“And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.” Matthew 6:12
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:8-9
For by means of a harlot, a man is reduced to a crust of bread; And an adulteress will prey upon his precious life.
Ebenezer looked up and saw the lady still smiling at him. He knew the verse that he heard in his spirit. It was from the book of Proverbs. His dad made it compulsory for his sons to read Proverbs 5-7. But although Ebenezer knew he should not be considering making advances at the lady, he wanted to get back at his wife. He deserved to get even.
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
This was exactly what Ebenezer was trying to avoid. The magical wand of forgiveness. Was it his fault that the woman he married lied about her identity? Was he to blame for the curse her father placed on her? Was he wrong for being angry? Even Jesus got angry!
Ebenezer hated the unrealistic expectations that come with the Christian faith. How can a person be offended so deeply and still be asked to forgive so cheaply and swiftly.
Holy Spirit: But I forgave you? Didn’t I?
Ebenezer: Well, I was just a sinner and you saved me. That was all. I got saved at 15. I was never the son of a Chief Priest. I was not the one who lied to her partner about her identity!
Holy Spirit: Does that make my sacrifice less important?
Ebenezer: It doesn’t, but at least I did not do the crazy things that she did. Holy Spirit, do you think what she did was fair?
Holy Spirit: No. It wasn’t fair, but all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. The Son of Man was made manifest that He might destroy the works of darkness.
Ebenezer: Sometimes, I wonder if this Christian life is not making me a fool. I am always expected to forgive, and always expected to let go of offenses. I don’t get it. I am not a fool. I know right and wrong.
Holy Spirit: 1 Corinthians 4:10 says that “Our dedication to Christ makes us look like fools…” Also, Colossians 3:13 reads: “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” It is not easy but that is what the Lord requires from you. That is what the Lord does for you.
Ebenezer: But it is not easy, Lord Jesus! It is not easy.
Holy Spirit: It was not easy when Jesus asked the Father to forgive the people crucifying him because they did not know what they are doing. It was not when Stephen was been stoned and he cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” My son, it was not easy then and it is not easy now, but it is important. Forgive your wife.
Ebenezer bowed his head again and cried. He wondered why his path was so difficult to tread.
Twenty minutes later, he cleaned his eyes and returned home. The longer he stayed, the higher the likelihood that he would fall.
Baba Alade stood as the doctor took his seat.
Doctor: Baba, please sit. You have been stressed out for the past few hours. Do you need water? Have you eaten?
Baba Alade: Doctor, I don’t want anything. Just tell me. How is my daughter? What happened to her? Is she alive?
Doctor: Baba, please relax. What happened to your daughter can happen to any of us.
Baba Alade: Young man! Just answer me. Is my daughter alive or not?
Doctor: Yes, she is alive.
Baba Alade: Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Jesus! Ehen, so what went wrong with her? Why was she shaking?
Doctor: She had a nonepileptic seizure (NES), which is caused by anxiety, mood disorder, family stress & conflict, substance abuse, and post-traumatic stress disorder, among other issues.
Baba Alade: Okay. So how do we address this LES thing?
Doctor: Sir, it is NES. We will need to complete a physical and neurological exam, get her comprehensive health history, and then we can know the next steps to take.
Baba Alade: For now, she will be taken from the Accident and Emergency unit. We will prescribe some drugs to stabilize her. Please don’t allow any thing or person that might startle her. She needs to rest.
It had been more than two hours on the road.
Chief Priest: Ade, when will we get to my daughter’s house? We left home since morning, and we have not gotten there yet.
Ade: Baba, we will soon be there.
Mama Ade: E pele, Baba. I can imagine you are so eager to see Sangofunmi. I am also looking forward to seeing her again. It has been so long.
Ade smiled. He knew his mother was still afraid. She wondered if the Chief Priest’s sons would still try to kill her. The guys had chartered a car and were following the car that Ade, his mother, and the Chief Priest occupied.
Ebenezer met his house open and empty; Baba had left with his wife. Her things were still in the living room, just as he left them. After switching his phone on, he tried to reach Baba, but to no avail. He could not sleep.
It was morning already and there was no word from Baba. No text. No WhatsApp message. Nothing.
He considered checking hospitals in the area, but he was not sure where to start from. He also didn’t want to leave the house empty in case his wife and Baba returned. Ebenezer wondered what he had gotten himself into.
He heard a knock at his gate. Baba was back! Ebenezer was overjoyed. He would make amends. He had never felt so alone.
Ade guided the driver to Pastor Ebenezer’s house. He was not sure how the Pastor or his wife would react, but it was the only thing he could do. He tried Pastor’s number several times before he slept yesterday but the line was switched off. He felt it was likely there had been no light in their area.
As the two cars parked, Ade alighted and walked towards the gate with his mother following closely. The Chief Priest’s sons held their father and led him.
Ade took a deep breath and knocked the gate.
Ebenezer shouted! He saw Ade with an old woman beside him, followed by an older looking man and two men with charms on their bodies.
Ade: Pastor sir, I am very sorry for barging on you. I tried to call you, but it didn’t go through. I am sorry for the issue that happened the other day when you came to visit me. I am sorry for coming here unannounced. Please forgive me.
Ebenezer: Ade, at this point, I am more worried for my life. Please, what did I do that warranted you visiting me with charmed men?
Ade: Sir, it is a long story, but I will tell you everything. Please can we come in?
Ebenezer whispered, “Please tell those men to drop the charms in the car.”
Ade wanted to laugh. He wondered why Pastor was afraid of charms, but then this was not the right time.
It was almost afternoon when Bisi opened her eyes for the first time in a while. She saw Baba Alade sleeping on the chair with his Bible almost falling off. She smiled. The last thing she remembered was her husband walking out of the house as she shook uncontrollably. She wondered if that was the last time she would see him.
Baba coughed and woke up, as he almost fell from the chair. He looked up and saw Bisi awake. He smiled. “Oluwa seun o. God is good.”
Bisi smiled back and responded, “He really is. E se gan sir. Thank you for your care and prayers sir. I am very grateful.”
Baba: We thank God. I only wish Ebenezer was here. Let me try and call him again. His number has been switched off.
For almost one hour, Ebenezer kept listening and interjecting with grunts and occasional shouts. Ade shared his story, and then Sangolabi the Chief Priest spoke.
At several points during the man’s account, Ebenezer felt like rushing at the blind wicked man and dealing with him. He listened with disgust and a bit of fear as the man shared his experiences of meeting with witches and destroying several people’s lives.
As he continued, Ebenezer felt pity for his wife. He could understand why she would never want to have anything to do with this evil man.
Midway through a sentence, the Chief Priest broke down in tears and begged for Ebenezer’s forgiveness.
Chief Priest: I know that I have offended you in some many ways and I will spend my life trying to make things right with you and my daughter. Please forgive me.
Ebenezer: Me? Forgive you? After all you have done! Do you know…
Ebenezer heard his phone ring. It was Baba Alade!
Baba Alade: Omo mi. Where have you been, my son? I have been trying to reach you since yesterday.
Ebenezer: Baba, I am sorry for walking out on you. I am sorry for leaving my wife in that condition. Please forgive me.
The Chief Priest coughed and smiled. Ebenezer got the message. It somehow seemed like everyone needed forgiveness. In some cases, to forgive, and in other cases, to be forgiven. Him. His wife. His father-in-law. His mentor. Everyone.
Ebenezer: Baba, please where are you? I need to see my wife.
Thirty minutes later, Ebenezer arrived at the hospital with the entire squad. Baba Alade was shocked to see so many people. He took Ebenezer aside and questioned him.
After their discussion, Baba Alade invited Ebenezer into the room where Bisi stayed.
Ebenezer: My love. I am so sorry for treating you the way I did. I am sorry for walking out when you needed me the most. I am sorry for everything. Please forgive me.
Bisi: My husband. I am the one that needs your forgiveness. I lied to you and deceived you for so many years. I should have told the truth for the get-go. Please forgive me.
Baba Alade was in tears. He remembered God’s word. “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a seed; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. There are times when death is needed for life to come.”
Ebenezer: My love, there is one more person that needs our forgiveness. Please can I let him in?
Bisi: Who is that?
Ebenezer: Let me bring him in.
Bisi shouted immediately she saw her father. “Get him out of here! I don’t want to see this wicked man. He ruined my life. He cursed me. He ruined my life. Get him out of here!”
Baba Alade: Adebisi, please take it easy. Don’t let the doctors hear you shouting. They will send all of us out of here. Ebenezer told me part of the story of how your father got here. There is so much that needs to be discussed.
Bisi: Baba, I will not discuss anything with this man. Nothing. Get him out of here now! He is the reason I am in this mess. Get him out.
Over the next three days, there were so many conversations filled with lots of tears, shouting and pleas. Baba Alade was a moderator of some sorts. He worked with the medical personnel to schedule meeting times for Bisi.
The night before Bisi was to be discharged, she finally agreed to meet with her father again. She requested that no one else should be in the room.
Bisi: Baba, why did you do this to me? You sent me out as a young girl several years ago and you never even bothered to know my whereabouts. You did not care whether I lived or died. It was none of your business. Why are you here? To finish what you started? To kill me? Why exactly are you here!?
And although Sangolabi was positioned on a chair before Baba Alade left the room, he fell on the floor and begged. “Sangofunmi. Omo mi. My beloved daughter. I cannot tell you how I cried to sleep every night, thinking about you.”
Bisi: Stop lying. If you cared so much, why didn’t you reach out?
Sangolabi: I couldn’t, my daughter. I couldn’t. The witches told me that they would kill me if I ever tried to find you. They said you chose a different path and as such, I was not allowed to talk to you. My daughter, I am sorry. I will spend the rest of my life trying to make it up to you. I promise. I am no longer that man. I am a new person. I have met the slain lamb. I have met Jesus. He is changing me. I am not the man I used to be. Please forgive me.
Bisi kept crying. This was the one prayer she felt God could not answer. She had prayed for her father to experience the saving power of Christ, but she never thought the prayer would be answered. Never.
Sangolabi: I don’t deserve your forgiveness. I know. I will work hard to earn it.
Bisi could not control the tears. She remembered how much she had hurt her husband and how she needed his forgiveness. She remembered how much she had hurt the Lord by disobeying His instructions. She remembered and decided to begin the process of forgiveness.
Bisi: Baba, I forgive you. I don’t know how this would work, but I forgive you as Christ forgave me. I forgive you because Christ forgave me. I forgive you.
Sangolabi wept. “Thank you, my daughter. Thank you. I never believed this day would come. Never.”
Two days later, Ebenezer, his wife, his father-in-law, and his brothers-in-law sat in the living room. As they discussed, Sangodele, the first son of the Chief Priest spoke, “If this Jesus thing is real, why has he not fixed our father’s sight. Our father is still blind. This miracle is not complete o.”
Ebenezer smiled, “My brother, God is God. He heals when and how he pleases. Nobody can dictate for him.”
Sangodele: Then He is no different from our gods. They also have seasons when they cannot operate.
Bisi: My brother, Our God is not like any other god. I believe you will experience His saving power soon.
Sangodele sneered. “Whatever”
Suddenly, the Chief Priest shouted, “Ahhhhh… my eyes!!!”
“—and they waited for the moving of the waters. From time to time an angel of the Lord would come down and stir up the waters. The first one into the pool after each such disturbance would be cured of whatever disease they had.” John 5:3-4
Episode 8 ends. We have come to the end of Stirred Waters!
Iremide: This story has brought us through several roads. We have walked with Ade as he wondered why his affliction remained for years despite his service in God’s vineyard. We have walked with Bisi as she hid her identity from her husband for years. We have walked with Ade’s mother who was afraid of death. Sangolabi, the Chief Priest. Baba Alade, the family mentor that made a difference. Sangodele and Sangodare, the unbelieving children. We have met several people.
From this final episode, we see the revolving chair called forgiveness. Someone is offended and finds it difficult to forgive, but then the person has also offended another and desires forgiveness. We learn that God requires us to forgive as He forgave us, no matter how difficult the circumstances might be. We also learnt that healing is God’s prerogative. His gifts are complete, irrespective of man’s perception.
As we draw the curtain of this story, what has been your favourite episode? Who were your least liked and most liked characters? What was the sentence, scripture or remark that stood out for you? I am looking forward to reading your feedback.
Also, what did you think happened to the Chief Priest when he shouted? I am also smiling and wondering.
Shall we pray together?
Heavenly Father, thank you for your love. Thank you for the gift of this story and the lessons that we have learnt. Lord Jesus, we ask that you help us to trust you even when it seems we are unattended to. Teach us to be undeterred when answers to our prayers linger. Set us free from every cage, unveil every hidden thing that we need to know and grant us stability when things seem to be getting unhinged. Let your power be unleashed in our lives. Give clarity and definition to the undefined issues in our lives. And even when it seems like our testimonies are not complete, help us to know that the salvation of our souls is the complete package and the greatest miracle we need. Thank you, Lord, for answering our prayers, for we pray in Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.