On June 18, 2006, GRACE found me!

GRACE SEEDS . . . GRACE STORIES[1].       In the few acts and scenes of my life’s drama so far, few have been etched into my memory. I won’t forget them so soon. I re-live them—re-act them—once in a while for the beauty and bliss they nourish my soul with each time I do so.   They are those moments that I have witnessed the seeds of Grace being sown into different grounds—stony hearts; spongy hearts. Some, I witnessed in the streets of nowhere and in the presence of nobody—in the City of Meditations. Some others, I witnessed while I listened with my eyes to a message being preached by a “whoever”. And yet, some—the audiovisuals—I watched with my ears as the grace seeds were dropping. Even some, I had to press the pages of my Bible to my ears and seldom to my heart to hear the seeds drop in my private Bible Studies. And most thankfully, few of the instances, I’ve caught myself with the seeds in my fragile hands. The Witness became the Actor. The Boss remains the devil. And each and every time, the Actor wins!   These are GRACE STORIES. . .  

  • The story of No-ah who we didn’t kNOw A thing about what he did to find grace. The first person mentioned in the Scriptures to have found grace.
  • The story of Ruth and Naomi—a story of hot romance and utter redemption.
  • The story of the two sisters I met on a bridge at 4:30 a.m. By the time I left them, they had one question written upon their faces—What Just Happened?
  • The story of the bus driver I met on a Sunday morning. He received an early morning grace and gave it all back right there and then.
  • The story of the teenage girl I gave a “Purity Promise Bible”. I won’t forget her embrace of appreciation so soon!
  And my favourite?  
  • The story of When I found GRACE.
  7 years ago, I was a first year student at Obafemi Awolowo University. I had been brought up in a Christian home and I’d known about God. I even served on the choir team and I was a “good boy” by many people’s standard, but deep down within me, I knew I was far from being in a relationship with God. I had struggles that keeps me sinking deeper and deeper into the sea of guilt. Pornography. Lust. Masturbation. (The 3 go hand-in-hand, right?) But just when God’s Grace was going to catch up with me, it was a great set up! The fellowship I attended in College—TACSFON—organised a 2-night programme at OAU’s Amphi Theatre—a programme titled “Who Are You?”   I joined tens of other fellowship members in my hostel to publicize the programme, but for some reason, I neither had any deep-seated conviction to attend nor a genuine expectation if I attended.   The first evening came. 16th of June, 2006.   As I was about to leave the hostel for the programme, I struggled on which of my Bibles to take to the programme. I had 2 Bibles at the time—an Amplified Bible that I inherited from Dr. Ope Ola and a Green KJV Bible that I got on my tenth year birthday as a gift from Ola Olusola. Both Bibles had a “but”. The Amplified Bible was too big; the KJV was incomplete—it started from Exodus and ended in Jude.   For convenience sake, I opted for the incomplete Bible despite the loud resistance in my heart. Something told me that the preacher was going to preach from either of the missing books. And so it was . . .   Pastor (Mrs) Lanre Olasehinde preached from the book of Genesis that first evening. She started from Genesis 37 and took the church on a journey—a journey through the Life of Joseph. I can’t forget the beginning of the story:   “. . . This is the account of Jacob and his descendants. Joseph was a seventeen-year-old young man . . .[2]   (Did I mention that I was 17 years old in 2006?)   It was as if the woman knew me. After she read from the text which was nowhere to be found in my Bible, I closed the incomplete book and switched to listening mode. I listened—not just with my ears—I listened with my heart. The words were piercing but my defense system against the Truth was pretty hard. My heart burned for a while but I got enough chillers for it as I walked away from the venue after the night’s programme.   The woman had counseling sessions the next day for people that registered to see her, but I didn’t register, so I didn’t see her! (I never wanted to).   The next night (which was to be the last night of the programme), I picked my incomplete Bible again and headed for the programme. Again, the preacher-woman started off by saying “Let’s open our Bibles to the Book of Revelations . . . ”   There I was again with a message from a Book that’s not in my Bible. So I listened again with all my heart. And this time, probably because she gave some snapshots from her own life and her past struggle with lesbianism, I felt like “this kind of woman surely understands what I’m going through”.   I found myself at the altar during the altar call—in tears. It finally dawned on me that there is an ability of God that can live in me and empower me to do stuffs that I wouldn’t do—couldn’t do—naturally.   After the service—in the early hours of 18th June, 2006—I met the Lord, and His Lady. I joined the queue of those willing to see the woman of God. When it was my turn, even before I could open my mouth to utter a greeting, she received me with a broad smile.   “Hello, God’s Chosen”, she said with an irrepressible joy. “Hi Mum. I’m Joseph. And I am 17 years old . . .” I replied.   The rest of our conversation, I’ll keep to myself. But I remembered how she was sooo precise and prophetic in her words to me. It was like she had been expecting me to show up on that line and she ministered to me as the Spirit of God led her. And thereafter, she opened her purse, brought out her anointing oil and anointed me. The words she spoke as she did are still living till this minute.   As I left her that night, I was asking myself only one question as I walked to Sports Complex to go and pray all night: What just happened?   Now I know the answer: I found grace! I ran into the willingness of God to enable me do things that I couldn’t do naturally. I got a gift. Before I even acted out my new found righteousness, I was called God’s Chosen—and I am!   Since then, it has been the best decision I ever made. In the last 7 years, I now find myself doing the very thing He did for me as His ambassador. In a sequel post, I will share how, by the grace of God, I introduced the Grace of God to a bus driver on a Sunday morning and how he couldn’t wait to share it, too!   And that is my wish for you, too. – Where there is pain, I wish you peace and mercy. – Where there is self-doubting, I wish you a renewed confidence in your ability to walk through it. – Where there is tiredness or exhaustion, I wish you understanding, patience, and renewed strength. – Where there is fear, I wish you love and courage.   And above all . . .   I wish you make it to Heaven!   Soon, we will walk with Him, talk with Him, and worship as He leads. Soon, God, the Author of Life and Composer of Hope, will speak our name—a name so mysterious and full of promise that only He knows it. It is our name—a new name—a name totally our own, to be ours alone for all the days we spend in Heaven.   It’s our highest hope. It’s the end of the journey. It’s the beginning of eternal life. It’s the moment you don’t want to miss.   If you don’t want to miss that moment, can you pray these prayer with me?   Heavenly Father, I come to you today having acknowledged myself as a sinner. I have learnt of the priceless work you did for me at Calvary, And I have come to receive it. I’m choosing you today and inviting you into my life. Come and take your place in my heart. And please, help me to continue to remember to abide in you to the end . . . IN JESUS NAME. Amen.   Congrats. You just made the choice of life!     _____________________________   [1] The Introductory part of this piece is an EXCERPT from My book: ALIVE! Living In The Power of Grace and Truth. [2] Genesis 37:2