Remember your Creator in the days of your youth….
A cult following is a nice way of saying very few people like you. ~ Martin Mull
My dad was a senior customs officer as far back as 1994. Then, I was almost turning to a wayward first son, and I could feel the pain in his heart when he actually almost wanted to give up on me one day, but at the same time I could feel his love that he would not. I had access to his gun, and this seemed like a chance to be a bad guy on the street. And, I had lots of bad friends then; the inner drive I had was kind of insane – I wanted to “show off power.” Besides, I didn’t just have the desire to join a cult, but rather to pioneer one by the time I might have got admitted into the university. This inordinate desire was burning in me, but God’s plan for me was far different from this.
Unfortunately, in 1994, I missed my admission into Federal University of Technology, Owerri, because I could not attain the cutoff mark required to read Computer Science in the institution. I felt my whole world was finished when all my friends, the guys I used to hang out with, obtained a provisional admission into their chosen higher institutions of learning. With an utter sense of frustration, I felt lonely sitting back at home with no friend to spend time with. They had all moved to a higher level while I was still at the rear in the academic journey of life. My hope was dashed! So, dear reader, my experience actually corresponds with the word in Proverbs 16:9 – “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.”
I could remember very well an encounter I had with one of my Hard Boiled Friends, Okechukwu Onyekazi who was also a tough guy among my friends. He got admission into University of Nigeria, Nsukka. We all knew he was a gangster before he left for school, he came back during the holidays as a totally changed person – he had become transformed by God.
He came to my house and we both went out into the street for some fun, and I thought it was going to be the usual business – drinking alcohols and causing trouble in the neighborhood. And lo, I was shocked by what I saw! For the first time, I had someone who could look at me in the eyes and actually told me how much God loves me. That very day, I was so broken in my spirit that I couldn’t hold back my tears. I was convicted by the Holy Spirit to see what I had been missing over the years – a life without Jesus Christ. And, such a life is vanity. Don’t get me wrong, I was born into a christian family, I was going to church, serving a God I knew nothing about except He is God.
That was how I gave my life to Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. From that day, things began to work well with me. To begin with, that same year, I got admitted into same school to study Project Management, and as a changed person, I was evangelizing the Gospel of Christ. I was a member of NIFES (Nigerian Fellowship of Evangelical Students, FUTO Chapter).
While pursuing my academic goal, I had a problem with one of my old friends nicknamed Ghetto Bastard. He made many attempts on getting me to join his fraternity. I did not run away from him. I didn’t even hesitate to offer help to him each time he was in need – I gave him clothes and food. Most importantly, time after time, I invited him to fellowship with us at NIFES.
One day, I came back to my room after lecture hours, and to my utmost surprise, I found out that all my items have been stolen; nothing was left for me. I knew it was a plot by some of the fraternity members to oppress me and make me feel like seeking help so I could join them. Instead of turning to them for help, I went to the then NIFES President, Brother Steve Orji, who came to my room to pray down fire. I will never forget that wonderful experience. He also encouraged me to keep up my good spirit of faith and trust in the Lord without going back. See, my dear reader, many a times, your faith will be tested by challenges of life. It doesn’t mean God has abandoned you, but rather he wants to promote you to the next level. Nevertheless, you have to pass the test before you can be promoted. Remember, Job was tested too.
In the same year, there was a great clash among different cults, and many undergraduates lost their lives, including some of my friends. I could remember a poor widow’s only son who was in his final year of study, the young man died in the clash. Then, I realized the magnitude of the great peril from which God has saved me. If I had walked the wrong path, I might not be alive today to see or witness the goodness of the Lord in my life.
Today, many of us are walking on the wrong path. It is not too late to turn around now. God is still God – waiting patiently for you so He could bestow His goodness on your life. All it takes is for you to make a decision to totally surrender to Him today. You might not be in a cult, you might not be a gangster, but within you, you know things are not right between you and God. Yet, He loves you so dearly. No matter what you have been through, always bear this in mind that it could have been worse than that if God was not in control of your ordeals.
Maybe you’ve lost your job. Since you still have life, there is hope for you. You might have lost your marriage, your kids, your investment, and/or your happiness, but you can still breathe. So there is hope for you! No matter what you have lost, there is nothing God cannot replenish. He might not give you back the exact thing you have lost, He has however promised to “restore” all. And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before (Job 42:10). God will restore unto you at least a double fold of whatever the devil has stolen from you in Jesus name!!! Amen.
Let me reiterate this fact: the only way you can be happy as a youth is to “remember your Creator,” live for Him alone, and enjoy the fullness of His love.