(… continued from penultimate Monday)
The next entry, the winning one, came in from Abuja-based Mr. Peter Benjamin Peter (PBP). It was vintage-PBP, with monstrous creativity and monumental mischief in the mix. By the way -just so you know- it was the participants themselves who massively voted the entry the best. Preamble over, see for yourselves how The WHAT IF Challenge Champion played around with Nehemiah 6.
And -one more thing- he wants you to read his serving ‘in the voice of Akwa Ibom state governor, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel:’ ‘When word went out to the opposition, federal might and the media that I had flown Akwa Ibom beyond their own next level, and without a trace of dirt in my garment, the rampaging final obongowo sent messages to me saying, ‘it is reported among the nations, and your own senator says it is true, that your party and you are plotting a revolt. That you are carrying on a wall-like project, and have even bribed preachers to proclaim that Only God is with you.
‘See, that report will get to Lord Total. So come, let us meet and dwell together under federal might …’ I replied, ‘I am carrying on great projects; why should I abandon God’s plan and defect with you …?
‘Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer. Then, the fifth time, one of their aides brought it plus an unsealed letter. I took the letter to God.’
‘Nehemiah 6:1-16: Dear Lord, I believe I am right, for you named me RIGHT. But Jehovah, what if I am wrong? What if the opposition are right? Of course, I believe only (Thee) God made me; of course, that only (Thee) God brought me to the throne: but what if I am wrong?
‘What if I was brought by the other ONE who paid the flight; what if it was by night bus? Alas, should a man like me run away? What if running away to live to fight another day is my destiny? Should I hide in the temple?
‘Even more confusing, the mother whom you anointed has joined them and prophesied against me. She swears, ‘if he wins, cease to call me a woman of God.’ What if she is right? What if she actually heard from you, Jehovah?
‘Some of my very own aides have crosstituted to their camp, to now mock the umbrella while dangling a broom. What if they are right? What if fresh breath is what we need? What if you Lord really want me to give way: how would I know?
‘Nehemiah 6:16-19: Opposition to the completed wall (read projects). When our enemies heard that Ibom Air flies higher than their tarmac-confined Nigeria Airways and that we eat and sleep peacefully in Akwa Ibom as against the killings everywhere else, their spies were afraid and lost their self-confidence, having realised this work had been done with the help of Only God.
‘Lessons from the Nehemiah experience: one, not everything they say God has said is from God (Nehemiah 6:10-12). The 2019 election showed how prophecies can be manufactured. And, as Nehemiah teaches, no matter how religious I may be, I should still be able and sane enough to discern things that my God can and cannot say. Two, opposition will always be opposition; Satan would always be satan. (Nehemiah 6:19).
The building of the wall awed everyone and even intimidated many, but that didn’t dissuade Tobiah from continuing the persecution. He kept sending letters to distract Nehemiah. Sad to say, today many allow themselves to be blinded by politics, ethnicity, greed, stupidity and hate. The way out is to emulate Nehemiah by getting the job done, distractions or no distraction.
Quickly, quickly, let’s welcome our third participant. Miss Inemesit Etuk, a University of Uyo linguistics graduate, wrote: ‘What if Nehemiah had not rebuilt the wall? What if he had thought to only fortify his house? What if he didn’t have the interest of the people at heart?
‘What if he had let himself to be intimidated? What if he had been arrested or worse, killed? What if he had no God or had no relationship with his God? What if he had stopped building the wall?
‘What if you’re facing something similar to Nehemiah’s? What if you are being discouraged by people who should encourage you? What if you give up along the way? What if you don’t know your God or who you are in him?
‘Oh, what if you are doing the work Nehemiah’s enemies did? What if by your words or actions you are sabotaging a great project? What if all you want is for the work to stop? What if you reflect on your life and change your ways seeing that God has not sent you?
‘For me, the lessons are: first, good shall always trump evil. We should know our God and make sure he also knows us; we should seek his will in everything and every time; we should make our every project his project. We must set our sights on the goal as Nehemiah did rather than get distracted by side talks, rumours, and such other negative comments. Second, we should remember that sometimes the very people we are trying to help will stab us in the back but we should not let their bad infect our good. Our consistency can save or change a life!
This speaks profoundly to our society and how people tend to have nothing good to say about every government. There are no factories, we complain. A government builds factories for the good of the people, we still complain; calling them mere toothpick and pencil factories. Rome was not built in a day, or was it?
(To be continued next Monday)