As 2021 draws to a close, it is essential to reflect on God’s blessing and favours. The popular hymn by Johnson Oatman, Jr. especially reminds us of this. We tend to forget the many acts of love he performs daily in our lives. So I pondered the blessings I have received from his hands, just as the song prescribes, and I came up with the following:
I was born into a Christian family, five days before Christmas. God placed me within a family that believed in Jesus (though it was nominal at the time). And my birth in the Christmas season meant that I get to celebrate two births—my Saviour’s and mine. How cool is that!
My siblings were wonderful and caring (they still are!). I was their pet and the baby of the house, like all last-borns normally are. And they truly loved and cared for me. Because of the love I received while growing up, I think I can better appreciate John 3:16, though that love was much grander.
I enjoyed the loving care of my parents. Those who have enjoyed this grace know it is priceless; perhaps nothing is more essential for the proper development of a child. I was well fed and did not have to peep into our neighbours’ houses, nor did I have any cause to envy other children.
I was blessed with the opportunity of attending good schools, and the pleasant pictures and memories keep popping up in my mind.
I lived in the city of Kano for 9 years and my family was preserved during the violent conflicts which erupted at some points during our stay. During one of such crises, I ran into some hoodlums who, on sighting the car I was in, started shouting, “Here they are, here they are!” The car had its windscreen smashed but we managed to escape. Praise God I came out of the incident with only a little cut to my head.
My secondary education was in Oyun Baptist High School, located in Ijagbo, a peaceful town in the north-central state of Kwara. I was in the boarding house for the entire period. Looking back, this was probably my greatest blessing. For it was here I came to know the gospel, here I was converted, and here the foundation of my Christian journey was laid. I was groomed under the guidance and leadership of Christian brothers and sisters. Boarding house was tough, doubtless, but it was for me a training ground. And those years were the most formative of my life thus far.
God blessed me with knowledge and intelligence, and I was among the top students of my set. Upon graduation, he still showed me favour and I gained admission (on merit) into the University of Ilorin to study a course of my choice – Economics. I did not have to retake my O’levels nor did I have to stay at home for years seeking admission.
He saw me through my studies at Unilorin (as we like to call my school). It was a challenging ride; the course wasn’t as I had thought. Yet God kept me and strengthened my arm. I didn’t come out with flying colours, but I came out alive and well. During those years I advanced in my understanding of the gospel , the knowledge of Christ and zeal for God’s kingdom. A vision was planted in my heart: a vision for the transformation of nations through the gospel. And it has kept growing since then.
I was posted to the southern state of Cross River for the national youth service scheme (NYSC), far from loved ones and far from relatives. But God was with me. I was involved in a motorcycle accident once, but I wasn’t badly hurt. And I did enjoy my stay in the state. I was alone but not lonely. Books were my daily companions. And being alone gave me much time to study, think, and reflect.
I got a job about 2 years after NYSC in the customer service field working for a health maintenance organization. And I have remained within this sector ever since. It has been a time of learning and growth, both from interactions with stakeholders, as well as the counsel and insights of others.
He is still leading me on in the knowledge of Christ and in a desire for the growth of God’s kingdom. As a writer and publisher, I am still working for the glory of God and the flourishing of his humans. Over the years, I have been exposed to a richer and more biblical theology, and I am growing in my understanding of how the Christian worldview shapes all of life. And I daily seek to make this known as widely as possible. Blessed with a wife and two lovely children, I am still dependent on his grace and help in the years ahead.
Have you counted your blessings?