We seem to live with an erroneous belief that destiny is a predetermined part of life, a fixed variable over which man has no control. Unchangeable! But as Pastor E.A Adeboye, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) explained to a mammoth congregation at the November Holy Ghost Service of the church at its expansive three-kilometre-by-three-kilometre auditorium, the fulfillment of destiny is subject to several variables.
Destiny has been loosely defined as events that will necessarily happen to a particular person or thing in the future; or the hidden power believed to control future events.
Others define it as a predetermined course of events considered as something beyond human power or control the inevitable or necessary fate to which a particular person or thing is destined.
These definitions suggest that destiny is a fixed factor in a person’s life; that some people are born to be poor or mad and there is nothing they can do about it.
But if God loves man and created him in His own image; and even knew him before he was formed, this concept, at best, looks flawed. Otherwise, what do we say about this man in a testimony Pastor Adeboye often uses.
“There was a man who desperately wanted to be rich. His friends told him about a particular charm which he must swallow to become a wealthy man. The only condition was that he would be wealthy for seven years, after which he would die.
The man said that was not a problem. “Seven years of pleasure; I can do a lot in seven years,” he said.
So they gave him the charm and he swallowed it. But instead of getting wealthy, he got nothing. In the meantime, the charm he swallowed was making him sick in the stomach. He came to church, we prayed for him to vomit the charm but he went back to swallow another charm and stopped coming to church.
He became rich, but the seven years soon ended. Scared towards the end, he decided to relocate to the United Kingdom, believing that the demons could not reach him there. He died on the plane to the United Kingdom.”
So what could have been this man’s destiny? It is clear that God didn’t make him to die that way.
Pastor Adeboye’s sermon on the subject was an eye opener. At the Holy Ghost Service, he defined destiny as God’s purpose for an individual. Citing examples, he explained that the fulfillment of this purpose is subject to many factors. But the underlying factor is obedience to God.
•Destiny can be destroyed as in the case of King Saul and his sons. Saul’s disobedience made him and his sons die on the same day. Destiny destroyed for Saul; destroyed for Jonathan, who had agreed with David to be his deputy.
•Destiny can be cut short as in the case of High Priest Eli whose lineage had permanently been assigned that role. Not only did his disobedience and that of his sons cost them that revered position, they were cursed to beg.
•The example of Nebuchadnezzar, the fourth king of the Second Dynasty of Isin and Fourth Dynasty of Babylon shows that lost destiny can be restored.
•Destiny can be helped by the individual himself. Pastor Adeboye illustrated this, as he often does during his services for easier understanding and retention, with an experience of a king in one of the South-West states who invited him to preach during any anniversary celebration. The service was invaded by a huge presence of juju high priests and traditional rulers in full regalia. But he put them on the front row and challenged them later in the service.
“At one stage in the sermon, I challenged them: “All of you serving other gods, I came here with my wife and son, the colour of my car is brown and is parked outside. I want you to use all your powers to make one of my tyres go flat. If you can do that I will serve your god. If you cannot do that, you must serve my God.”
But their leader, a very powerful man who was head of all the secret societies, responded to my challenge and came up to the altar to give his life to Christ. It was an astonishing moment, one I shall remember for the rest of my life.
The beauty of this story is that, within a month, the man died. He was a very old man then. All his life he had served Satan, but less than thirty days before his death, Grace came, He grabbed it with both hands and now he is in Heaven”’ he said.
Shortly after that testimony, Pastor Adeboye made the altar call, and a large pool of heads of people, eager to help their destiny soon formed at the altar.
That ended the first session of the service with the theme “Destiny Helpers.” With many more examples, he showed in the second session how destiny could be enhanced by even servants and enemies.
Servants: It was the suggestion of a servant that led to the cure of a leprous Syrian General, Naaman by Prophet Elisha. Pastor Adeboye advised people to be careful about how they treat their househelps and workers.
Enemies: A hush silence fell on the congregation, when Pastor Adeboye advised that we should not always pray for our enemies to die. As the Biblical account shows, Joseph’s enemies among his brothers, Potiphar’s wife, and some co-mates in prison pushed Joseph to be the second-in-command of Egypt overnight.
He cited his own example of how a hostile leader of an interview panel for overseas scholarship, made him to do his masters degree at the University of Lagos, from where he found God, become a pastor, and later a GO.
Friends: As in the case of David and Jonathan in the Bible, and the experiences of people whose friends have impacted them positively.
Relatives: Shown in the example of how the mother and sister of Moses saved him in a season there was an order to kill all newborn males. Pastor Adeboye remembered his mother who always blessed his obedience with the prayer that in future he would call one person, but hundreds would respond to the call.
Prof Chike Obi and Adeboye’s thesis: God also intervenes personally to enhance destiny fulfillment. Pastor Adeboye supported this with how God helped him with his PhD thesis. He worked on it for 18 months without making headway.
“Now I had reached a stage where I was faced with one hundred and eighty-six simultaneous equations. If you have done any simple mathematics before, you will understand that even if you have only three simultaneous equations you already have a problem. I had a hundred and eighty-six!
I was at crossroads. I didn’t know whether to turn to the right or to the left. I had worked relentlessly at the equations, trying to see if there was anything I could rearrange, but still encountered a block.
One fateful day, at about 10pm, I got tired and threw it aside, choosing rather to study my Bible and then go to bed. I studied the crossing of the Red Sea in Exodus 14. Just as I was finishing that study, God spoke to me and said, “That is the solution to your problem.”
But it didn’t make sense to me that the story of the crossing of the Red Sea would bring a solution to a Ph.D thesis problem.
But God said to me, “Go and bring your equations.”
It is a wonderful thing to hear from God. And I pray that you will continually hear from Him. Amen!
I brought the equations. How many of you know that God can solve mathematics problems? He is the original mathematician. Whatever the subject, He knew it before you discovered it. God was saying to me, “Put this on the left, put this equation on the right, put this one on the left…”
By the time I finished, he said, “Alright solve those on the left together; those on the right together and then bring the two together.”
He disclosed that was what happened at the crossing of the Red Sea. The sea was divided into two – one on the left, one on the right – when the children of Israel had passed through, the sea came back together. Five hours later my thesis was ready.
Of course, when my thesis was presented to the external examiner, Professor Chike Obi, he said he had no questions for me. Even at the insistence of the authorities he insisted, “Go and give the young man his Ph.D.”