The Soul’s ‘Marijuana’


Ogbo Awoke Ogbo

A friend in the consulting business said to me, “Ogbo, it’s not funny!” Since the beginning of the year, she has only done one job.

Many families are going through extremely difficult times – like never before. Some men find it hard to feed their families and thousands of skilled people are out of job.

As August yielded to September, parents panicked. School fees are much higher and harder to pay. Many children are still home, weeks after schools resumed. Their school fees haven’t been paid.

Those with employment aren’t finding it easy either. In Africa, a salaried person typically has dozens of people and family members depending on him for monthly survival. That’s our own social security – strong family and community connectedness. Obama wanted to destroy Africa’s family fabric with his corrupt gay missiles he spent his 8 years firing at the African governments.

Often, the biggest question of the suffering soul is, “Where is God and all these are happening to me?” I remember an extremely difficult period in my life. Two years after Youth Service and hundreds of applications later and I still hadn’t a job.

I suffered serious hunger and embarrassment of lack. My parents were so concerned my mother asked me to come back home to the village – so at least I could eat. God bless Mums! But my father would have none of that from a man-child. I had to conquer the world from the front lines. No one was going to do it for me. My father believed in taking the battle of success straight to the enemy’s gate.

One day, I had been so hungry and destitute that I prayed and asked God to send an angel to magically place some money in my pocket so I could buy food. I’d be so so glad to testify that as soon as I stood up from prayer and checked my pocket … nothing happened! No God. No angel. No money. No food.

Nevertheless, as a young man, freshly brewed from the university, I learnt more from hunger than I did from my professors. The best mentor you’d ever get is hunger. It was during this time that I fell in love with books like I hadn’t. It was then I understand how ideas feed hope. And how hope preserves the suffering soul. Hope is the ‘marijauna’ of the suffering soul. With great ideas running in my head, it was easy to go through a day without realizing I hadn’t eaten.

The human spirit is powerful because it is the breath of God. The only time a soul can be defeated is when it loses hope. The pillar of the human spirit is hope. The best kept secret in the courts of heaven is that God is “rich in love and slow to anger.”

Just a quick digression: It seems the quarrel most of the world has with Joel Osteen and many “prosperity preachers” is that balance: God is love but He also hates sin! The intensity of God’s hate for sin is the polar opposite of His boundless love. As He loves, so He hates. And you definitely do not want to tilt to the sin part of that spectrum. You most definitely don’t!

I have heard a Jehovah Witness say that God is too loving to send humans to hell. And surprise, surprise, he is right! It was for that exact reason that Jesus Christ incarnated to pay that horrendous price He paid for sin! Therefore, if anyone ever goes to hell, it is his or her choice! If you refuse to take His gift of eternal life, would you say He sent you to hell or you sent yourself?

The prophet Habbakuk said that God is of purer eyes than to behold evil… that He “CANNOT” – that’s the word he used – CANNOT tolerate wrongdoing. See Habakuk 1:13. “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God,” said the writer of Hebrews (10:31).

That was a Joel Osteen aside.

The second best kept secret is that the human spirit was NOT designed to fail. There is nothing, no level of suffering it cannot overcome. By divine design. But many people do not know this. So, they quickly chicken out in the face of hardship. Or they quickly compromise their faith… and their morals. A young lady once told me that she went into prostitution to feed her family. And I admit that this is the tragedy of poverty. It pushes people to the wall. It makes people do want they don’t want to do. Poverty can be solved, but not by prostitution, advanced fee fraud or drug runs. Those aren’t sustainable.

Hope preserves the suffering soul. One of the sweetest realizations of the soul is that “it shall come to pass.” Every affliction has its inbuilt expiry. I can tell you that from experience. The man writing what you’re reading isn’t the same boy who prayed that an angel should put money in his pocket.

I’m not sure angels do that. They may – on special circumstances – place money for you in the mouth of a fish. But you still have to go catch the fish!

Through suffering, however, I learnt how to put money in my own pocket. A simple formula that has never failed: Find a pain that a sizable number of people or institutions have. Solve the pain in a way no one else does. Name your price. Anyone who ever earned money, saint or sinner, followed that plan. Serve people!

Suffering also taught me to care for others. When I see a father going through what I went through, I recognize it immediately. I can serve him better – in word and kind – because I have been there.

Hardship is a divine gift. Like the mother eagle pushes her young off the edge of the nest, God allows us to go through challenges, in order to teach us to “mount up with wings as eagle.” Point to any man or woman who flies today and I’ll point you to a man or woman who has been through the divine crucible.

Over the years, God has abundantly blessed me with hardship – embarrassment of lack, bad bank loans, house rent problems, losing both parents, multiple disappointments, betrayals of ‘friends’, a knee injury that ended my Olympic dreams, and so on. I have staying power! Like Paul, I can declare, “None of these things move me.” What a blessing!

Whatever you’re passing through today will pass. You can take that to the bank. I’m speaking to you, parents, who have done all you should to provide for your family and yet things haven’t turned out as you would. It’s true you don’t seem to see God in your current situation. Trust me, He’s there! “Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face,” said the hymn writer. God is as much interested in building your character as He is in giving you a job.

Therefore, as you wake up this morning, before you step out for the hustle, before you polish your shoes, polish your hope.

Polish your hope first thing in the morning and last thing before bedtime. Hope will keep you soul ‘high.’

And here’s the guarantee:Your hope will someday substantiate into clear instructions that will open up incredible abundance that will allow you bless your family and others:

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” Isaiah 30:21

Don’t give up, don’t give in! Hold on a little while longer, bossman! The roses will bloom again.

I love and accept you. Remain healthy, wealthy and wise!




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