“I really don’t know what to do, Inenna. My dad just left the room now, he is very angry with me” She managed to say.
“Calm down and talk to me Fatima, what happened?”
“He said he noticed a change in my behavior so he wanted to know what’s happening. When he asked if I was still saying my daily prayers and reading the holy book, I…”
“Did you tell him?”
“I lied, Inenna. I lied that I still said my daily prayers and read the Koran. I was afraid to tell him. I feel so bad, does this mean I have denied Jesus?”
“No, not at all, that’s not what it means. God knows you still love him and are willing to serve him. Don’t let the devil fill you with guilt and shame. Just ask God to forgive you and move on. What you will do is to find a convenient time and have a private discussion with your dad, but you don’t have to rush it; take your time no matter how long it takes.” I tried reassuring her.
“God, I am so scared. The look on his face was not good at all.”
“Yes, he will be angry but I assure you, God will take care of you. What of your mum, does she know yet?”
“Not yet, but she is really getting suspicious.”
“I think it will be easier for you to talk to your mum first, I guess she will understand you better and probably help in telling your dad.”
“Hmmmm, my mum will be mad at me too but I will give it a try. I just wish I can leave this house and go to another town but at the same time, my heart goes out to my family. They need to see the light.”
“Don’t worry dear, God will do it.”
“I have to go now, my mum is calling me.”
“Ok dear. Take care, I am praying for you. Bye.”
David and I scheduled to see today and as expected; I was clueless to the reason why he wanted to see me again. I had my suspicions, but I kept them to myself and though I looked forward to seeing him; I hid my excitement. He had suggested that we met at an eatery but I didn’t want to get ideas into my head too soon; I wanted to keep it as official as possible so I opted for the church premises and he obliged.
“Hope I am free to call you Nnenna now?” David said as I sat down close to his seat.
“Why not? And I can also call you David right?”
“Sure, I was really beginning to feel that the title thing was too official, plus I love short names.”
We laughed as we exchanged pleasantries. We had some catching up to do and there was no better time than now but he was quick to go straight to the point.
“I learnt you and Pastor Emeka’s family have been having cooperate prayers for the church for some months now. His wife told me about it and asked if I would like to join. I was thrilled when I heard about it and I gladly accepted. This is the kind of thing my heart has always longed for, but I just didn’t know how to bring it to be. So from now on, I will be praying with you guys. Hope I am welcome by you?”
“Why not? The labourers are few remember.”
“Yea, thanks. The other thing is that I realized that a lot has happened in me in the past months. I believe God used you to teach me a lesson. You remember how I betrayed your trust and fought for you to be excommunicated. I actually thought I was doing the right thing then, I was too zealous but without knowledge.”
“I knew nothing of God’s mercy and forgiveness but after that incident God thought me that his grace is without boundaries and I had no right to call unclean one whom he had cleaned up. I thought the church was a place for saints alone and anyone who didn’t measure up should be brought to book. But I realized how sinful I was in myself; it was pride, ignorance and self righteousness all the way. Once again, I am sorry. God has opened my eyes to see that out of his fullness we have received grace and we must extend that grace to others continuously.” He continued.
“I don’t know all that happened to you, but I must confess that your life is a great testimony and a blessing to many. I was amazed that you came back after all that happened and still showed love to the people that rejected you.” David spoke so softly, I was amazed.
“Well, I am amazed myself” I cut in. “Now I know that only God could have done it. I was wrong too. You know I was angry and even left the church, I complained, hated and was very bitter. I was also looking for a perfect church, one where there was no bitterness or sin forgetting that I was a sinner saved by Grace. God thought me that the perfect Church I was looking for was right here within me and within you.”
“You know most times we go outside in search of what is within us.” I continued, “God made me to understand that the triumphant church he speaks of in the bible is this very one we are seeing now. He is at work in his church and no man should ever speak against his church and call it ill when he hasn’t said so. Thank God for Pastor Emeka and Aunty Peace, they helped me understand some of these truths. Indeed God is coming for a spotless Church, one that has no blemish or wrinkle but you know how impossible that is without Christ. It is only Jesus Christ that can do it and present us to himself. All human efforts to ‘purify’ the church will always fail. The church is the bride of Christ, and only Christ can beautify her.”
“I understand you dear, and I know that many more people are coming to this same realization. The Holy Spirit is at work; opening eyes, changing lives, stirring hearts towards achieving the ultimate goal of Christ. I have let go of the past and I am glad we are both part of what God is doing and all that bothers me now is how to grow and also get more people to understand these things.”
“So how do we go about that?” He asked as his face lit.
“Prayers, prayers of course and teaching. Apart from praying, we must teach as many as we can through our lives and our words too. We must stop complaining and join the Lord of the harvest as labourers in his vineyard. You know in our prayer group, we decided never to speak ill of the church, no matter what happens.”
“Yea, she told me that too.”
“That’s another way of agreeing with God. Jesus never speaks ill of his bride, he loves her unconditionally just like the love of a husband for his wife or even more. No sensible husband will hate the wife just because she is presently sick, he still loves her anyways and even showers her with more love and care while doing everything he can to make sure she gets well. That should be our attitude too.”
“Wow! Thank you so much dear. I am amazed at what God is doing and like you said, thank God we are both part of it.”
“My dear, there is so much to know and do, it’s not a one day something.” I laughed.
“Yea, you are right, it’s a daily chase.”
“I wish I can speak more often with you every day, not just about the church but about life generally; get to know you more and more.”
“Know me more and more? Am I now the Holy Spirit or Jesus?” I teased
“Hahaha…no naa, you know what I mean.”
“I don’t know o, you better explain” I said giggling.
“Well, let’s get started already.”
With that we had a long hearty conversation and I really began to enjoy talking with David. He was truly a different man from the person I met few months back and we were getting along real good.