Footprints shaping…

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I am looking at the portrait of the man before me and all I can say is, “…so it is possible… It is possible to live a blameless life before God and men…” It is possible. Those are my thoughts and have been my thoughts for weeks now. It is possible. This is not a matter of dogma – Jesus did it so you too can do it. No this is not another religious cliche we toss on to each other from one stale state to another. Rather this a matter of this man actually did it too. Just like Jesus did. I never met Jesus and I never met this man either. But I have read testimonies about Jesus like I am currently reading testimonies about this man. And I have met a few of them personally too. Men and women who experienced this extraordinary human being, who dared to live not just  like Jesus did, but just like the scriptures describe.

Have you ever heard the term: a living epistle? You know it literally means an epistle in human form, right? Like the scriptures took on flesh.That is exactly what I’m talking about. A life that emulated God so much so that one can literally say that he was a living epistle. That his life was a revelation of the scriptures taking on flesh! A man of like passions. A man like us. Yet he walked this earth and everyone who met him went away feeling as though they had seen the face of God.

If he could do it, why not I? If he could damn the world and all its glittery offers, why can’t I? If he could count it all dung, why shouldn’t I? If he gave it all so that he could gain Christ, then why think twice? He was just like me: deprived, vulnerable, broken, imperfect, poor, wanting, needy, hopeless, lost. Yet he trusted Jesus, forsook all, took up his cross and followed Him. He saw what was ahead: hardships, sometimes beaten, sometimes in prisoned, sometimes in shipwrecks, sometimes insulted, shame, lack, want, sometimes falsely accused, sometimes in need, without mercy, without gain, yet not without hope. Still he pressed on.

Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Sounds like Paul. Like Peter, James and John. Like I said, he was a living epistle… Yet he lived in our day.

In three weeks it would be 2 decades since he left us. Yet his memory lives on. His works yet speak. His life still preaches the gospel. Tales of his sufferings yet embolden the weary and encourage the saints. His footprints today, now shape my life as a potter shapes clay.

Jeremiah 18: 3 So I went down to the potter’s house and saw him working with clay at the wheel. 4 He was making a pot from clay. But there was something wrong with the pot. So the potter used that clay to make another pot. With his hands he shaped the pot the way he wanted it to be.







Footprints meandering…

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As I work on this project, collating my findings, fitting the puzzle pieces, and building a trail from the 40s uptil the 90s, I encounter many roadblocks. Too many gaps in my big picture. My frustrations strangle me, threatening to snuff the sanity out of my reasoning. I’m weighed down. Feeling stuck in a tight corner with my enclosing deadline encroaching on my patience. I’m tempted to give up but I couldn’t even if I tried. But I could give in…give in to the pressure and neglect excellence for average. I shrug my shoulders, I can only do so much. I cannot manufacture facts I cannot find nor can I craft tales that weren’t told. I’ll work with the pieces I have and fill up the spaces with nothing of course. At least that is what I tell myself.

But the moment I get back onto the trail of this fiery individual, whose life literally lit up the places he went and kindled the people he met, I too would be ignited by the same flames that consumed him. Quickly I discard my thoughts about average and get down on all fours, seeking the face of the Storyteller of all time – Yahweh. The God that tells stories… I tell Him about his servant, and about the story I’m telling, and about the puzzle pieces and how they don’t fit. I ask Him for help. Help to navigate the past, seek out the facts and bring to fore a map. So that those who read his-story will find hope to navigate their own destinies.

So I go on. I keep searching out and working towards excellence. All the while morphing into something better, tougher, purer, greater…into something bearing good report!

This man that I write about, though his footprints would sometime seem to wander off course, meandering mole hills and gorges of questions, conflicts and hardships, still I find the grace to press on. I find grace to be in pursuit of what he was in pursuit of… and courage to remain on course while being pursued by the same thing that got him running… and the faith to be consumed by the flames that set him on fire.

I stay the course. Like a good soldier of Christ. I bear my cross. Till I finish the race. Just like he too finished strong.

Footprints beckoning…

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Psalm 39:4

“LORD, let me know how my life ends, and the standard by which you will measuremy days, whatever it is! Then I will know how transient my life is.” ISV

Another translation says: “…Let me realise how quickly my life will pass.”

These are the meditations of my heart as I work out of Ibadan… I am working on the life story of a certain man, of a certain revivalist… and my life is changing in ways words fail to describe. This man, whose footprints marked the 70s & 80s with lasting impressions that shook every town he stepped foot in. Those who encountered him now testify of his unusual yet transformational life like it was just yesterday.

As I soak in my research, the voluminous tributes and my extensive interviews, I find my heart writhing in pain as this man’s extraordinary story begins to reshape my orientation and my beliefs. What did I say my life was about again? Who did I say I wanted to become? What, what and what had characterized my pursuits in here on earth?? All these and more shall I now begin to reconsider.

“Oh Lord, search the deep recesses of my soul, let my feet be set on the way eternal. Let the meditations of my heart please You. Let me know what is means to be a pilgrim on earth. So that when this life you’ve given me passes, when it all becomes a dissolving mist, and I cross over yonder, let me not be found a stranger at eternity’s gate.

May I not be shut out like a foreigner from my Father’s house.”