“For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, for we have set our hope in the living God, who is the savior of all men, especially of those who believe” 1 Timothy 4 vs. 10.
In my last post, I quoted this verse while addressing an issue at the national level, however, in this post, it is my desire to address certain issues at the personal level. Hence, I strongly encourage you to pay close attention to this matter.
The incidence of young men/women being frustrated with life is on the increase with each passing day. In fact it appears like in the past few months, there has been an unusual unleash of demons of depression into society, and many people are taking their lives, chiefly, young people. Now I had addressed the matter of suicide in a previous article (TAKE THAT LOSS), and so do not wish to repeat myself. I am not quite an old man, but life has caused me to hear the stories of many of my fellow young ones, and these stories (as well as my personal experiences) compels me to write a times. I have discovered that depression does not show itself only in physical suicide, but can also manifest in some form of moral/character suicide, whereby a young person decides to take an unusual and ungodly route in life just to find the help and desires he/she is craving for. The rate at which young men are becoming internet fraudsters is quite alarming, as well as the rate at which our young girls are yielding themselves to rich married men, in exchange for finances to keep on surviving in life. So, I intend to address the matter of hopelessness that causes our young people to commit moral suicide, in the hope that they can rise again to be plowmen of hope.
Wale Adenuga’s production once remarked that “Poverty is not being without money, but being without hope,” and with each day that passes I discover that this statement is true. A man who does not have money now but knows that by tomorrow, he will be paid or he will work and earn some money will not be in much distress as a man who does not have money and does not even know how he will ever get it in the next one week. Life is very difficult, I must confess, and it is doubly so living in a visionless nation like Nigeria. Maybe a personal story will help communicate my thoughts.
I graduated as the best student in my department more than 6 years ago, and at a very young age (I was not 21 years yet). I did not know I was the best student in my department, though I wished and prayed for it. I only came to know after I had graduated when I visited some of my fellowship sisters in their hostel. I was there when my phone rang, and it was one of my lecturers calling me. According to him, they were discussing the subject of best students in the department and he decided to call me as the best student of my set and ask me to apply for a job as a Graduate Assistant. My dear that was how I wrote my first application letter after graduation. I composed a CV within 2 hours, inserted all my present documents then, and made about four (4) copies which I submitted to the department. I didn’t know that life was hard then and things were not easy as they seem. I went for service and within those months kept in touch with my lecturer, though I never came back throughout my service year.
When I finally returned after service, I went to my department to find out what really happened only to be told that nobody saw my application letter (I mean Nobody, neither human being, nor spirit). That was how I submitted another application letter, but that one became a story without an ending. That was the beginning of my first frustrations in life, because I came back from service with high hopes. I thought I had my life pretty worked out, only to be shattered by the realities of life.
Now, here I was without any hope and not having my little hope shattered. What did I do? I did not go back and start complaining about the system, and my vice-chancellor, and the nation. It was in that season my friend gave me 3 messages preached by Pastor Bankie on Praise and Worship. Those messages gave me a new outlook at life. That is why I do not complain or murmur or lose heart no matter what I am experiencing in life or in my nation, because of what God taught me in my seasons of disappointment. I began to understand that God is the one who lifts people up, and not man. I began to understand that power belongs to God, as well as mercy. I started praying that God should show me mercy and direct my life, and I also began reading my Bible. For some months I went back to my parents’ house and stayed for a while, doing nothing else but read my bible and pray. That season I learnt Jesus, and I learnt life, like never before.
Later, directed by God, I came and took up base in Enugu city where I remain till today. Life has tried me in many ways, but it has never driven me to a point of hopelessness. I still remember the days when I had nothing to eat in the house save some pieces of crayfish which was all my food for a whole day. I still remember days when I would be walking home from a meeting by 10pm, and on the streets on Enugu tears will be falling from my eyes as I wondered why my life did not go as straightforward as I wanted. But in all those seasons, I never gave up hope. It was then I learnt what it meant to carry my Bible and set myself apart to study. It was then I learnt to take some Christian books and read them over and over. I have set my hope in God, and I did not want anything to push my hope away from Him. If you have read my former articles THE COMFORT OF SCRIPTURES and YEAR BY YEAR these are articles I wrote for my own encouragement and later shared them online.
Now, my life has moved out of that stage. Having watched God see me through a stressful masters programme, I have come to know that there is no disappointment in Him. Once anyone has fixed his eyes on the Lord, there is hope. So, I do not understand those who commit moral suicide because of life’s challenges. We have set our hope in the living God. I know my future is bright and my days will be better and better, not because I will move to a new country, or that my nation’s leaders will suddenly have sense, but because I trust in the Lord. I do not look at my country, or my university, or a rich uncle/aunt, or influential friends, I look to the Almighty God, and He is on the throne.
So, I say to every young person, I wish you will be a plowman of hope. I wish you will stop looking at the nation and its leaders and feeling depressed and confused, and look to God. Others may involve themselves in internet fraud, money making schemes, sports betting, bribery and corruption, job racketeering, etc., but as for me, I have set my hope in the living God, and tomorrow when things turn out well for me, it will not be because I know how to properly plot life, but because I have set my hope in the living God.
May your eyes stop looking to the mountains and hills for help. May your eyes stop looking to yourself for help. May your eyes look to God who reigns on high, and may he be your hope and your confidence.
See you at the top.
IN HOPE OF ETERNAL LIFE
J. M. OBODOZIE.