Shall we gather at the river?

Where bright angel feet have trod

With its crystal tide forever

Flowing by the throne of God

Yes, we’ll gather at the river

The beautiful, the beautiful river

Gather with the saints at the river

That flows by the throne of God

Mrs. Adenike Folorunso looked on, with tears streaming down her eyes. This was not the plan. They were meant to live happily ever after. He was already getting better. The doctors had informed them that he would be discharged in no time.

Where was God in all of this?

They had fasted and prayed, receiving message after message assuring them of divine healing. Adenike promised God that she would serve Him all her life if He restored her husband’s health.

On the day the doctor informed them that her husband would soon be discharged, Adenike was overwhelmed with gratitude. This was an evidence of answered prayers.

She went to the market to shop for food items in anticipation of their return home. Amala with gbegiri and ewedu was her husband’s favourite. He loved it garnished with assorted meat. She imagined the smile on his face when he finally returned home into her loving arms and to the joyful shouts from their children.

Sadly, it was not to be. Her husband died on the day he was to be discharged from the hospital.

Sola returned to school two weeks after her father’s funeral. There was nothing she was doing at home after all. Teachers, friends and classmates were warm and concerned; everyone wanted to be sure she was fine. Although grateful for the attention, Sola wanted none of it. The care was overwhelming and quite frankly, it began to feel like pity. She didn’t want that.

“My friend! I have missed you!” Jane said, with a big hug. And as though they had been released from their cage, the tears began to flow. “Jane, why did God let this happen? Why did He take my father? I told him I was sorry. I told him that I would never do that again. Why did He not forgive me?”

As Jane made to speak, the Mathematics teacher entered the class.

Mrs. Folorunso received a phone call. It was from the Human Resources Manager at her husband’s place of work.

NE: Good morning ma. My name is Ngozi Ejike, from the HR unit of Living Hope Initiative.

MF: My sister. Thank you so much for the support and encouragement. It means so much to me. Please help me apologize to the MD, I have had it in mind to reach out to her and express my sincere appreciation.

NE: No problems at all, ma. We know this must be a tough time for you. Your husband was a man who made a difference in our organization. He impacted lives. Personally, I can’t forget his encouragement when I struggled with COVID. He called, sent messages and prayed for me.

The line went silent. The two women were fighting back tears.

MF: Sorry Ngozi. Sorry.

NE: I should be the one apologizing. This is not professional. But it’s tough for me. Wale was a great man.

MF: No problems at all. I understand.

NE: Thank you, ma. The reason I called was to inform you that due to the life assurance cover in place at our organization, you are entitled to benefits from the insurance company. It is 3 times Wale’s gross salary. We have fast tracked the process, but we need a few documents from you so we can finalize the payment.

Adenike took a deep breath. She was grateful for the relief that the money brought, but she would give all she had and more, to have her husband back.

MF: Thank you, Ngozi. Please send me a message, letting me know whatever is required. I will get it across to you.

NE: Okay ma. Thank you so much ma. Please if you require any support, let me know.

It was time for bed, but Sola could not sleep. She was alone. Her sister, Anu, had returned to the University.

Sola’s mind went to the conversation their Mum had with them before Anu’s trip.

“My daughters, I know this is tough. I know you have so many unanswered questions. You are not alone. However, through it all, please hold on to Christ. Your father lived for him, and we are assured that he is in Heaven. So, feel free to weep. To shout. To scream. But please don’t walk away from Christ. He is all we have ever had. He is all we will ever have.”

Sola was convinced she knew why God took her father. Jane, her friend, also knew. But it was not the kind of thing that Sola could tell her Mum or sister, so she turned to her confidant. Her diary. She lifted up her mattress and brought it out.

Dear Diary,

With each passing day, I feel the guilt eating me up. As I watched person after person walk into the hospital room to pray for Daddy, I knew this was my fault. I was the Jonah in the boat. God was punishing my family because of me.

But then, you know it was not my fault. I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t!! God!! I didn’t want to do this!

It began during WAEC GCE examinations. I had gone to Jane’s place after English exams. One moment we were gisting.”

Sola stopped, quickly putting her diary under the pillow. She felt she heard her mother’s footsteps approaching.

After waiting for a few minutes with no further sounds, she brought out the diary.

“One moment we were gisting about movies, novels, and our classmates. And then, somehow, we began to do despicable things with each other. I don’t know how we got there. To be honest, I enjoyed it, but I knew it was wrong. We both knew it was wrong. Very wrong. We asked God for forgiveness.

Diary, it seemed God did not answer. You know why I think so?

Because the day after that incident, Dad fainted at work, and was rushed to the hospital. That was the beginning of the end. I was the cause of my father’s death.  

I will never forgive myself.”

Thank you so much for coming on this journey! I hope you enjoyed the first episode of Sola’s Diary? If you had a chance to speak with Sola, what would you tell her?

Have you ever lost a loved one? What was the toughest thing for you during that period?

While we await the next episode of Sola’s Diary next Saturday, I believe you would enjoy binge reading Traitor, a touching story set in the Biblical times. Click to read episode 1 – Traitor 1 (From Leper To Leaper)

Or if you have a taste for something contemporary, you can check out the story of Tayo and Lara starting with The Wedding Night

See you next week!

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