I lost everything as a result of a last minute panic attack.
I obtained my doctorate from Oxford University, England. At Oxford, you had to belong to the university as well as one of its many colleges, and you had to pay fees to both institutions.
I was adamantly opposed to this system. As a doctoral student, I did practically nothing in my college. My professors and supervisors were not in my college. I did not live on college grounds. So why should I be required to pay college fees?
Sometimes, I was invited to “wine and cheese” parties at the college. But how much wine and cheese could I consume to justify my fees? So I paid my university fees but refused to pay my college fees. Instead, I put the money in a bank account. With every request, I told the college I was from a poor Third World country. Why should I be expected to pay double fees when the college had nothing to offer me?
This went on for an extended period of time while I remained adamant that paying fees to St. Catherine’s College was a rip-off. Then one day, I was ordered to see the Master of the College on the question of my outstanding fees.
When I got the summons, I panicked. “The Master of the College,” I exclaimed. I did not know my protest would get that far. I hurriedly wrote a cheque and paid the outstanding college fees.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered I was required to see the Master because a decision had been taken to waive my fees on compassionate grounds. I lost everything as a result of a last minute panic attack.
Jesus says: “He who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:22).
The date was June 11, 1994. There was a prayer-meeting in my house because we wanted to avert trouble the next day. The next day, June 12, was the anniversary of the annulment of perhaps the only election ever in the history of Nigeria that was free and fair.
Suddenly, Margaret Vogt came in. As I looked at her, the Lord said to me: “Femi, tell Margaret I am going to promote her.” I did. We gathered around her and prayed: “Father, thy will be done.”
A few weeks later, the Lord sent me back to Margaret with a very strange message. “Thus says the Lord, I said I will promote you. So why are you running around. Are you the one going to do it, or am I?”
It was as if I had poured ice-cold water on Margaret. “I thought I had to do something,” she responded with contrition. “So I went to see General Diya.” But God does not need our help in order to help us. A god that needs help is no God.
Soon afterwards, Margaret was invited to a conference by the International Peace Academy in New York. The Lord said to me: “Femi, buy her a ticket, she will pay you back the money. But tell her she is not going for a conference; she is going for a job.”
So I bought Margaret a ticket and she went to New York. A few days later, she phoned her husband and told him to give me the news. She had been offered a job by the Peace Academy. She spent the next several years there and has since transferred to the United Nations.
God says: “I am the Lord, that is my name; and my glory I will not give to another, nor my praise to graven images” (Isaiah 42:8).
The Good Samaritan
Buwa Nko-Tariah, was travelling from Port Harcourt to Lagos. He committed the trip into the hands of God. Nevertheless, armed robbers waylaid his bus on the way. They stripped all the passengers of their belongings and made a clean getaway. When he got to Lagos, Buwa complained to God: “I asked you to protect me, but you did not. I committed the trip into your hands, and yet we were attacked.”
Buwa said the Holy Spirit’s answer shut him up quickly. He said: “You asked me for protection to go from Port Harcourt to Lagos. Are you not in Lagos now?”
The message is as clear as crystal. God’s protection is not an insurance against attacks. It means, however, that attacks will ultimately amount to nothing. If it had not been for God, Buwa might have been killed on the way to Lagos.
“For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength’” (Isaiah 30:15).