanthropist I had become! I had always abhorred very good and clean thoughts and so what could the problem be? Why wouldn’t God speak to me? He spoke and then suddenly to reaffirm that it was He, He had refused to say anything. What could I do? Immediately I realized that I was becoming very down in the spirit, I stood up from the floor and put my Bible away in my bed safe.
“You haven’t rounded off your prayers” I heard something told me and I twisted my nose to a corner. That had been the best of God I had ever had. Was that my conscience talking to me? I was already used to that one but I needed another real thing…something really GOD! I walked to the mirror and saw my red, swollen eyes. I wiped my face and my heart dropped again. What was I going to tell the Pastor tomorrow? What? As I lamented and tears ran into my eyes again, my phone’s notification sound beeped and I picked it up to check. It was a message. I unlocked my phone and started reading the message. This is to remind you of our Master Life Discipleship Class today at the University’s Worship Centre by 5.00pm. Come prepared and may God bless you. I had totally forgotten I jumped into the bathroom , jumped out in a jiffy and started to get ready for the service. Though I wasn’t feeling great, I wondered what made me jump up that way. I racked my brain the more and sighed. Definitely not! It definitely couldn’t have been because of Tony. Tony has a person already so what was the excitement of seeing him about? It was just the joy of the Lord jare I shrugged, trying to convince myself to think straight. Since he was practicing in the College Hospital of the university where I taught, he worshipped in the school chapel sometimes and so he was made a discipleship teacher. I just joined his class last three weeks when he invited me there and oh my!… It’d been so wonderful! He was a very good teacher!
The discipleship class was very fun and I really thanked the Lord because my bad mood and ingratitude at God just melted away like a candle beside the fire. This Tony boy was just so blessed and anointed of God! “God speaks in Diverse ways” was the topic and see how God just reassured me in so many ways. Oh my! All through the programme, though I envied the lady that had won this guy’s heart, I listened with rapt attention. …and I was blessed!
“I thank all of you that came around to my church on Sunday to honor the outgone corps members. God bless you” he said and the members all responded well. There was a loud laughter from a corner. I looked towards the corner to check who it was. Just then, there was a loud sigh from another corner and I looked at it again What happened nah? The sighs increased and I wondered what it was. Tony had the perplexed look on his face too.
“What is it nah?” he asked and one girl cleared her throat, a very funny smile on her face.
“Hmmmm, our Oga has started keeping secrets from us o” one of the guys said.
That was when I knew that it was a planned one by the whole students — except me! Tony smiled
“I don’t seem to understand you dearies” he said, carrying his Bible
“…even maritally God has done it!” one said, emphasizing the maritally well and I got it! Oh gosh! This wasn’t just fair! What sort of a demeaning, embarrassing question was that oh Lord? I shouldn’t have come for the discipleship class jare. They just want to spoil my tummy for me and make me think one kind. Tony smiled heartily I looked at everyone present and I felt ashamed of myself! They were all looking happy for him, smiling graciously. I started practicing how to laugh a real, genuine laughter but as much as I tried to, it was not real at all.
“Of course nah. You want to know her?” he asked and they all screamed ‘Yes’ I didn’t want to be the odd one out, so I said ‘yes’ too.
“I will tell you” he said and I smiled though, but I cried in my heart. It felt as if I had really bad constipation in my heart! Oh my father! But the look on his face was not the usual bold, daring one He was sweating under his nose and under his lower lip. Although he was smiling, there was something about the smile that I didn’t understand. Was it afraid? Or shy? Or timid? Something like that!
“She is a lecturer!” he blurted out and my heart skipped a beat.
“Hmmmm” the students exclaimed and clapped joyously. Lecturer ke! I just pray I don’t know the person o…if not, I pray I don’t act like Abigail!
“Tell us more” they screamed and he smiled again.
“Her surname is Williams” he said again and they clapped again ,That was my surname!
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“The lady would pay for answering the same surname with me o” I tried to mutter and while everyone laughed loudly, he smiled- weirdly!
“And she is seated in here with us as Sister Precious” he seated, picked up his Bible and turned to go. All eyes was on me and I was shocked. My heart resigned from its duty for some seconds before I regained my wellness. As if being consoled, I pulled him back by the collar. I felt his shivers but I was in worse shivering too and I couldn’t help myself.
“Where were you going to?” I asked in a very shaky voice. Everyone watched on. Tony kept on looking downwards.
“You mean that after saying that kind of a thing, you expected me to jump up and say ‘oh, a great, handsome guy has proposed!’ was that your expectation?” I almost shouted. The members of the other discipleship centers had started gathering to look at us.
“What audacity and effrontery do you have to say such a thing while turning back to leave? Exactly what? Answer me!” I shook him by the collar and he said nothing still.
“Are you a celeb? Even if! I don’t care. Is that your proposal? Even if I don’t like candles and fireworks, what sort of a thing is this? Exactly what? I am begging to marry you? Tell me” I ranted on and I was shocked that my Mr. Macho had suddenly turned to ‘vegetables’
“What is happening here?” a voice came from behind me and I looked at him. It was David, Tony’s closest friend. He looked shocked as he quickly came to his friend’s rescue. He hugged him and like a baby, Tony hid his face in his chest and held unto him tightly.
“Tony, what is it?” he asked and I watched on. Have I done something suicidal? It was this guy that made me feel stupid as if getting married to him was a big deal or that I had no choice or something. That was why I did that jhur They should stop making me feel guilty please!
“Oh, please don’t be angry at his sudden outburst” David said, looking at me intently. I wondered how Tony explained the matter to him when I was so close to them and I heard nothing from their mouths. Their friendship codes must be really tight o! I could only nod.
“It’s his first time” David said again and Tony sobbed loudly.
“Awwwww” one group member said .
“No wonder!” another group member said. I turned to look around and all eyes were fully set on me. Chai! Was it my fault that he had never propose to any lady before? But wait o… Its weird jhur! Someone of that caliber- from a prestigious hospital in the exposed and sultry America had never asked a lady out? Of course, he is outdated! David led Tony away and I felt empty inside. What drama just unfolded? I wasn’t a naturally hot tempered person…so what happened? Was I too overjoyed that I didn’t even know what I was doing? But…. Even if this guy didn’t know the right way to go by it, couldn’t he ask colleagues to give him clues as to how to do these things? Couldn’t he? He still has his faults abeg!
“You still have your own faults my dear” that was undoubtedly Alice’s voice and I felt a jab in my heart. Alice had been my friend from the secondary school and we have had things in common for a long time- she was a lecturer too. Tony was her greatest crush! I would never had wanted her to watch this kind of drama- never! But here she was!
“You have things go easy for you Precious that you sometimes lose focus” she said. Although I felt for her that she must have had her heart broken by this unexpected proposal, I couldn’t stand this long talk of accusation.
“You were not here at the beginning of the whole thing. So who are you to judge?” I retorted and still maintaining a stern face, she shook her hand.
“But you should know that I am too intelligent not to fix my storyline together even if I start watching the drama from the middle” she said, smiling mockingly. Of course I know! She was a really great raconteur- she tells tales as if she was there when they happened! But she shouldn’t bring that in here please
“You hated surprises and according to the story you earlier told me, you told him you hated candles and fireworks or whatever…the poor guy asked you what you liked then and you thought he was asking for asking sake? Of course no! Oh how I hate clueless people!” she exclaimed and buried her head in her hands. Oh! I now understand! I didn’t faint when all these happened Instead, I gained more strength to pull at his collar. His method was actually the one that could curtail my rubbish heart from fainting unnecessarily! Oh my! I never saw it in that light Never! This guy had won again! Oh Alice! Oh my! Oh Tony! As the crowd dispersed, grumbling, mumbling and gisting as they went, I sat down beside Alice and buried my head into my hands too. The flashes of the vision I had earlier where I saw Tony and I came to live in my skull television. How he drove my car . How he called me MMR. How he looked deeply into my eyes . How we were clad in the same type of attire . How he had always appreciated my rare big stature in real life. How he had possessively held my hands when we were before Abigail! Oh my! I was just so clueless! Of course, Alice must have a strong hatred for clueless people like me. Hmmmm… Just then, my mind went to the reason we were brought together in the vision. If the coming together of Tony and I was already coming to pass, chai! That would spell a real, thick trouble o. A real, thick one! I saw as Mummy Pastor bled so much that she died and the whole church gathered round her to mourn her and pastor wept!
“I reject it in Jesus’ name” I screamed suddenly. Alice looked up at me questionably but I was not in the mood to start saying anything further!
It’d been three weeks since I saw her and oh my! I hadn’t visited her! The lectures had been really hectic especially as I was dealing with final year students. I packed my stuff quickly and pecked Alice.
“I am sorry friend and thanks for the bash! I’ve got to go somewhere urgently” I said and ran out of the hall with Alice’s eyes following after me- I was so sure!
I was so weak! But I wouldn’t die! Not at all! I had been on this mountain for three weeks now without food, water or change of raiment. The pajamas that I wore that very day I left home was the only thing on me. The dew of heaven had been my source of bath since I got there. Of a truth, the saying that one should pray so that one wouldn’t pray was a real big advice! Because I failed in my responsibility as a father and a husband, I knew that only God could have mercy once again and heal my family. I was clueless about everything! I had been a man who had desired a very happy home and it had been the case. I had a really beautiful wife and three intelligently wonderful kids. All went well until I started cheating on my wife! Of course that was what it was or what was another name for neglecting one’s own wife and moving out of the house to another to get glued to a ministry? That was cheating of the highest order! With her wonderful hat and expensive suits that I bought her for the ministry’s occasion, she would enter my car every Sunday with no complaints. She would peck me and pray for me I thought she enjoyed me being away from her….how the devil deceived me! Oh how clueless I was! My wife had been blown around like that for a very long time and I didn’t know! She had gone through the painful stress of chemo and I never knew. The Holy Spirit didn’t tell me. Oh my Father! She had been the candle in the wind all along. She had her light up no matter what! The candle kept on shining and enduring the wind as it blew violently. But the wind was too powerful! The candle couldn’t stay alive anymore… It died! I shuddered at the reality of what was on ground and started to pray again. “God have mercy!” I cried on “Go home” the Spirit told me. I was so conversant with the voice that I was convinced that it was him.
“I should go home when I don’t know whatever my fate is? I should go home when the doctor had dictated the path the destiny of my wife was taking? Obviously not oh Lord!” I cried and tried to hold onto the leg of the Lord as if I could see it so he would replace everything in my wife’s body again.
“Go home” the spirit said again and my heart dropped. The voice didn’t give me peace! It was just a wary command and I was shaken. I fell on the rocky surface again and cried the more. “Pastor!” I heard that voice faintly and I was shocked! Who could that be? That was a feminine voice and how did she get to know where I was? I tried far into my farm to start on the mountain in it. Who could have known about it?
“Daddy!” another voice echoed and I was dazed It wasn’t getting funny any longer. That was a male voice. They were running and panting.
“Pastor Idile!” the feminine voice cried out again and I became scared the more. My resolve was that I would not leave this place till I got news that my wife was well again but those voices were not nice. The Spirit’s voice wasn’t assuring either. I stood up and looked towards the north where the voices were sounding from and I saw them coming! Tony and Precious!
“Tony!” I shouted and he looked at me and started running again.
“Daddy!….ah, thank God” he screamed.
“Precious, what has happened?” I asked faintly and they came before me. As if being controlled, they held their knees, panting heavily and trying to find the right words. I surprisingly had a great deal of patience though my heart thumped so loudly and violently. Tony looked up and oh my! The red eyes and nose! Precious started sobbing and looked up at me Tears! I fell to the ground again and resolved that I was going to die on the mountain too.
“Daddy, you have to come with us” Tony said hopelessly and I looked into Precious’ face for moral support but her negative nods killed it all.
“Oh God, why?” I cried aloud, my hands were raised to the heavens. I shook so terribly but I had no choice! If I would faint or die, this wilderness would still be the most appropriate place. Oh God!
“Just go home” the spirit said again. My heart shattered into different irreparable pieces!
>>To Be Continued<<<
The Candle In The Winf~Epidode 15