Where Is God When It Hurts? (1)

By Adeyinka Shittu

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© Zindy S. D. Nielsen

Tears fell from her eyes with the ease of autumn leaves.

In the deathly silence, I could hear her 16 year old heart fracturing and the voice of The Script moaning in my head…

When hearts break, they don’t break even…

“I never believed it would come to this,” she said clutching a tear soaked handkerchief to her chest. “I knew they argued a lot but I thought things were fine when they started hanging out together again. Just when I thought things were fine, they announced the divorce.”

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Be Encouraged!

By Sharon Olanrewaju
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A Rat was feeling discouraged,depressed and out of rigour.
I was called upon as her only source of succor.
To cheer her up,
brighten her spirit,
flatter her a little,
any chatter to make her feel bigger.

I searched her over
“Whao! Not even a good cover,
Just black and messy all over.
Nothing impressive,
Nothing at all.”

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Dear Asake

Dear Asake,

I should have written to you long before now.
I apologise for having not.
Blame it on my being self-absorbed and distracted.
I’m here now.
Asake, I heard you’re still there.
I heard you haven’t left.
I heard you said you’re still waiting…
Asake, isn’t it apparent he’s gone and probably not returning?

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Abba’s Letter

By Adeyinka Shittu

It wasn’t easy writing this. This isn’t one of the usual stories/articles I write, the thing you’ll read now is a letter Abba woke me in the dead of night to write just for you.

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Dear Child,

The chapters I’m writing in your life will wow the earth. I’m crafting the phrases and fashioning the paragraphs as you read this. Be patient.

You’re Esther. The first chapter doesn’t contain your name but the book is about you. You are one of the many girls in the province of Susa but that’s not all you are. You are emerging. You will serve Mordecai and do menial work. Your knees will quiver when you stand before Haggai. You will feel the animal instinct to run at the smell of Xerxes’ perfume but the divine instinct to win heaven’s applause will sustain you.

I agree with your heart full of fear. Of all the maidens in Persia, you’re not most beautiful but dear one, beauty is not the point. The point is that the book is about you.

You’re not most beautiful but you’re most favoured. You don’t need to have the best brains to win because you have GRACE .

You’re not qualified, you’re called. You’re not lucky, you’re blessed. You’re not a flash in the pan or an ordinary Jewess. You’re Esther and you’re going to be Queen.

You were predestined and fore known and preordained and crowned from the foundations of the world. No matter what part of the first chapter you’re reading, do not forget you’re going to be queen.

The story will end but not without the crown on your head. Haman who plots to have your head will find his swallowed by the hangman’s noose at the gallows. Vashti may be queen now but, she won’t be forever because you are Esther and I have destined you to be queen.

Maybe I got your name wrong.
Maybe you’re not Esther.
Perhaps, you’re a prisoner in the dungeons of Pharaoh because of the lies of your master’s wife. Despite the mud life slings at you, you’re still trying to make pies from it. You’re young and smart and promising yet all anyone ever does is make you chief servant.

I’ve got good news and bad news. I’ll give you the bad news first.

Your life will go south after this. It always gets worse first before it gets better. It’s the principle child. Darkness heralds dawn, death precedes life, and seed goes before harvest comes. Mourning may wrestle with Joy but morning always returns so Joy wins.
Joy always wins.

You’re going down first before you go up because I’m really not faithful to you. I’m faithful to My word. And My word still hasn’t changed.

Be patient. I’m writing chapters in your life that will wow the earth; so shave your beard, dust your clothes, hone your talents and sharpen your skills because you’re leaving prison soon. 

Be prepared to say bye to the jailer at any time. Don’t get comfortable with prison life because, I’m grooming you for palace life. Don’t miss the multi-coloured coat because, I’ve got a much better wardrobe waiting for you. (How would you like a royal robe, a signet ring with a chariot and a beautiful wife?)

I don’t care that your name is Joseph and the first 30 chapters of the history books do not have your name in them. I care about My word and I stand by it to fulfill it.

Although the first chapter doesn’t contain your name, wait. I’m planning for your scenes in the script to steal the show, shame the scoffers and confound the wise. I’m writing. Be patient. And prepared.

From Your Abba.

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Do let me know if that letter was yours so I can give you the parts of it I can’t share here. 

A Night Observed

By Adeyinka Shittu

I long for night and darkness because sometimes, it’s the only time and place I find solace.

After going through the tiring motions of faking smiles and living life, I can barely wait to collapse into my bed and cry a tsunami into my pillow at night. As much as I long to climb into my bed, I cannot help but dread it. Everyday, I spend hours battling the monsters in my head and under my bed.

I fight the what-ifs brewing in my head until my eyelids get tired and my mind drops off into another world. I wake up disgusted by the feel of my pyjamas clinging to my sweaty body glad that I made it through another night, yet sad that I must make it through another day. 

Like a junkie craving the next fix knowing it would one day kill him, I crave the coming of night. Because of this craving, on warm nights, I sit outside my room waiting for day to give way to night.

 I expectantly wait for the world to catch up with my mood. When the sun goes down, I crawl into bed and repeat the cycle. The vicious cycle of struggling by day and warring by night.

Proverbs 4:18 broke the cycle for me.

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I had watched the dull yellow of late afternoon give way to the deep orange of evening and then the dark violet of night and had begun to feel sleepy so I dusted the seat off my trousers and proceeded to get into bed.

“I want you to stay.”

I knew the voice. The gentle whisper that invaded my thoughts with lines from long forgotten songs and phrases from random books has been my companion during my happy days and the darkest nights of my soul.

I obeyed the voice.

I sat back and watched the stars come out. The moonless sky wasn’t much fun to watch for long. Soon, I was bored and ready to go.

“Can you stay awake with me?”

I tried to. I struggled to. I counted stars and imagined figures emerging from the intersecting stars until I couldn’t take it anymore.

“Can I go now?”

“No.”

 I shivered as I stretched the sleeves of my sweatshirt to cover my fingers. I arched my back and flexed my toes and checked the time. The weather-beaten G-shock wristwatch stared back at me.

2:04am

Like Prophet Habakkuk, I knew it would be a long night of waiting to hear what He had to say so I recited Psalms and sang songs. I quoted poetry and movies and the Bible. Eventually I nodded off to sleep.

“Wake up.”

I felt my mind come alive before my body. I rubbed my eyes and stretched my legs. Sleeping while being seated had cut off blood supply to my butt so I stood to my feet. I looked at the horizon wondering how in heaven I hadn’t died from the cold and mosquitoes.

 “What do you see?”

I looked around and I looked at myself. There was the coke bottle from yesterday evening beside me and the…

 “Look at the works of My Hands.”

I noticed that the stars had gone. The twinkling things had left the sky without my knowing. I looked up to see light threatening to take over the space where the ink-black sky was.

It was 6am but, I was nothing like 2:04am.

It was still quiet but the crowing cocks made a huge difference. It was still cold but the invading light didn’t make it feel that way. Only a few hours had elapsed yet everything was different.

“Man of mustard seed faith, why did you go to sleep?“

My mouth opened to form an answer. None came so I breathed in the unmistakable scent of morning instead. I stood there for God-knows-how-long taking in the full glory of the rising sun and basking in its rays. The only thing on my mind was Proverbs 4:18.

******

Every person who puts faith in God lives a life that can be likened to the sun rising. We rarely start out good. And when we do, we start out like the setting sun. 

We see the tiny hope of the setting sun fade into the cold dark fabric of night so after a few hours of counting the stars and the little blessings God dumps in our laps, we tend to give up.

We fall asleep and let the demons in. We let the enemy do his lying work and we somehow forget that life doesn’t end at 2:04am. 

We forget that no matter how dark the night gets, it has to give way to the brightness of day. It has to. Everyday. Darkness bows to light because it’s a covenant made by God that is set in the stone tablets of the Law and sealed in the blood of Noah’s sacrifice.

Some things are certain as the sun rising, dependable as God himself. Life may stand with its head on the ground and things may feel upside down but nothing can negate truth.

It will get better. Things will get better.

No matter how terrible your life is, it will get better. It just has to. It has to because your life is summed up in Proverbs 4:18.

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The lives of righteous people are like the morning sun that shines brighter till 12am. (Proverbs 4:18 rephrased)

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Photo Credit: stuffpoint.com/nature/image/320230/the-rising-sun-wallpaper/

The Thirst Of My Soul

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I awoke every morning hopeless and weary

At night, I shut my eyes in sleep afraid and worried – worried about how long my despair would last

My smiles never went beyond the spread of my lips and my laughter rang dry and empty even in my own ears.

My days were spent in frustration and anger

Angry I was – at myself. At the life I was given. At the world I had been placed in.

I went about my duties with a weight upon my shoulders

A yawning vacuum filled my soul

A thirst took its abode within me

Bodies of water could not satisfy it.

I wanted to give up, to end it all

Death beckoned onto me

“End it all” He said to me.

I paid him attention; he seemed to have a great offer

Of what use was the life I lived?

“No, don’t end it! I know what can satisfy the thirst of your soul” a friend said to me

“What is it?” I asked her

“Men” She told me

And she gave me a man.

He pampered me and doted on me

But it all made my soul thirst more

The yawning vacuum increased.

Again, death beckoned to me

“End it all” He said to me.

I paid him attention again

Of what use was the life I lived?

“No, don’t end it! I know what can satisfy the thirst of your soul” The man said to me

“What is it?” I asked

“Money” He told me

And he gave me money.

I had lots of it

Every currency and denomination I wanted

It got me all I wanted but not what I needed – the satisfaction of my soul

I left all of it and went in search of Death

He wasn’t far away

Just at my reach

I fell at his feet and asked him to take away the yawning vacuum in my soul

I asked him to take the life that was of no use to me.

And then, all of a sudden, I heard a voice like that of bodies of water

“Let Me help you” He said to me

I looked up from the feet of death and into the eyes of Life

He stretched out those arms built with mercy and love

He bent over and raised me to my feet

Into my ears, with the sweetest voice ever, he sang the greatest love song of all time

He pulled me into his bosom and wiped my tears

And there, I drank

And my thirst was satisfied.