THIS IS THE SCHOOL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
By Mr Femi Aribisala...
Please read carefully. Hey poeple the next time you see a beggar on yout way, just know that it could be but for the grace of God.
I had never liked the intrusion of beggars anywhere i am. I have always them to be such a nuisance. They tend to constantly violate your space, never respecting how busy you are, minding your business in your air-conditioned car. And for me, the children beggars are the worst of all. They often put their lips against your glass window, leaving behind the traces of their "beggarly" saliva. While some of them specialise in pushing their deformities right into your face.
They will still not leave you alone to be. They will keep begging, singing and praying adamantly that the secret behind your wealth would continually remain hidden from the knowledge of the world. Why can’t all these beggars just get jobs for heaven’s sake? Or why can’t a relation of theirs take them off the street and also take care of them?
Walking with the Holy Spirit, does noy allow you to feel like this. But I noticed that i just could not help it. I have tried conciously to develope different feelings about beggars but without success. All i could point out finally was that I just don’t like them. God knows I am a lover of giving even by nature. Because my entire life is consumed by just giving. I have always given to my family and even other families, my relatives, my friends and my acquaintances, widows, motherless home, the church and all. But not this one exception: I don’t give to beggars at all. Because, "I don’t want to encourage them to sustain begging". Surely God understands like i've always said to my self any time i refuse giving to them.
Now, here is the setup
I went to apply for a visa at the American Embassy in Lagos one day and at that time, applying for an American visa was a major expedition to us Nigerians. Just to make sure you will be attended to, you will have to get there as early as on or before five o’clock in the morning. And often times, you might still be on the queue at midday or even till evening and sometimes you may not be attended to that same day.
I had waited on the queue for about seven hours when I discovered that, I forgot to bring the money for the visa in my wallet at home while i was hurrying to get there on time. The only thing I could do was to go back home and return with the money the next day. But just as I was about to leave the queue, the Holy Spirit told me to remain on the queue and waite for his direction. He said to me: “Femi", "when you get into that Embassy, you will ask the person you sit next to in the waiting-room to give you that money and he will give it to you.”
That directive only served to complicate matters for me. I then thought aloude to myself: “What exactly is the Lord gearing up to? Why and how would an unknown person, i mean a total starnger, give me the money for my visa?” and on the other hand, it was not inconceivable that I could just meet a relation or an old friend in the waiting-room.i hust decided to obey the book of Habakkuk thet says: “That the just shall live by faith.” (Habakkuk 2 vs 4). So, after a brief reticence in my spirirt, I decided to stay on the queue.
Now, am finally inside the waiting room. Now, the very person sitting next my seat, created even more confusion for me by immediately getting up and walking away. This made me wonder if i am actually following what God said he will do. Now, Since i have an empty seat between the next person and me, I just decided to move to the empty seat which will close the gap between me and the next me.
Now came the most difficult part for me. I had to ask this perfect stranger seating next to me to give me "malene" the money to pay for my visa... Oh God, what an unfamiliar territory for me. Questions kept flooding my mind "How do you ask a totall stranger for money?" What would he think of you? Would he believe me if I said I had the money but forgot to bring it while i was rushing out? Ok, now, let's say he beleives my story that I really forgot, I think he will tell me this "why not go back to get it and come back the next day?".
Or can I tell a total stranger the Holy Spirit says I should give me the money for my visa without sounding like a con-man? What if the man is not even a Christian and does not know of anything about the Holy Spirit or believe in him at all? Would he not think I was just trying to play smart and finesse him out of some of his money?
I started to rehearse almost audibly, exactly what to tell him and suddenly, it just dawned on me that its time...as if someone unexpectedly switched on the stage light and the drama director just called for action...like It was all a set-up. Oh no, I had been set-up, i told my self. Yes In the twinkling of an eye, and by the masterful stroke of providence, I just got it that God had decided to teach me a lesson by turning me into a beggar.
Now all the contempt I had for beggars now came to stair me in the eye and haunt me. Now, here was I, a man of means with a not-so-secret disdain for the so called beggars, and am now constrained to join their ranks by asking a total stranger for money. And moreover, I would not only be asking for just a small change but for a substantial visa-fee... And Surely, if this stranger were to be as insensitive and judgmental as I have been, he would tell me to take a running jump into the nearest lagoon.
It took me a while but I finally summoned up the courage anyways. Having rehearsed my speech over and over in my mind and audibly too, I also recited it for a while: the i said to the man “Please sir,...excuse me, sir,” in the most plaintive voice I could ever muster. “I don’t want you to think that I am trying to pull a fast one on you right now. But even if you think that, i will perfectly understand. I left my house this morning in such a hurry for this place, so that i can get a good position on the queue, I forgot to bring the money for my visa along with me.”
The man would not allow me to finish my laboured speech. When He said: “That’s ok; I will give you the money you want.” He answered me very readily; I was very convinced he did not hear me. Thus, I repeated my self all over again: “What I am trying to say is that I was really in such a and i forgot to…”
But he interrupted me again and said “I heard you clearly the first time,” he replied me and he said “I said I will give you the money now" You may not know this but I know who you are very much. Are you not the Dr. Femi Aribisala? Did you not use to work with Professor Bolaji Akinyemi at the Ministry of External Affairs some years ago?”
I was completely bowled away by this astonishing display of God’s providence just like that, despite my obviouse disdain for beggars. I would have expected him to deny me of the money even as a correction lesson for my insensitivity to beggars. But the man paid for my visa and also engaged the beggarly me in conversation as if we've been friends of longstanding.
He told me that he is working in the Administrative Section of Marina Bank. And that they are looking for qualified staff in his department. He asked if I could recommend someone and send the person to him for interview and immediate employment. He also gave me his complimentary card.
God used this object lesson to teach me that what ever I am is only by his grace. I now know I could just as easily have been a beggar if not that God’s providence had so decided otherwise. He also taught me that there is nothing at all wrong in itself with being a beggar so that the next time I see a beggar, I should know that there you go but for the grace of God.
“O my Jehovah, I know that the way of man does not belong to the man; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps. O my Jehovah, correct my steps, lest you bring me to nothing.” (Jeremiah 10:23-24).
Thanks for reading.