O weary pilgrim, lift your head!
For joy cometh in the morning;
For God in his own word has said
That joy cometh in the morning.
Joy cometh in the morning,
Joy cometh in the morning;
Weeping may endure, may endure for a night,
But joy cometh in the morning.
Wale looked around the hospital room. He wondered how he got here. It had been a relentless journey for him. Growing up in a less privileged home, he promised himself that his family would be different. Working at a bank for the first 13 years of his career gave him the exposure and experience he desired. It also brought more money that he ever imagined. However, it took all his time. He was usually at work, on the way to work, thinking about work or attending a work-related meeting.
It was at such a meeting that he met Adenike. He loved her with all his heart. She was God’s gift to him. Looking back over the years, he was convinced that God had shown him mercy. He could not imagine someone else loving him the way she did. Despite his flaws, fears and feeble frame, she loved him and cared for him. And he loved her. Oh, he loved her!
As the children came, Wale got a new job at Living Hope Initiative. In a bid to prove himself to the management, he threw himself into the work. He was the go-to man for solutions. Weekdays. Weekends. Mornings. Nights. He was always an e-mail or phone call away. Promotions came, along with local and international trips, and a lot of money.
He was able to give his children the best life. He was a believer. He went to church and participated in programs from time to time. But something was missing. Although he had given his children the things that he never had, Wale could not shake the feeling that he had not been there for his children. He had worked himself to the grave.
As death neared, he couldn’t shake the feeling that he could have done better. And so, as he took his last breath, Wale wished he had another chance to live life differently.
Sola sat in the church and listened as Pastor Ebele ministered.
PE: Church, can we open to the book of Romans chapter 8. Verses 1 and 2. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
Sola wondered how that would work. She felt condemned.
On her way home from Jane’s place that fateful evening, she promised herself that she would never make the same mistake again. The fact that her Dad was rushed to the hospital made her resolve even stronger. There was no way she would disappoint God.
However, as the WAEC GCE exams continued, she found herself falling to the same temptation over and over again. She hated herself.
The preacher’s words jolted her to reality.
PE: You might be here wondering how you can be free from this condemnation. The scars of yesterday have become chains that are holding you back. I know how you feel. For years, I struggled with suicidal thoughts, pornography and masturbation.
Sola looked up. Stunned.
PE: The struggles ate at the very fabric of my faith. And though I’m not proud to say it, there were times when I considered walking away from Christ. But God, who is plenteous in mercy, helped me. He sought me out when I strayed away from the fold. He brought people around me who have held my hands like Aaron and Hur. He helped me and He is still helping me.
If you are struggling with sin, guilt and condemnation, Jesus is here to help you. Just come as you are. In John 6:37, Jesus said whoever comes to Him, he will never cast out. Please come to the altar as we pray together. Jesus is here. He is here to help us.
Choir, please take the hymn, Just as I am.
Just as I am, without one plea,
but that thy blood was shed for me,
and that thou bidd’st me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
At night, Sola brought out her diary. Her heart was heavy.
For the first time, I went out to the altar for prayers. It was as though I was being moved by an unseen hand. As the choir sang that hymn, the words spoke to me. I feel the hymn was written specifically for me.
It has been a long time since I wrote a letter to Jesus, but I want to write one tonight.
“Lord Jesus, the pastor said that You are able to help even the worst sinner. Well, here am I. Here am I, Lord Jesus. Please fix me. Your word says no one who comes to you will you in any wise cast away.”
Sola cried as she wrote her letter to God.
“This struggle is more than I can bear. The guilt is crippling and my faith is failing. Master, do you not care that I am perishing? Do you not care that I might walk away? Have mercy, Lord Jesus! Have mercy.”
As she wrote her prayers in tears, Sola drifted off and had a dream.
Iremide: A few years ago, I read a book titled “How Will You Measure Your Life?” It was authored by Clayton M. Christensen, James Allworth and Karen Dillon. It asked a question that I find myself asking time and time again. “What is success to you?”
The answer to that question is different for each person, but it helps us to channel our efforts in the appropriate direction. It helps us decide what to spend our time, resources and energy on.
If Christ tarries, 40, 50 or 60 years from today, it would be time for you to leave earth. What do you want to be your legacy? Are there things you should be doing differently?
Can you relate to Sola’s struggle with same sex attraction? Or perhaps you find more similarities with Pastor Ebele? Are there struggles that have defined your life’s journey? Today, Jesus is here to help you. He is willing and able.
You have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
Jesus is here to help you. He is stretching out his hands, are you willing to let go and take His hands?