A man that laid in the men’s ward of Igbobi general hospital was scared. He had broken his bones while taking a motorcycle to work that he should never have been on in the first place. His brother had told him to wait for him to drop him at his office but his eagerness to beat a co-worker to the office had caused him to take a bike that had landed him in trouble.
Ever since he got here, he couldn’t help being scared at the different cases around him. Although his leg had been set, he was still very scared and his presence in the room was worsening his condition. There were men groaning in pain all around. Some were asleep but when they were awake, they usually seemed in pain.
The man beside was almost comatose in pain. Whenever he looked at him, he felt very bad for him. He didn’t need to be told that the man would have been very handsome before whatever accident had brought him here. He looked like he would have been tall with wonderful fair skin and a full beard of hair.
Looking at him now though, his skin was grey in suffering, his beard had been shaved off haphazardly, his eyes constantly dulled out from pain and his legs were gone from the knees downward, all the man had left were thick bandaged stumps where his leg should have been. Worse still was that, in his two weeks here, the man had only gotten one visitor. An old woman who most likely would be his mother.
Anslem turned his head and saw the young man in the bed next to him watching him again. If he had the strength, he would tell the man to concentrate on his own healing. But he didn’t have the strength, neither did he have the will power. He was too tired and he wasn’t sure he cared anymore.
He turned his head from the staring young man but was careful not to look down at the stumps that were now his legs. He never wanted to see it, ever. His life was finished, he was finished. Emasculated. Destroyed. He would never be the confident, charismatic, good looking young man he once was.
What would he achieve with his legs like this? What could he ever amount to? Who amongst those women who had fluttered around him would want him now? Who would look twice at a man without legs? Caroline and her father finally got their revenge after all. He would never be anything more.
Depression ate at him as he realized he had nothing at all. All the money he had was used in taking care of his bills here, neither his wife nor children had visited, none of his numerous friends had lifted a hand to help at all. He felt very hurt, very small and very alone. The worst part was he was too much of a coward to even kill himself and end it all here and now.
While lying on the bed there, he had a lot of time to reminisce on his life and all the decisions he had made. Including the unfortunate accident that brought him here. He remembered how it had given him pleasure to lord it over a woman. To hold her life in his hands like it had been with several maids his wife had brought to their house.
Their fear had fed his ego, their cries had made him feel stronger. He had felt fulfilled making women as he believed they were, the weaker vessels. He had laughed at men who said some women were strong. It had been about the power for him, about women looking up to him in fear and trepidation, alas, that would never happen again. For he could not even frighten a baby the way he looked.
The doctors talked about prosthetics legs, that they would help him. How could he even afford it? He had no money left. His wife had taken his houses and cars from him, his father in law had taken everything else. His only surviving sibling was abroad and would not lift a finger to help him. She cut him off the day she found out he raped her husband’s younger sister and had refused to call him since he was admitted.
Now, he felt what those women had felt, what Ada had felt the night her life had gone out of her. What must she have been thinking? Feeling? Experiencing? How could they have buried her in such a place? An unmarked grave like she had no one. He would go back if he could. He would never have hung with those guys, never have made that stupid bet, never have started what had been the beginning of his end.
He lived with the mind numbing fear that he was finished and could do nothing about it. All the people who could help him had deserted him and he was alone with the aged mother he had never bothered to take care of when things were good.
He felt the helplessness that he was sure Ada had felt at her death. The impotent unproductive rage that left you empty and aching. All he asked God for now was forgiveness for the way he had lived his life, for the mistakes he had made, for his thoughtlessness and selfishness. If he had another chance, he cried, he would live life well. He would never hurt another person again.
But God did not answer.
The Auditorium was crowded, the place was jam-packed full of people. The atmosphere was alive. Praise and worship had begun and the spirit was moving. The man sitting on the chair tried to move out of the way of the enthusiastic dancers around him and he searched for his church member who had pushed him there but he could not see her.
He quickly realised he would have to stand up so he would not be trampled upon by the many people trooping in and out of the stadium. It was a prayer, worship and praise night organised by one of the leading ministers of God, Pastor Dare Ajuwon. He hoped against all hope that he would be able to see the Man of God so he could receive his healing.
The vigil was huge and it only happened one night in a year. It was characterised by anointing, holy spirit baptism, healing and deliverances hence the reason why there were over 17, 000 people in the stadium that night.
2 hours to the end of the 10 hour program, James was beginning to feel desperate. He had succeeded in moving closer to the centre of the stadium where Pastor Ajuwon was but he was still yet distant away from him. At this point, all he wanted was a prayer, a little laying of hands and he would be satisfied.
When they called out those in need of healing an hour later, he ran as fast as his swollen legs could carry him to the front of the makeshift altar. Pastor Ajuwon started a series of deliverance prayers for them and James eagerly shouted Amen and waited for total deliverance from the troubles that plagued his severely weakened body.
During the prayers he felt something leave his body and he felt suddenly relieved. He walked back to his seat in less pain than he had been in for almost a year. Indeed, God was in this place, he told himself.
Barely a week later, James was rushed to the hospital again when his blood pressure suddenly rose and he was scheduled for another dialysis. After the treatment which he had been undergoing for four months, he called the doctor aside.
James: “What is my condition, doctor?”
Doctor: “Mr James, I have told you before and I will tell you again, you need that surgery, nothing else will save you!”
James: “But Doctor, I received my healing, my Kidney should have recovered. A man of God prayed for me, he did!” He cried to the Doctor desperately.
Doctor: “Mr Samuel. I have looked at your test results again, your Kidneys are barely existing at this point. I don’t know if the man of God prayed or not but God hasn’t answered yet.” He said seriously to James who started weeping on his bed.
If only, he thought to himself. If only he could go back to the young man he had been, he would have told him not to abuse his youth for he would pay for it later. He remembered how he had enjoyed taking drugs and alcohol when he was younger. He remembered being advised to stop but he hadn’t listened, he actually hadn’t cared.
He was arrested in his 3rd year for executing the gang rape of a 200 level student. With the help of his very distant father and the Police, he managed to escape. Of course, he hadn’t let that disturb or distract him from his goal. He had joined a huge criminal gang and terrorised a lot of states in the west. His mother had died from a heart attack when she heard and confirmed that her son was a criminal, an armed robber, rapist, kidnapper and Killer.
A superiority battle had eventually broken out between him and another deadly guy in the group years later. Their leader had died in a gun fight with the police and several of them had been arrested. The rest who escaped decided to regroup a few months later and they needed a new leader. He had wanted the position, so had General, his rival. In the end, General had tried to kill him to get the position so he had fled.
Coming to Lagos, he had tried hard to enter into any of the several groups and cults that existed there but he hadn’t even been given a chance. In order to join in, he had to go through the bottom first. There were several guys at the top already and none were willing to shift or even give an opportunity for a newbie to show them up.
Realising that the battle between he and General was nothing compared to Lagos Criminal politics, he had quickly shifted and gone underground, doing petty crimes and small online scams to survive, eventually he had started forming his own gang too but went out of business when majority of them were arrested.
After that, he had gone to work for a Politician who needed young men as thugs. It was in the course of doing this that he met with a group on evangelism. They spoke to him about the Salvation of Jesus and he gave his life to Christ with immediate alacrity. He couldn’t say for certain what had been different that day, for he had heard the word several times, but that minute, he gave his life to Christ.
He had gone on to join their Church, a strong bible believing church, ministering the word and bringing souls to Christ. He even went back to Bible school and was very well versed in the word of God. He stayed far away from women, drinking and smoking. He was on a path to rebuilding his life.
Later, when the Church wanted to build a parish in Ilorin, he was nominated as the person who would shepherd the new branch. He was excited and grateful for the opportunity and was almost immediately ready. He was told however that he had to get married for that responsibility. At the time, he was already 36, so he agreed, after all he wanted children.
That marriage proved his greatest undoing for it was like the woman had been brought to him as karma for all the other women he had hurt in his life. She had tormented him day and night, nagged him to deafness, stolen his money, burnt his car, torn his clothes, in private and public and refused to have children for him, she constantly took pills and mocked him with them.
He reported her several times to the Pastors at the headquarters in Lagos and they spoke to her all the time. She would promise to change and as soon as they left or dropped the call, she would threaten him severely. Sometimes pouring water on their bed so he wouldn’t sleep or locking him inside the house after taking his key out with her.
He became severely afraid of her and slept with one eye open at home. Realising things weren’t going to end, he had started sleeping in church to avoid his wife’s trouble at home. And then, one of the matured unmarried ladies started bringing him food in the evenings. She comforted him and made him feel like a man again.
He thought he knew the devil, he was very sure the devil was at home in his house but the devil left his house and came to him in church. One cold, dreary night, Sister Folami had brought him rice and pepper soup and they had ended up warming each other up on the rug in his small office.
After that, everything in his life started to fall apart. His wife burnt the house down on herself, members of the church, that had boomed from the beginning and increased even with his wife’s hysterics began to reduce gradually and soon he was left with only the very few that had started the church with him.
In his lust hazed, grief- pretending mind, he hadn’t seen that his adultery was what was causing the problems, he had assumed his wife’s death by burning had been the reason why people lost faith in the Pastor-in-charge, he had been sure that given time, he would right everything and the old members would return.
Sister Folami’s pregnancy ruined all that. When the Headquarters heard of it, he was immediately suspended and asked to report to Lagos while another Minister was appointed to his former position. He had been very angry by the Church’s dismissal of him and had refused to report in Lagos.
He married sister Folami and had opened another Church there in Ilorin. The church had never gone past the primary school room they were renting and his only members were his wife and 3 other people. When Folami lost their second pregnancy, she had become very discouraged and lost interest in the church and him. He had returned one day to find her gone and that marked the end of his stay in Ilorin.
He had returned to Lagos and joined another church. The fact that he hadn’t completed his tertiary education meant that he couldn’t get a satisfactory job and he was barely able to make ends meet. He had done small, small businesses on the side and was managing to survive before his health started to trouble him.
Not able to afford good hospital treatment, he had used local herbs (agbo) and other herbal products to deal with his health challenges and was able to temporarily diffuse his issues. Of course, it wasn’t very long before he started seeing signs he could not ignore in his body. He started peeing blood, his legs began to swell and he experienced immeasurable pain.
Eventually, his church had financed him to run a test and that’s where he found it he had end stage Kidney problems. He was told he would need to raise 8 million Naira for a surgery abroad and would also need to get a donor that would match him. His church had started helping him raise the money but he was still unable to find a willing donor.
Unwilling to die so young, without having achieved anything, he had started to run to different men of God for prayers for healing. So far, he had been to 14 of them. After the prayers, he would feel a lightening of the load but soon enough, he would realise the disease was still there.
The money the church had raised had so far been mostly expended on dialysis to keep him alive before the surgery would happen. He knew he was responsible for what was happening to him, he only wished God would have mercy on him, forgive his sins and help him out. He wasn’t ready to die yet, he still had a lot inside of him, why couldn’t God see that?
Do you think God should give these men new chances?
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