Have you ever hated the words, All things work together for good to those who love God, et cetera — have you? And simply because in what is called Circumstances, of which you at the time is its victim, the words just sound like platitudes and clichés that hurt in fact, with the saying. Have you? I have. A number of particular times.
The familiar words like “God has a plan”, or ” It’s all for a purpose” don’t sound any real — perhaps, not anymore! You can’t continue to feign the faith that’s not there — what’s the use? you say, of course. “Let the weak say I am strong” is the height of self-deception, you’ll say. When the “poor says he’s rich”, does it change anything? (you scoff quietly, while Pastor Mrs counsels behind her desk.) Keep hope alive, she reiterates — “but for how long?” was the let’s-face-the-fact rhetorical question you stomach within. Keep faith strong! “But what has it done for me?”
I hate platitudes. I hate people trying to make something make sense by all means when they themselves are not sure it does right then. When people told me years ago that my 6 years academic stagnancy (2002 to 2008), all because I was seeking to credit my Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics — when they told me it was for a purpose, I merely bore it just enough to not respond with very shocking and bitter remarks.
When while I wrote 12 O’Level exams in all — writing almost 3 exams every year (2001 – 2004, and 2007 to 2008 finally) struggling to get anything other than P7 or P8 (later called D7/D8) or F9 in the 3 subjects — when I wrote them, and people told me God has a great plan for me, I wonder if they couldn’t just save me those words for Heaven’s sake.
When colleagues now made seniors counsel you with a condescending outlook and only too few see the stuff you really are made of and keep close to sincerely encourage, you feel better enjoying the pity of the condescending counselors than that of those who truly believe you are made of more! I know the feeling, I felt it about 6 long years!
When I took to writing poetry in 2006 October to occupy the solitary years with self expression, and compiled my first 50 poems by June 2007, nobody could convince me then I was headed for a better life yonder. And God knows I have even not started the great future I had been told and later sensed myself. And there could only be much more happiness to look forward to, I believe!
I don’t use flowery words — except, of course, in writing love poems, where the poet can say his facts in all the gilded, sweetest words the ear can ever hear. I don’t use exaggerated expressions; so, if I tell you now that, looking back, I am most glad I went through all I went through, and, to God, if I knew better before I went through them, I wouldn’t have asked for a better gift than what I went through — God in Heaven knows! It’s that richly paying off and richly fulfilling afterwards! I am seeing the good purposes behind them all now that no one could have convinced me about then.
I finally crossed to Arts Class in 2008 January, retaking my exams in April with people that would normally be in their JSS 1 when I was formally in SSS 3. They would call me Pastor to avoid the awkwardly affixing of “Brother” to my name in class. I would have to shave my beard each week going to class to look younger, and God so good, I am even blessed me with a baby face!
Doing Arts subjects for the first time in my life then — Literature, Government and Christian Religious Studies — might have made the short preparation (January to April) for the WASSCE almost another risk doomed for failure — but I had found my line and my passion and, unaided, I made top grades that the regular Art students I met there envy. I proceeded to study English in Obafemi Awolowo University by merit in November that year, and it was the beginning of my journey to fulfilling purpose. I also wrote my first fiction Sprouting Again in the 6 months between WASSCE and university admission that year.
Nobody needs to tell me anymore that all things work together for good to those who love God and that are the called according to His purpose. Nobody needs to force the words to make sense to me anymore. Nobody needs to try to convince me that tough times never last, or that “whoever will be really tall will have really slender legs” — nobody needs to anymore. Because I know now. I’ve been there.