Happy New Year guys. I’m sure we are all delighted to have made it into a New Year, I know I am. Now is the time to make the resolutions and plans on how to achieve them. I have just one this year, don’t expect me to share it before bad belle people will use eye to scatter it.
As I launch into this article, I need to first ask God for forgiveness. I have really delayed sharing the story of my deliverance and restoration. Have you ever found yourself in the midst of a rock and a hard place? I definitely have. One thing I'm thankful for is that instead of my heart getting hardened, I found God and since then I started my journey with Him.
I actually gave my life to God sometime in 1997 or so but I never took my Christian life seriously. Why? I had my own plans. What was that plan? To enjoy life to the fullest and when I got older or when I was settled with a wife and children I would then begin to take my Christianity seriously. Little did I know that God had His own plans and as a result of His sovereignty, His plans always come to pass. The Amplified Version of Pr. 19:21 says:
“Many plans are in a man’s mind but it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand.”
Little did I know that Baba God was just chilling for me in 2013 to bring His purpose to pass and when the appointed time arrives, there is nothing you can do to stop it. You don’t believe me? Go and ask Pharaoh that was forming baddest guy and refused to allow the Israelites to leave. If that example is too old for you, enter the New Testament and ask Saul. By the time God arrested him, he changed his name to Paul. Don’t worry I didn't have to change my name.
This story is inspired by the song ‘Greater is Coming’ by Jekalyn Carr. You need to listen to the song. Tune of life.
Just like an olive, for its oil to run, I had to go through three stages: the shaking; the beating; and the pressing. These stages prepare you for greater things and Joseph is an example of someone that went through these phases. Currently, by God’s grace, I believe I am in the pressing stage.
At this point, let me just say that I pray you never have to go through the shaking. It’s not an easy place to be in but if you do go through this phase, please accept it gracefully. Jonah and Job went through the shaking; Job’s case was extreme; he lost it all. If it was me that had been on a boat and suddenly a storm came and they threw me overboard … as per Warri boy, I for swim comot. That was done to Jonah, then God sent a fish to swallow him in order to give him time to think about his life. As I was saying, the shaking is a point when suddenly everything in your life begins to turn upside down because God is preparing you for the making. How did mine happen?
Let’s start with 2011...
I started my application for a UK student visa and as a Nigerian, you know that such applications come with a lot of nervousness. Before I applied for this, I got a job with a top bank but I turned it down because I wanted to go for a Masters Degree. As I’m writing this, I’m thinking to myself: "na who send Uche?" I forgot that I prayed to God that if I got the job it meant I wasn't to go that year. When excitement and stubbornness are combined, it is a very dangerous something. Needless to say, I didn’t get that visa. Imagine my disappointment and sadness.
Roll in 2012, I started the process again. This period felt like a déjà vu. I got into the final stage of an interview with another top bank but was rejected because of one funny reason that had to do with my certificate. No be me send WAEC to fill in wrong information oh! (We’re plenty in this boat ba?) I also prayed the same prayer which was if I didn’t get the job, it meant this was the year. True true I got the visa and so I went to the UK.
The initial three months was great, life was good, Tesco was delivering my groceries, shelled out money for the iPhone 5 (on a contract of course), then to round it up, I went to Yankee for Christmas. Sage was live in Yankee. Of course in the midst of all this, I forgot the "skabashing" (prayers) I did to get my visa. Little did I know God’s plan had ripened and it was time to bear fruit. As we say: "jungle don mature!"
Oh boy! 2013 shook me. Suddenly, to pay rent became gbese. For my non-Nigerian people gbese means problem/trouble. To eat was another matter entirely. Suddenly guy man that was shopping online and doing home delivery had to be counting pennies and going to a cheaper store to buy groceries. Any week I spent more than £10 meant I was trying to spoil myself. Times got tough. My shaking had started. God started making me into what He wanted me to be. I had to find my way back to God just like Jonah did while chilling in the belly of the fish.
How did I find my way back to Him?
By running back to Him, crying out to Him in my period of distress. One thing I must add is this, when you’re going through the shaking, accept it with grace and in faith that one day "E go better." Joseph is one person that went through the shaking with such humility. I’m always blown away whenever I read about Joseph. Take some time out to study the story of Joseph. From Daddy’s boy to slave to prisoner and then Pharaoh’s second-in-command.
This stage comes in order to show you the anointing you have as a child of God. To get here, you must let God shake you very well in order to make you. Remember that we are the clay and He is the potter (Is. 64:8). After much shaking, I got into the beating phase. In this phase I started to learn how to go on my knees, how to pray to God. As a child of God, do you know that the earth is yours to dominate? Here I was, created to dominate the earth but struggling to pay rent and eat good food. As a result of the shaking, what did Jonah do? Jonah prayed to God.
As a result of my shaking, what did I do? I prayed to God. Is that odd? Well to some people it is. Let’s take Pharaoh as a good example; he got his shaking but instead he hardened his heart. I know some people would argue that God was the one that hardened his heart. I would say he had a choice to submit to God’s sovereignty. That’s exactly what Jonah did in Jonah 2:1-9. He started his prayer by admitting that in his period of shaking, he cried out to God and ended his prayer by admitting that salvation comes from God.
Bros had been shaken properly. So as a result of my shaking, I started drawing closer to God and guess what? He extended His loving arms to me. I began to learn how anointed I could be.
One particular miracle that happened to me was in mid-2013. Broke as can be. Food? Gone. Phone bill? Not far away. House rent? Not far away. What did I do? You would think that with all the shaking, I would know to pray. Nah, I wasn’t as smart as Jonah, I first relied on the arms of man and as the bible warns us, they are bound to fail. Jer. 17:5-6 tells us that trusting in man is the same as been under a curse. Imagine that! v6 describes it very well, check it out. So I reached out to my cousin to borrow me some cash, of course she fell my hand. It was then that my brain clicked and I went on my knees and prayed. God is indeed our great provider (Jehovah Jireh).
In the midst of that prayer, the same cousin called back and informed me that she had sent me £200. Imagine my joy. That was way more than I had asked her to borrow me. Sometimes, I think that the problem with mankind is that we can be stubborn. You would think that with all my experience in the shaking phase I would have learnt my lesson. Nah bruv, I didn’t learn it one bit. I've been cracking my brain on how I can include ‘innit’ in this my gist to prove I actually went to the UK.
Stroll in 2014, I attended the assessment centre of a top company in Nigeria. I later went to visit a big man who promised to call one or two people to know how it went. Trust Baba God, it didn’t take long to get an email informing me of their regrets. Omo forget it, Warri no dey carry last. This time around I was sharper. When I got home, I went straight to the floor and started praying, calling out to my Father in the midst of my distress. In hindsight, I’m glad it happened because through that experience I also learnt the value of first fruits (Pr. 3:9).
Whenever you’re going through a shaking during the pressing stage, there is something God needs you to learn. By 2014, I was aware of the anointing we have as children of God. What is required is for us to activate that anointing in our day to day lives and in times of trials and tribulations. When Joseph was going through the beating, he accepted it with grace and refused to let anything come in the way of that. Never let anything get in the way of your beating process.
When Joseph went through the pressing stage, it was preparing him to walk into his destiny. What a destiny he had. Imagine if he had fallen by the way side during the pressing, he would have never walked into his destiny. When you’re being pressed, that is when your oil begins to flow. That is when you begin to walk in your anointing, that is when you begin to be the person God intended for you to become. You become an anointing to others. You become a blessing to others. In this stage, when you’re faced with afflictions, you will know how to handle it.
How do you know you have entered your pressing stage?
You no longer rely on the arm of man. You commit all you do to the hands of God just like Joseph did in Gen. 41:16. By the time you enter this stage, you are prepared for the promotion that is around the corner. You understand the value of tithing, first fruits and giving to God. When Joseph was summoned, he prepared himself because he knew he was never going back. I am still experiencing the pressing stage and by God’s grace when I walk into my destiny, I will be able to write more about this stage. For now, I will keep preparing for that time in Jesus' name.
In order to convince God that you are ready to enter your destiny, you need to successfully go through this stage.
When going through these stages, from time to time you will experience all or some of these stages at once. Accept it with humility, give glory to God and commit your ways to Him. Ps. 34:19 says that “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” Sounds familiar? That was how Jonah ended his prayer and God sent him on his way to his destiny. That was how Joseph responded to Pharaoh and God revealed the meaning of the dream to Joseph. They did this in recognition of God’s sovereignty and dominion over all things. When you respond like this, you’re letting him know that you’re aware He is preparing you for greater.
Sage is a graduate of human resource management and a 24/7 salesman. A clay in the hands of the Potter, he is on a journey to knowing God and becoming the man God has called him to be. He has a passion for football and society at large. In his quest for knowledge, he has recently restarted his passion for reading books. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria.