The Luxury of Depression (Letter to Self Part 1)

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Ogbo Awoke Ogbo

Dear Ogbo,

You look at all that is happening in your life today and say, “What the h*ll is happening to my life?” “Am I losing control?” “Where’s God when I need Him most?”

In recent times, things haven’t gone the way you planned but I’m going to shock you: You have no idea the turn your life would have taken had God permitted things go the way you ‘neatly’ planned them!

 

LOLs! In your plan you forgot to include adversity. Haha … everyone wants to go to heaven but none wants to die, right? Everyone wants to change the world but few want to tread the winding paths of Golgotha.

In the Kingdom, there’s the saying that “adversity is your friend.” It is impossible for the King of the Universe to entrust important matters to you if He hasn’t first tossed you into the spiritual oven and browned you through the furnace of adversity and failure.

Just as you resigned from Shell, you sent emails to friends, almost boastfully, “I’m going to be so awesomely rich speaking worldwide. I’m going to speak and inspire so powerfully I could raise dead people!” Remember those emails? Hahaha…

A few months after that, you couldn’t pay your children’s school fees anymore! You went so behind in house rent that the landlord showed you out. Your confidence took the beating of your life… hahaha. I was standing by, asking, “So how market na?” Hahaha…

Thank God, though, for your sense of humor! I wouldn’t know how you could have survived those first days of your spiritual shock treatment.

I was afraid that you would be broken the day you searched for N100 in the entire house – yes, N100 – to buy a “pure water” bag for your family. To my amazement and relief, you went to bed chuckling about the madness. No one in the neighbourhood could have believed you didn’t have N100. You still had your brand new Nissan Armada SUV then – before it was violently repossessed by your creditor … another story.

You were completely baffled that an ex-Shell employee didn’t have N100 to his name! Your sweetheart did not find it funny though – – but you did a good job of ‘toasting’ her with your dangerously sweet mouth. You naughty ladies’ man!

But seriously, Ogbo! On that Awesome/Awful Day, when the curtain is peeled back and the Master of the Universe shows you the hitherto unseen backstories of your life, you will break down and cry. I guarantee you that, Ogbo: You will weep uncontrollably in gratitude – that He had not allowed things go your own way! Today you gripe about such ridiculously fleeting things as house, car and clothes. That day you’ll be grateful.

I’ll be standing right beside you that day and saying, “Didn’t I tell you!”

You will cry inconsolably when the curtains roll back and you see the myriad of times the Unseen Hand of the Father kept you from practically destroying yourself with your own wonderful plans, desires and human strategies. You will melt under the heat of the Father’s Love that never let you go.

Yet, truth be told, He has given you far more than your small plan. Dare to count your blessings in the past nine years since you left Shell! Just dare! How much would you pay for the beautiful people He has brought into your life from around the world? For a peaceful and love-filled home? For such wonderful siblings and numerous nieces and nephews that bring you joy and laughter? For the thousands of souls you touched through your TV, radio and social media programs? For the people who receive hope through your writings?

For nine years, you have not been to the hospital! Not once – other than the checkup the Israeli embassy required for your visa application. You have never suffered headache – not once – even with all your crazy schedule and travels! You have never been on any medication. Yet, when you hit the bed, you sleep like a kitten. Insomnia-free.

How much in dollars would you place on the good health you have enjoyed? How much would you pay for good sleep?

In July 2016, you ran under a trailer while speeding at 130 Km/h at the Lagos-Benin Bypass! An iron beam from the trailer shattered your small Toyota Corolla’s windscreen and stopped just a few centimeters from your chest. You came out of that accident without a scratch! The bewildered villagers did not believe you were in that car. How much would you have paid for multiple fractures or spinal cord injury? How long would you have lain cast in plaster of Paris staring at the hospital ward ceiling?

Oh, and the Dana crash of June 2012! You were on that ill-fated manifest. People far nobler than yourself were taken, young and old, and you were spared – not that you deserved it.

Don’t be silly, Ogbo! He has given you far more than your ridiculous little plans!

Nevertheless, I’ll be the last person to tell you not to make plans for the future. Not to plan is foolishness. Not to plan for supporting your family and raising your children, offering them the best possible education and exposure to success, is foolishness. Not to plan is the synonym of worry. Worry is sin. Not to plan for tomorrow is sin.

Not putting money aside for tomorrow is sin. The universe has zero respect for the man or woman who earns N100 and spends N100. Worse still, the one who earns N100 and spends N101. Both have no clemency with the jury on poverty.

What I’m encouraging though, is that you trust in the Lord with all your heart and not lean on your own understanding… to acknowledge Him in all your ways. And He will direct your paths.

Ogbo, here’s another secret so simple men stumble over it in broad daylight daylight and still miss it: The wiser you become, the better your plans.

Me: How does one become wiser? By reading many books?

Ogbo: Haha…no! Don’t you remember your meditation yesterday from the mystery verse – Job 28:28? Wisdom does not come from books – for haven’t you seen foolish professors – who say there is no God? No, understanding isn’t in the classroom either. Knowledge, maybe. Else, all your Nigerian graduates would be gainfully employed. Without exception.

Sometimes, as you have seen, Our Father, in His mercy, lets things go exactly the way you have planned. He is far more willing to give than you are ready to receive! He does not – repeat, does not – give you a stone when you ask for bread.

You are a witness, aren’t you? As you completed your Masters Degree, you laid out a plan to work either in the oil industry or in the military. He granted your heart’s wishes. You studied Zoology, but Shell offered you a job as Surveyor – to everyone’s utter amazement, including Shell HR at the time.  You had a delicious career that honored you and took you around the world.

“Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth,

Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!

Hast thou not seen how thy desires e’er have been

Granted in what He ordaineth?”<<

Yet, many times, He doesn’t let your plan go the way you laid it out. Because if He did, you would be destroyed.

You think you’re smart, Ogbo. But you live in 3D. The Father lives in InfiniteD – where the word ‘impossible’ is anathema.

Your most grandiose 3D plan is like a standup comedy script in the Court of the Infinite. Whatever the size of your dream, multiply it by a trillion and it is still small in the sight of the One who gathers the waters of the ocean in one palm.

Ah, the sin of making God too small in my eyes! …

(continued in Part 2 next week)

I love and accept you without judgement. Till next week, be healthy, wealthy and wise!

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