Reflections as I Turn 47 Today: How I Nearly Died Yesterday
By: Deji Yesufu
Yesterday, I took the most perilous journey of my life. I kept thinking to myself that if I were to die on this trip, people would say: first, he died a day before his 47th birthday – a fitting end to bad rubbish. Others will say: what better way of God judging the ways of a man than killing him for getting involved in a legal matter he was not supposed to be involved with. I had gone to Egbe, Kogi State, to support a friend involved in a two year legal battle. My friend lost the case and was convicted. And here I am on the verge of losing my life, too.
We had taken the only available vehicle coming out of Egbe yesterday morning. Ten kilometres outside the town, the bus developed a fault – exactly at the junction of a town called Iloffa. It took four hours for the driver to realize that the vehicle could not be fixed and we needed to get a new car. Eventually, we got another car, a Sienna, and we were ready to leave the town for Lagos. Except that we were leaving at 5:30 pm and Lagos is six hours away! I sat at the passenger seat but was thoroughly exhausted. I slept through most of the trip. We tore through the night and I was certain of only one thing: I will wake up from one of my short naps to see that our car had been in head-long collision with another vehicle, or I’ll wake up in heaven. Every time I woke, I glanced at the driver, and you could see he was alert. How does one remain alert in a situation like this? Long story short, I arrived at my host’s home in Lagos at 1 a.m., this morning, my birthday. I arrived safely.
As I reflect on turning 47 today, I want to share three things with my readers: I want to talk to you about my deep sufferings; my joys and triumphs; and my hopes for the future.
In the year 1990, my father took a trip to the United States on official duties and to see my mother. It was that trip that produced our youngest sister, Doyin – a story for another day. My father arranged for a family to live with my brothers and I. For whatever reason, the woman of that house decided to maltreat my brothers and I. I suffered a little more because my natural strong head got me into trouble, and the woman starved me for three days to prove her point. Eventually, Daddy returned, and life got back to normal. But I never forgot that experience. What I took out of it is this: God has given me a calling in life; in the process of prosecuting it, I may suffer deeply for it but the Lord will never leave me nor forsake me. One day, the Lord will return, and all will be history. Amen. Till this day, that event has reoccurred in my life: I take a strong position on a matter, I suffer for it, but God returns to save me – many times vindicating me in the process.
God has also been very gracious to me. I have known joys and triumphs. Perhaps only Bola Saheed knows something of the anguish I suffered trying to graduate from ABU – eluding the third class, and clinching a second-class lower from a sure fail. The Lord stood with me as my family were excommunicated from a church because I took the position that tithing was not biblical – I’m still suffering this but I remain unconvinced by the tithers. Or, is it my sufferings within my denominations – where it appears that many want me to put on Saul’s armour to fight when I’m sure I do not need it. In all these, I have seen pain and I have seen victory. And if I had died on that trip yesterday, I would still have been thankful for a life well spent.
Now, I must tell you what I wish to use the remaining years God has given me to do: I want to teach whoever wishes to hear the gospel and to show them that the righteousness that exhumes from gospel belief can exalt a nation. On my final day at Egbe, I visited Fikayomi Aaron. I didn’t plan to visit her that night, but I found myself within proximity of her home, so I called on the family again. I asked Fikayo how she met Bayo Adeyinka (a banker and brilliant author in Ibadan). She said they linked up via social media. Then I told her that Adeyinka and I agree on everything except theology. Then, in 30 minutes, I explained reformed theology to this dear lady – by expositing Romans 4:1-8 to her. I told her essentially that Jesus Christ died to save you and I from our sins; to give us a sure righteousness; and that that righteousness can exalt Nigeria. When Nigerians japa, they fail to see the history of America. How the Protestant fathers came to that country and built a prosperous nation through Christian ethos. This can be Nigeria’s story and this is the vision I share in my book – HUMANITY.
Let me end this essay by asking you to pray for me and to also give me a birthday gift. For my birthday, I want you to go to the various outlets that sell my book, HUMANITY, buy a copy for yourself and get one for your neighbour (Jumia, Sunshinebooks, Udarabooks.com, Amazon, or contact me directly). This action will put money in my pocket for me to be able to write more books and influence society positively; it will also avail you an opportunity to see the core doctrine of my life well enunciated, which is this: Jesus Christ died to save you and I from our sins, and the righteousness that exhumes from that communion can exalt Nigeria.
Thank you for reading and God bless you.