“These Words Are Faithful And True…”
Does God’s Word revealed in the Scriptures work? Is it to be depended upon as a principle to govern one’s live in this present generation? Is it relevant to every day challenges in life that may confront one, whether a young unmarried person or as a full grown adult? Are there areas of operation not limited to the pages of the Bible?
I have found God’s Words faithful and true. I was seventeen when I left my home-town in the west to live with an Uncle of mine and his wife who had been living in a town in the middle belt area of Nigeria. The culture of the people was strange, the atmosphere different and I had to adjust to the difficulties of living in an entirely new environment. As if that was not enough, I found the family I came to live with having a queer way of life.
I had come from a background of traditional African belief. My grandfather was a witch-doctor – a traditional medicine man and spiritualist. We woke up every day to see him making sacrifices to his gods and consulting them. There were certain rules that governed our family and I was familiar with such. I also knew ‘Ifa’ (my people’s god) had to be consulted if any serious matter cropped up whether one was a church goer or not; after all some church pastors and Christians were among my grandfather’s customers.
But here was my Uncle (who was a preacher) and his wife, they were not only Christians, their Christianity was their lives. They had so much faith in the authenticity of the Bible and its teachings. They not only studied it or preached it; they adhered to its principles and allowed it to determine all their actions. I had seen Christians … my own parents who were living outside our village also used to go to church, but church as far as they knew was a ceremony – a Sunday affair. For many people I knew, it was a day of wearing good and beautiful clothes.
Besides, my uncle’s wife had introduced me to Christ on a personal level on an earlier holiday visit to their home. The wife had shown me how salvation from sin was possible through Christ and that as long as a man lived in sin; he could not fellowship with God. So even though I had been among Christians, my uncle and His wife introduced me to a new dimension altogether when I went to live with them. The Scripture “…Them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality …” (Rom. 2: 7) was true of them. I watched them act on God’s Word and watched them wait patiently on its promises. As I watched them live this practical life of trusting God, coupled with some series of teachings and instructions from the Bible, I also came to learn to believe in the Lord and trust in Him.
My time of practical exercise came when I had to leave them and go to school. There were times I had no money or adequate provision for my essential needs and as a young girl in a higher institution, I had the choice of either being in despair or putting into practice what I had learnt under my people. There was also the other option, of going the way of other young girls on the streets or on campus. For instance, it was normal for my mates to go out with men or some “Sugar daddies” so as to meet their needs. But that was contrary to the way I was brought up, so I held my peace. I would call upon God whom my people had trusted and about whom I had read in Scriptures as my shepherd and my present help in time of trouble. The Bible says,
“The Lord is my shepherd, 1 shall not lack.” Ps 23:1
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble, Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof… Be still, and know that I am God … “ Ps 46: 1-3, 10.
At such times God indeed did prove a refuge and a present help for me. He would respond and literally meet my needs through unexpected but godly circumstances. I learnt to be still and I proved God as God indeed.
There were other trials in connection with ungodly lecturers who would want to sleep with girls under their tutelage. We had this Maths teacher who not only made passes at me but also spoke provocative words in class against me because of my faith and stand. He threatened openly that I was going to fail his course if I did not comply. He would make jest of my faith. But I never gave up and was ready to fail the course than compromise my faith. With the exception of myself and one married lady in whose culture the sin of adultery was believed to attract some serious repercussions (sometimes, instant death), the rest of the girls in the class were known to have yielded to his requests. Going alone to pass my tutorial assignments or to see this man for any other cogent reason was a risk. Even when I go in the company of other girls, his habit of playing and caressing them in public was very irritating to my Christian heart. Although I failed the man’s course as he threatened, God’s deliverance came when I went for the carry-over. He was suddenly retrenched and I had to do my carry-over under another lecturer. I scored a B. His threat and the accompanying fear that I was not going to be able to graduate because of that course were quelled by God’s divine hand. I learnt like the Hebrew children that our God is able to deliver us from anybody’s hand. Even when He chooses not to, like they told Nebuchadnezzar, we would not compromise our faith.
When I graduated and started working, the next hurdle to cross as a young girl was marriage. Again by virtue of my upbringing, the solution was absolute trust in God’s Word and His promises.
“And the Lord said, it is not good for the man to be alone. I will make him a help suitable for him” Gen.2:18
“Marriage is honorable in all …” Heb. 13:4a
These were among the Scriptures I read and trusted in. In the course of my prayers, one day God showed me the man he had chosen to be my husband. By all standards the man was beyond my dreams. He was handsome and I felt I was not beautiful enough for him. He was more educated and a leader in his fellowship with many other sisters I considered more qualified and suitable for him. I didn’t think I had a chance. But here was God telling me he was the man he had chosen for me and that together we were to fulfil a call. Since the brother was not even around me. I only had to pray and wait on God to fulfil his promises.
God spoke to me in 1986 and for six years, there was no physical manifestation. Sometime in 1992, the brother started writing me and mentioning some of the things he felt God was speaking to him about in regard to his marriage. At first he was not so plain, but when he did. I had to write him asking about what he perceived to be God’s call on his life. This was important since according to Scriptures a wife is meant to be a help meet for her husband in whatever God had in mind for him to do. So all the Lord had spoken to me about His call for my life should be part of what He had been told to do. Surprisingly, when he wrote back his response tallied with what God had told me to be my call. Here again I proved the faithfulness and integrity of the Word of God. I proved that if and when God speaks, a man can wait on it. A Scripture like:
“For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. Behold, his soul, which is lifted up, is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith” Hab.2:3-4
which was very useful during the six years of waiting, proved to be true again. With all my ugliness (though truly I am a beautiful girl for God’s Word says, I am beautifully and wonderfully made), and all my inadequacies, I proved that God does not think as we do. Isaiah 55:9 says, His thoughts are not our thoughts neither are his ways our ways, for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His ways higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts. What could be more beautiful – to hang on God’s Words and not on my feelings or potentials and watch Him bring things to pass.
Shortly after my celebration of the fulfilment of God’s Word after six years of waiting and we finally got engaged. I got a letter from the brother saying he was no longer interested in the relationship. Someone had given them a teaching on campus that a man should only marry a woman he is very familiar with, someone he knows in and out, and had related closely with. With that teaching he started feeling that he made a mistake, after all, it was only reasonable not to marry a total stranger (which I was), whose heart and character he had not had enough time to understudy. You can imagine how I felt. There were questions in my heart. Did God not speak? Was it all my imagination? What about the accurate confirmation I got regarding the call? What could have happened? I took the letter to the Lord in prayer. I knelt down in my room and spread the letter before the Lord and started asking Him what happened to the words of promises I thought He gave me. When the Lord spoke, I heard him assuring me that the contents of the letter were contrary to His will and that the brother would come back. Once God had spoken, I left the matter in His hands and went about my daily business. Another year passed and there was no word from him, then a second, but I kept waiting. Within this period, some other brothers including Pastors came asking for my hand in marriage. Each time I felt like considering them and giving my consent, I will find the Lord God expressly saying to me when I go to pray: “Don’t do it Ruth. That man I introduced to you is the right man.”
To the glory of God, after the second year, the brother did come, this time begging and confessing that he took a wrong step by withdrawing in the first place. He had listened to men and not to God. Today we are married and I can honestly say “Every good gift and every perfect gift comes from above …” (James 1:17)
I may not know what your situation is today. Are you going through a trial? Could it be you have never known God on a personal level? Or you are not even His child (John 1:12-13)? Could you just bow your head now in prayer and ask Him to reveal Himself to you? Or having known Him, you have not had the confidence to trust Him and His promises to us in Scriptures in this practical way I have experienced Him? Hear the Lord,
“So shall My Word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: It shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereunto I sent it. Isaiah 55: 11
And do not forget,
“These Words are faithful and true” (Rev. 21:5).