Episode 3: “WHICH WAY, LORD?”
The mysterious ways in which God works make me marvel everyday. My salvation is, no doubt, one of the numerous ways He works.
I also believe many great preachers of the gospel today are ordinary people who do wondrous things simply because they made a decision to follow Jesus. Another wonder of God!
Therefore, I had no doubt that God would see me through any challenge I face in this Christian race.
My Father’s Discovery
It took a while before my father got wind of my conversion from Islam to Christianity.
With my dad on a business trip, I went to church one Sunday morning with my friend, Comfort. Though dressed moderately, it was not obvious that I was going for a church service. However, someone noticed me.
As we stepped into the church auditorium, an usher welcomed us and politely instructed us to switch off our phones to avoid distractions during the service. I quickly brought out my phone for that purpose. That was when I noticed I had missed some calls from my dad.
Since I was already inside the church, I couldn’t return the call immediately. So I switched off the phone.
Throughout the service that day, I wondered why my dad called me that morning. Something was not right. At that time, he was supposed to been in a meeting with some business partners.
However, while trying to concentrate on the Sunday School Sermon going on, I prepared my defense as to why I couldn’t answer the call.
Three and a half hours later, the service was over. As I headed home, I shared my thoughts with Comfort and she simply said, “God will direct you on what to say and give you victory”.
A Narrow Escape
Two days later, my dad returned from his trip. I couldn’t fathom his demeanor at first, since he was so tired and went straight to his room to rest.
Throughout the night, I kept wondering how to face him. However, to my surprise, he never raised the subject.
On the third day after his arrival, being Friday, I was feeling a bit ill so my mum begged my dad to excuse me from joining the family for the Jumat Service. I was glad when he accepted the plea. Staying home that day, I prayed and read the Bible.
I guess I was deeply engrossed in studying the Bible, because I was jolted when I heard my dad’s voice calling me.
“Yes Dad”, I said looking up from the Bible which was still in my hand.
“I thought you said you are sick. You should be resting now. How come you are awake, reading? What are you reading?”, he asked.
“Erm…erm.. I just…”, I stammered.
“Keep quiet!”, he stormed. Drawing close to me, he beheld the Bible. The sight of the Holy Bible in his house almost made him run mad with fury.
He shouted so loudly that I guess our neighbours on the next street must have heard his voice. In his rage, he grabbed my clothes and held my neck in a tight grip. He fumed and let out the anger that had been boiling in his heart since the previous Sunday.
“I will strangle you today with my bare hands, you infidel! How dare you bring a Bible into my house? You will see my wrath today. Whatever you have stuffed into your head from that Book will fly out now”, he threatened.
The Name That Saved Me
I tried my best to free myself from him but it was all vain. With my last breathe, I screamed, “JESUS, please save me!”. That name must have had a great impact on him, for he felt numb and released his grip from my neck, just as I collapsed and lost consciousness.
The part of the city we lived in did not support murder of any kind, even though it held a great population of Muslims who held strongly onto their religion and would kill for any trespass against it. If I had died, my dad would have been charged with murder.
So when I fainted, he quickly took me to the hospital where I was revived after three hours. When I opened my eyes, I saw my mother beside the bed. She later narrated the whole episode of my dad’s knowledge of my conversion.
The Shot That Exposed Me
My dad had received a call from the Chief Imam of the mosque adjacent the church where I worshipped that Sunday morning. Apparently, he had seen me severally going into the church, but had doubted it was me. Meanwhile, it was so glaring to him that morning when he saw my friend and I approaching the church building.
To be double sure, he had quickly instructed one of the “Alfas” (Islamic Scholars-in-training) to take a photo of me. The Alfa promptly took a selfie of himself with his back facing the church entrance so that he could get a good view of my face when the usher was welcoming us.
Immediately, the image was forwarded to my dad just when he was about commencing his meeting. That was when he started calling me. But I hadn’t answered the call. He kept calling but my phone was later switched off.
This got him so furious that he couldn’t coordinate himself well throughout the meeting. It had affected the overall success of the contract he hoped to secure. In the end, they lost the contract.
My dad came home that day dejected. He was so upset that he decided to go straight to bed. For days, he didn’t know how to approach the matter until the situation presented itself that Friday afternoon.
The Tempting Offer
After a day, I was discharged from the hospital. When I got home, I was so surprised to see all members of my extended family, including the Chief Imam and some elders of the Muslim Society in the community in the house, eagerly awaiting my return.
I still marvel when I recall the incidence of that day. The people had gathered there, first, to apologise for the rash decision of my dad who nearly strangled me to death.
Secondly, they wanted to show some solidarity for the loss of fatherly love we lacked in the home.
More so, they expressed their support for me and my family henceforth. They would support me in any trade I wished to venture into, or sponsor me to any level of education I wished to attain.
They were also willing to help with whatever I needed. But it was with a condition. I must abandoned my newfound faith in Jesus Christ.
The whole incident was like a well-rehearsed drama to me. I just watched on as they made these declarations.
“While you are still thinking about the decision to take, we have arranged a vacation for you. Tomorrow, you shall embark on the journey”, they declared.
I was confused. Dazed. Dumbfounded. This was too sudden. Why all this sudden show of love? There was something sinister about it all. I prayed to God silently to show me the deep secrets of men and reveal their intentions to me.
To be honest, I was in a dilemma. Since I was born, I had never experienced such love and tenderness. No promise had ever been made to me, and I definitely hadn’t been presented with any choice to pick from. I was just handed over whatever my dad felt was right.
I was totally confused. Should I abandon my decision to follow Jesus and continue in the false religion of Islam and enjoy all these promises open before me?
Or should I stand my ground to follow Him and damn the consequences of defying my father, the Islamic clerics and all my family members? My father nearly strangled me. Who knows what he will do next if I made any decisions contrary to his wish?
I bowed my head and silently prayed, “Which way, Lord? What should I do? Which path should I tow? What do you want from me, Lord?”
A Startling Dream
That night when I slept, I had a dream. In the dream, I was on a journey to an unknown place with my dad. I asked him several times which destination we were headed for, but he didn’t give any exact reply. He simply said it was a surprise for me.
As the journey progressed, we were joined by another company. A lady of similar age with me was being dragged by her father towards the same direction we were headed. I was confused.
Why would a matured lady be dragged like a small girl to a place? However, I kept the thought to myself.
After about 30 minutes’ journey on foot, we met some fierce-looking men who had big turbans on their heads. My father handed me over to them, as did the other lady’s father to her. That was when I knew trouble lurking somewhere in wait for me.
We were taken to a dark room where we joined other ladies. Initially, we all were silent. Later, I started hearing the whimper of some ladies. Suddenly, a huge man with a red robe entered the room and called my name,
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I woke up from the nightmare sweating profusely.