There is this urge in Man, the urge to satisfy a longing within us. Often, we want to satisfy this longing with something we can feel, touch and see. Even after seeing this thing, we want to know more about it, that we may be able to tell others about it and inform others about our knowledge of that which we have discovered, I believe it is the way “man was wired”.
The author of today (Wisdom 13) goes to reprimand (rather harshly) “those who are unaware of God.” He goes ahead on a tirade on how one will not know God exists after seeing the magnificent work of his hands.
He proceeds to berate those who worship the Creations (sun, moon, star, animals, plants, etc.) rather than the Creator (God) who makes all these, gives them ‘life‘ and puts them in existence.
From my point of view, I believe that it takes a whole lot more than the beauty in and of his creation to know God.
Yes, I experience the rising of the sun and its setting daily and admire the beauty in this wonderful phenomenon. Rather, I know God exists because I was born into Christianity and into the awareness of a being who directs the movement of the cosmos not merely by watching this phenomenon.
Now, it may seem as though, nature itself is enough proof that God exists but consider the following occurrences and let me know what you think;
- The He-goat (Billy Goat) gives off such a pungent odour while animals like the Beaver, Kakapo, Honey Bee, Crested auklet, etc. give off sweet smells, that can be likened to some foods we eat (https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/stories/14-animals-that-smell-like-snack-foods )
- The Moon gives light at night while the Sun lights up the day
- Some places experience Snow all year long while some others have Sunshine all year long
- One child is born completely without limbs, the other is born with an extra
There are so many other occurences, but these will be sufficient to establish my case; Is nature enough proof that God exists?
Now, to the untrained mind, he may not believe that nature is a proof that God exists as the things that happen in nature do not follow a regular pattern. How is it the same God that does all these myriad of things?
Well, since man is ever eager and ever longs to secure knowledge, if he is patient enough in searching and investigating, he will find God and become secure in the knowledge that greater than the creations is the Creator.
The goal is to keep searching until one finds God.
Another theme the first reading of today explores is; Idolatry.
What is Idolatry?
There are two definitions of Idolatry. The first is:
Idolatry is the worship of idols. An idol is an image or representation of a god used as an object of worship.
The Second is:
Idolatry is the extreme admiration, love, or reverence for something or someone.
I will focus on the second one.
I invite you to take a walk with me into your home. Now, empty your closet, wardrobe, cupboard, shelf, vanity, etc. Now, pick each item, one after the other.
On each item, do a self examination:
- what level of attachment do I have to this item?
- how often do I talk about or show off this item?
- If this item goes missing, does it affect my mood?
- can I step out of the house without this item?
- How do I react when people misuse or mishandle this item?
- At the thought of losing this item, how do I react?
- Does this item affect my relationship with God?
- If I had to choose between a moment with God and saving this item, which would I choose?
- Will I break a law or contravene a commandment for this ‘item’
- Will I question the existence of God if I lose this item?
- Will I walk out on God if I lose this item?
Now, we are done examining the items, take a walk with me into your relationships…
Ask the same question, replace ‘item’ with ‘person’. What did you discover? How many idols did you discover? While we may be Christians, we are guilty of idolatry in one form or another because of our attachment to certain things.
What are those things? Are you willing to walk with God in order to get rid of these idols?
I have had two “Idol experiences”.
The first experience was with was my first boyfriend. I called him “Adebukola mi”, “Ade mi” and other endearments. I loved him so much that even he admitted that the love I had for him was a big problem for me.
I was the one who did most of the calling; after all I loved him, I had made myself the Man in the relationship. I wasn’t submissive or practising submission, I wasn’t making demands of him, after all, I could take care of myself. I wanted him to “come home to me everyday”. I was still a teenager in University and shared an off-the-campus apartment with my cousin in Lambo Lambo, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, Nigeria. Even though I rarely ate food, I would make all sorts of dishes for him and because he loved to eat and told his friends; “none of your wives can cook as much as my wife”, I put in more effort. Was he paying for the food? No.
One day, I called him, his phone was switched off, I called severally with no response. Gory images infiltrated my mind; what if he was involved in an accident? What if he was shot? As the “what ifs” sped before my eyes, my eyes welled up in tears, I wept; “mo sun nkan bayiii, bo n tan ekun ni, mo sunkun, sunkun, oju gan lo’ohun o ran mi n se.” At the end of the day, baby boy arrived only to ask me; “why were you crying? what’s wrong with you sef?”
Long story short, after a while, I decided, I had had enough, all of these had to stop, I will end up offending myself and offending God if I do not cut off and end this relationship. I broke off the relationship and my guy kept wondering why I did it.
Was it easy discarding my idol? lol. In fact, I went back after some months, before I finally broke it off, when I started paying greater devotion to things of the Spirit.Tweet
In Nigeria, every graduate (from a higher institution of learning who had the Higher National Diploma or Bachelor’s degree) who completes their education before or at the age of thirty must serve the country in a simulated Military Corps exercise for one year. This scheme is called: the National Youth Service Corps and is popularly known as; NYSC.
During my Youth Service year, I met an amazing gentleman, let’s call him Adeife, Adeife literally means; “the Crown of Love”. This man taught me so many things that I know today. This man reformed me. He used to call to ask me what I will eat before I got to his house, he pampered and cherished me. One day, I told him, “why are you bothering yourself? I don’t even love you!” His response will change my view on relationships forever and assist me in building a better self-worth for myself. His response;
Believe you me, with time, he became so precious to me, I was enamored of him.
Even though I always acted carefree and opened a leeway for him to have girlfriends should he choose and never made a commitment to him, he had somehow managed to win my heart. While keeping my distance from him and making all the “shakara” for him, he had somehow managed to become the image of the living God. I could feel and learn more about God through him. He radicalized my way of thinking, my relationship with others and my ways of doing things.
Long story short, one day, I was performing a traditional facial treatment on one of my customers, when one of his men called to tell me he was dead.
In my mind, I was like; “wow, what a joke!” I opened his Facebook page and there, the condolence messages had poured in, I took my time to reply them and told them to cut the joke as he would not find it funny if he returned.
I was still at my place of work till 1a.m. when my mum called me to ask why I did not return home, I gave her the news, she was shocked.
Long story short, my sister asked me to check the news since he was quite an important figure. I did not have to type his full name into google search before my worst fear was confirmed. It was like I lost a whole part of me.
This single incidence shook the very existence of my being, challenged my thought processes and my faith. It was at this point I got to realize that this man had become an idol not just to the many who admired and adored him, but also to me; the shakaraful girlfriend. I remember uttering something like; “God, if this is true, I will never worship you again.” It was at this point that I knew that one could shed tears till they turned pale and their eyelids swell shut. Ah! I died! It was like someone had pressed a reset button on my life and erased nine years of my life with a single press on a button.
How do you think I got out of this second Idol experience?
First, I was introspective. For, no amount of counselling, condoling, consoling or empathizing can heal or break this kind of attachment. Like, I was reborn through my association with him! He gave me a new life and sort of erased my past, strenghtened my weaknesses and diminished my fears! So, I did this;
- Okay, what was this man to me?
- Simplest answer: He was the God I could see
- Okay, what are the characteristics of God
- Simplest answer: God is love
- What will God want for me?
- To know him, to love him, to serve him in this life and to be happy with him in the next
Well, this is similar to what my Adeife would have wanted, so I committed myself to just that.
I changed my Parish, to simulate ‘beginning life afresh’. I changed to a Parish where the focus was on this; To know him, to love him, to serve him in this life and to be happy with him in the next not that my other Parish was not but distractions at my new Parish is to a barest minimum of 1%, that was just what I needed; A place to be FULLyFILLED. I also joined the Ministry there; “The Board of Lectors” and I moved from being a gloomy young woman to the very radiant personality you will encounter if you meet me today.
SELF-EXAMINATION- THE SEARCH
What are you still doing with those idols? Do you have an experience you want to share? please reach me.
Free from idols, we will encounter and experience, a beautiful Jesus and be able to tell others about him.