The year 2018 was indeed an eventful one on all side, if you ask me. It was a year with mixed feelings; good and bad with many shades of pleasant and unpleasant experiences, and all the in-betweens. Like every hopeful and ambitious young man, I had two major targets for the year; secure a scholarship for my PhD abroad or/and secure Lecturing appointment in the country. You would agree with me that those were lofty targets to set, so I was determined to give it my all from the word “go”. But it is often said, that “Man proposes but God disposes” whatever that means. From the very first day of the year to this last day of the year, there was no way anyone would have predicted how, and with what speed things would happen to me, touching on my family, career and spiritual life. However, I can look back today being the last day and say God is faithful.
Who starts the year with the death of a loved one? At about 11am on Monday January 1, I entered into my grandmother’s room to confirm the news of her ‘passing’. Earlier on the said day, immediately after the Morning Prayer, we had gone into her room to clean her up and play with her the little we could, not knowing it was the last conversion we would be having with her. She opened her eyes (something she hadn’t done since she went into comma), looked into my younger brother’s eyes, calling out his name in full, “Olorunfemi, Jesufemi” and she closed them eyes back again. We felt some relief; mama is talking and recognizing faces now. We couldn’t understand the deeper meaning of what she said; she wasn’t just calling Femi’s name she was telling us that God loves her more than we do, and that she will be leaving us soon. Somehow, I couldn’t describe how I felt. Some part of me felt grief, some other part felt satisfied. Grief because I was not going to be seeing her around anymore; she was of age no doubt but who feels happy to lose a love one, old or not? But in my grief I could not but be grateful that my grandmother eventually acknowledged God and Jesus before dying knowing the battle we had convincing her to renounce idol worshipping and embrace Jesus Christ. I remember as a young boy, I once had a conversation with her over praying in the name of Jesus, she told me: “Would you renounce Jesus, if you were asked to, with all He done for you. Ifa rescued me from Abiku Spirit; of sixteen deliveries, only your father and uncle Taiye survived. So, I can’t renounce the worship of Ifa”. You can imagine my joy when she joins us in home devotions; frequent church services; step out to the altars to pray in Jesus’ name; and eventually mentioning Jesus as her last word before death. So my rejoicing superseded my grieving. This defined the most of my first quarter of the year.
The second quarter was a good one; some of my applications to conference were accepted and I got sponsorships to make my research presentations. A memorable one was my participation in the African Consortium for Law and Religion Studies Conference. Like is usual with most conferences of that standard, one gets to network with respected intellectuals in the field of endeavor; I had that opportunity as well. I look forward to engaging some of the friendships further in the New Year.
Similar to my second quarter experiences, in the third quarter, I also had opportunity to present papers in some international conferences. However, the period was not without its fair share of bitter pills. I was hit with the passing a beloved elder sister. The grief pushed me into some deep revelation experiences which I won’t forget in a hurry. It was in my hotel room in faraway Johannesburg, it was the morning of my paper presentation. I needed to put finishing touches to my presentation slides but I needed to put myself together. I woke early to study my Sunday school lesson for the week and that was where I got my divine encounter. Who says the Holy Spirit doesn’t comfort? I make bold to say He does. He comforted me and gave me a word for the bereaved family. Immediately, I wrote a short article to document my encounter, shared it on Facebook tagging my bereaved brothers and sisters. My joy knew no bounds when they each contacted to say they felt some comfort as a result of my little note.
Just when I thought the year was ending and none of my major targets for the year was going to be accomplished, God surprised me. You remember one of my targets was to secure a lecturing job. Through some strings of miraculous experiences, God answered the prayer in the final quarter of the year. While this may not sound spectacular to someone else, in this little breakthrough, I have experienced God in bigger ways. God wouldn’t allow me end the year on a sad note, just as I prepare for the festive season, I joined my classmates to participate in the convocation ceremony signaling the ceremonious end of a journey I had started as far back as 2015. Though long overdue, it left me in a joyous and appreciative mood.
Oh what a year, 2018 has been for me. It is indeed my year of little beginnings. I am grateful to God for all the experiences; good, bad and ugly. Thanks to all friends and families who have remained at my side through the year. I look forward to a GREAT year together with you all in 2019, because God is involved. I am particularly persuaded that the 2019 is going to be my year of GREAT EXPLOITS, especially coming from the prophetic experiences of the just concluded 2018 International Youth Camp of my Church.