Today I’ll be going down memory lane.
One night, in the summer of 1998, I got home to find some piece of good news. It had been a busy day – going to school and running errands at the shop run by my mum and granny. The good news was in a bulky brown envelop. No, it was not money! It was my first installment of a bible correspondence course.
I had subscribed to the Voice of Truth Bible School, Kano, after seeing some of their study materials with Gbolahan Akinlosotu, one of my classmates in Primary Six. That night, I was elated and overwhelmed at the number of books and the personalized letter sent to me. As I lay excitedly on my mat and unseal the package, I offered sincere prayers to God and felt like the most special being in the world. The books, though not the trendiest, were full of graphic illustrations and each had questions at the end. I loved writing exams and tests. I loved answering questions, so I soon consumed everything and returned my answers via the Onipanu Post Office.
In another three months, I received the next installment and the cycle continued till I got to the advanced level with tougher questions to answer. It was always a thrilling and fulfilling exercise whenever I received those study materials.
When I stopped receiving the course materials sometimes around 2000/2001, I was not happy. I was rather disturbed, but I soon reasoned that the school might have run out of funds or perhaps, they had been forced to close down, considering the spate of inter-tribal and religious conflicts in the Northern part of the country. Many churches and mosques had been burnt down during such bloody clashes. Thankfully, I had grown in my faith and could now move on conveniently to other materials and associations to ensure my sustained spiritual growth.
Today, when I look back at those days, I realize how far I have come. I seem to be too caught up in the New Testament, especially the epistles and all the ‘Rhema sturvs’… lol! What happened to the parables and the stories of the Old Testament? I recall with nostalgia, the tenacious childhood passion I had for bible study and how insatiable I was; how I could go to any length to find out things about the scriptures and how diligently I participated in bible study as a Sunday school kid back then. I believe it was even partly responsible for the giant leaps I had in my academics. I was just curious. In church, I won the annual Bible Genius competition back-to-back and was on my way for the third (in JSS2) when I was disqualified because I had earlier in the year been drafted into the main church choir. The following year, I represented my church in a quiz competition in another church. Two contestants were meant to represent each church, but I had to prepare and go alone; and I won!
Why go through the entire story? Well, I still love God and seek to please him in all things, but I think I’ve lost some of those fundamentals. By that, I mean, how many Bible facts and statistics do I remember? Truth is: then, we learnt those details and memorized those verses out of routine and to earn some respect as the “Bible Genius”, but looking back I believe they became handy in helping to form character. Today, I still remember a handful of those memory verses I learnt a dozen years ago. Remember the portion that says, *“Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee”? or *“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”?
Also, I live and breathe analogies, so how could I have done away with those stories? Most of my writings – poetry and prose – are filled with analogies, metaphors, allegories, name it! As a child I learnt to observe a lot, think deeply, and connect happenings in my environment. Even Jesus Christ used a lot of those elements in connecting with people in his time. Stories are powerful and good stories are much more powerful! My writing sure dates back to those memorable days.
Today, I have made a decision to begin and finish reading the whole Bible by the end of the year – four or five chapters every day will get me there. This does not sideline my regular bible study programmes/plans as well as listening to my favourite podcasts courtesy Creflo & Taffy Dollar, Joel & Victoria Osteen, and Joyce Meyer. I am excited that I will be reminded about things I have long forgotten; I also stand a big opportunity to explore a wealth of new revelations as I journey through the word of God. I want to experience God through His Word, both as a curious child who reads for the specific details, and as an adult who consciously studies the scriptures, patiently receives revelations, and receives grace to apply the biblical truths in everyday life. It’s sure going to be quite tasking, but I’m ready to invest in this worthwhile adventure.
How about you? What steps are you taking to become more spiritually attuned today? I’d like to hear from you! –GN!
*Psalm 119 vs. 11
*Psalm 119 vs. 105