I’ve gotten to a certain point in my life where the evidence of God is so obvious, that I really don’t have any excuse for doubting. My understanding of God has grown a lot in the past four years. He is no longer a theory or something that I believe in on the level of faith. He is real.
Sometimes the little mundane things he says and does are easy to overlook when explained to a friend. The dramatic stories are far more interesting. So let me tell you 2 remarkable stories.
A while ago my mom had an operation on her eye; but I’m going to go back to 2 years so you can see the full picture. 2 years ago my mom was in the United States when she got a phone call from an old friend telling her to meet up at a shop called Macey’s. Upon getting there, the woman told my mom that God said she should take her to the opticians in order to get her eyes tested. She told her specifically, “don’t argue with me, just come with me to the opticians, cause God asked me to take you there and pay for the tests”. A bit of a weird thing to hear from a friend she hadn’t seen in years.
Upon getting to the opticians, my mom was tested and it was discovered that she had been given the wrong prescription, and the contacts she was wearing were slowly making her eyes worse. I put the question to you….. Did God really send this woman? Or was it just a coincidence?
Coming back to more recent events, the same woman sent my mom an email. It had only four words: “go to the opticians”. Given the fact that God had used this same woman in the past in relation to my mom’s eyes, she should have recognised that the message was not from the woman, but from God. My mom ignored the instruction. 2 weeks later, she is sitting in her office and there’s an internal explosion in her right eye. A few days after, a black layer like film appeared at the bottom of her eye, impairing her vision. The film kept rising. Realisation struck….she was slowly going blind in her right eye.
She went to the opticians and was tested with “a scan”. The report was there was nothing to worry about, her vitreous was detached, but her retina was ok. Apparently the retina is the one that needs to be worried about. Anyway, she was prescribed with eye drops and sent home. After a few more days, she decided to seek a second opinion. Another doctor inspected her eye “by hand” and concluded that her “retina” was detached and she needed to have an operation immediately otherwise she was going to turn blind. First in one eye, then the other. Two conflicting diagnosis, one made by a man and the other by a machine…who to believe? The whole time all this is happening, the black layer is rising in her eye. She is losing sight. One thing is certain; something needed to be done fast.
My old man called up the doctor with the conflicting diagnosis, asking why his verdict could be so different from the machines. The doctor was angry, because he felt his authority was being challenged. You must understand that in a country like Nigeria, one has to be careful with doctors. Some have no qualms about diagnosing you wrongly just so you can pay for an operation you really don’t need.
The conversation ended badly. The doctor felt he was being challeneged. My old man felt he lacked empathy….. by the way…..the eye is still getting worse. The film is still rising.
My old man called his personal doctor to find out if he knew of any other eye specialists. He was given a few numbers to call and was able to speak to a guy that was located about 5 hours away in the middle of a place that can only be described as a bush. What makes this particular bush interesting was the fact that it held one of the best eye doctors in the world.
He had been given a grant from the World Health Organisation and had set up an eye hospital in the middle of his village. It contained high tech facilities and all sorts of equipment you would expect to see only in a Tom Cruise movie. The story starts to get interesting.
The doctor noticed our last name….Aribisala. As it turned out, he went to school with my uncle and they were old friends. Coincidence?
Laying aside a long list of minor details; the guy confirmed that she did indeed need to have surgery, and guess what…the previous optician my old man had argued with on the phone…..works for this same guy. Coincidence?
The man called up his employee, stating that he was a friend of my old mans brother and instructed him to conduct the operation bearing in mind the personal connection. The operation was to take place the following day.
The day came and with it came a bill of 540,000 naira that needed to be paid “in cash” before the operation could commence. We didn’t have the money. What do we do? My old man made a call to the doctor that was his brother’s friend, with one request. Can we pay by cheque? You see there is a policy that requires that a payment has to be made in full and in cash. The translation of that is; if we don’t have the money…..my mom is going to go blind.
The doctor makes a phone call and authorizes his employee to accept a cheque. My old man was able to borrow some money, and that was how the operation was paid for.
Let’s take a moment to reflect.
There was an argument with an optician, which led my old man to look for another doctor. The doctor he was led to happened to be his brother’s friend. This guy owns the hospital where the operation was scheduled to take place, and the doctor my old man had argued with works for him. The hospital only collects cash; but because the doctor knows my uncle; he allows us to pay by cheque. Coincidence?
Let’s come to today. My mom’s eyes are fine. They aint just fine. My mom has been wearing glasses since she was a little child. 55 years later…. She is seeing better than she has ever seen in her life.
I said the word coincidence a number of times. I have a habit of doing that these days cause I often wonder just how many so called coincidences it would take to get an average person to see God in a situation. I stopped believing in coincidences when I started to understand God better. Coincidences don’t exist in a believers life. God often creates situations and circumstances, its just a question of if your eyes are open enough to see it, excuse the pun.
What’s interesting is a few days before the operation took place I was having a conversation with my mom about this very subject. Why did God let her go blind? Or did God make her go blind in order to teach her something about him? Sounds like funny questions.
We spoke about this for hours. The conversation started with me saying I was thirsty. No drinks were cold and there was no electricity, you know how we do in Naija. I grumbled about it for a while then we carried on our conversation about coincidences. Do they exist? Or is literally everything orchestrated by God in some way? A few minutes later my old man walked into the room and asked a question out of the blue: “Does anyone want a drink”.
My mom and I burst out laughing for about 5 minutes. My old man thought we were crazy. Here we were talking about whether coincidences existed, and I was thirsty, and basically God used my old man to bring me a drink. He hadn’t heard the conversation. He was just walking in and he wondered if we wanted a drink, after which he produced some cold drinks which he had just bought. Where am I going with this? Ill attempt to put it more in perspective.
Why is God described as a “healer”? Why is he not described as the God who “prevents us from being sick”? There is a fundamental difference between the two. Once we can understand this difference, our perspective of him starts to become a bit clearer. How can you know God as a healer, if you have never been sick? It’s a rhetoric question…..you can’t.
It’s not an easy thing to go through; losing your sight. The whole time you would most likely be saying: “God why me”? “Why would you let this happen to me?” “What have I done to deserve this?” We are very good at that. But we fail to realise that God teaches us a lot about himself through what we conceive to be “bad situations.”
How can you know God as a provider, if you have never lacked anything? How can you know God as a redeemer if you have never lost anything? We don’t ask these questions, because we don’t want to be sick. We don’t want to lose anything and we don’t want to lack anything. Basically…. We don’t want to know God, but we don’t even realise it.
Let me tell you another story; slightly more dramatic than the first. I must have been between 8 and 10 years old. My mom was just coming back from the states, so my old man and I went to pick her up from the airport. On our way home we were attacked by armed robbers. Ill leave out the narrative descriptions and hit the nail on the head. My old man heard a voice that said: “nothing will happen to you”.
We barely knew God at the time. My parents are intellectuals and with most “smart” people the concept of God is something that doesn’t appear to make any sense. But that didn’t change the fact that he heard a voice that wasn’t his own.
After he heard that….he was shot. A bullet went through the door and into his leg. I’m in the back seat, calm as can be; if you can describe screaming my head off as calm. I remember the entire incident quite vividly. One of those things that’s pretty hard to forget. My old man turned around and looked my mom and me in the eye and said: “don’t worry, nothing is going to happen”.
There was about 5 of them, all wielding guns and axes. They smashed the windows, collected the suitcases and a bit of money they found in the glove compartment. One of the robbers asked my old man to step out of the car. That was actually when he realised he was shot. Adrenaline has a way of hiding these things. He told my old man to lie down. He was going to kill him there and then in front of us. My old man said “no”. “You’ve taken everything we have, what more do you want?” I’m not going to lie down”.
The robber looked at him as though he was crazy. He was there holding a gun; telling a man to lie down, and this guy was refusing. For some reason, the robber looked at my old man for like a minute. Then he turned around and walked off signalling to the others. .
We were on a desolate road. Evidently moving cars must have realised there was a robbery in progress so noone came through that way. My mom ran out screaming for help. A lady in a taxi managed to convince the reluctant cab driver to take us to a nearby hospital. Now this is where the story gets interesting.
My old man had a bullet in his leg. The voice he heard told him “nothing was going to happen”. But he got shot. So something happened…..right? Well come back to that question later.
The car was inspected. What was interesting about the car was the fact that it showed a bullet hole that went straight through the door. Where the hole was located showed that my old man should have been hit in the stomach. Yet the bullet was in his leg. What happened? If the bullet had ricocheted or been deflected by an internal bit of metal in the door, the hole wouldn’t have gone straight through; there would have been a hole at the top and one at the bottom. But it did. Coincidence? Luck? Science was at a loss for answers.
My old mans brother happens to be a doctor. An x ray was done and it showed there was a bullet in his leg. His leg needed to be operated on otherwise the bullet would infect it, and it would need to be amputated. My old man heard another strange voice that said: “your leg is healed”.
The last time he heard “nothing will happen to you”…..then he got shot. This time there is a bullet in his leg, and he is told “you are healed”. As stupid as it seemed at the time…He believed the voice.
My uncle is an atheist. He doesn’t believe in God at all. Certainly not when his brother is hearing voices telling him he is healed, and when he can see clearly in an x ray that there is a bullet lodged in his leg! As far as he was concerned, my old man was going crazy, and was probably hallucinating based on the shock of the incident.
“Ok so youre healed right? Let’s do another x ray to confirm it then.” Another x ray was done. The bullet was still in his leg. “Bro, all evidence shows…..you are not healed! You need to have an operation.”
A few days later my mom woke up in the middle of the night. I can only imagine how petrified she must have been, when she saw my old man’s leg moving. It was like it was being massaged by fingers she couldn’t see. She touched his leg and it felt warm and as though an electric current was running through it. That was the only way she could describe it. Another x ray was done….the bullet was no longer in his leg.
My uncle had 3 x rays to look at, all a few days apart. 2 showed my old man had a bullet in his leg; 1 showed there was no bullet. Science was out the window. Only one thing was clear… the leg was healed and no surgery was needed to take out the bullet. He still had crutches; in fact everything about his physical state indicated that he was not healed. Yet; another x ray proved that there was no longer any bullet in his leg. Coincidence?
12 years down the line we still have the x rays. A bullet was never removed from his leg. There is no difference to his walking. He heard a voice that said “nothing will happen to you”, then he got shot. My question today is…. Did anything happen?
You can view different situations in all kinds of ways. But Ill tell you this much. God is not a man. He is not a figment of your imagination. As a result he requires a different level of understanding. I don’t know anything about you or your experiences; or reasons why you feel God may or may not exist. But I cannot deny what I have seen and felt in my life. Perhaps sharing the little I know with you will give insight into certain things that might be more obvious than you think. God is real. At times he is more dramatic than others. God shows himself to people every single day. Its just that people like my old man needed to be shot in order to see him. It does not have to be that way. Maybe as I continue to share with you my life’s stories; it will shed more light as to why I believe in him.