There is a bullet in my leg, but there is nothing wrong with my leg.
Twenty years ago, on 26th December, 1993, I was cornered by armed-robbers on the way from Murtala Mohammed airport in Lagos. When I slammed into a lamppost trying to escape from them, I heard a “still, small voice” which said: “Femi, nothing is going to happen to you here.” Thereafter, I was shot in the leg. Nevertheless, the voice insisted: “There is nothing wrong with your leg.”
As my wife ran down the road screaming for help after the departure of the robbers, I calmly reassessed the situation, wondering what “nothing” meant. Although I was bleeding profusely from the bullet-wound, all I could see was the finger of God.
In spite of slamming into a lamppost at top speed, nobody in our car was hurt. We had no seat-belts on. Nevertheless, I did not even hit my chest on the steering-wheel. Five-year-old Femi-Kevin, sitting between my wife and me, could easily have been flung through the windscreen. But God, in his infinite mercy, did not allow that to happen.
I discovered that the lamppost, which I thought had scuttled my plans, had actually saved my life. My daredevil escape-plan was suicidal. The road was a descending flyover. Without the lamppost, I would have driven clean off the road headlong onto another road down below where cars were moving in the opposite direction. As it was, the lamppost was a lifesaver in that it broke the fall. God used this to show me that reliance on my ability could prove to be disastrous.
But the biggest imponderable of all had to do with the gunshot. The bullet pierced the body of our car and came out on the inside. Had it continued in its trajectory, it would have hit me in the stomach. Failing that, it would have hit little Femi-Kevin. But having come through the car-door, the bullet did something strange. It changed direction inexplicably and headed downwards, burying itself in my left leg below the knee.
God used a young lady belonging to Zoe Ministries to rescue us. She came with my wife in a taxi, and I was rushed to the nearby EKO hospital. On getting there, the nurses quickly wheeled me into an emergency-ward where the first order of the day was to have an x-ray on my broken leg. But I felt again a pressing need to reassure my wife. So I appealed to the nurses that I needed to talk to her. When she came, I said to her: “Karen, there is a bullet in my leg, but there is nothing wrong with my leg.” Suddenly, she burst out laughing. She laughed and laughed. I have thought about that laughter so many times since that day and have yet to understand it. Did she laugh because she thought I was crazy? Was she just relieved at the deliverance? She has not been able to explain it to me herself.
The x-ray revealed that the bullet had splintered a bone. The doctors said only after the fracture had been dealt with would they bother with the bullet since it was not life-threatening. Therefore, the wound was treated and my leg encased in a plaster-of-Paris and I had to walk with crutches.
In all, I spent five days in EKO Hospital. Those five days were remarkable because of uninvited visitors who came to see me while I was there. They were Christian evangelists who go from bed-to-bed in hospitals witnessing to the sick. In my five days at EKO Hospital, I became hostage to quite a number of these people. Under normal circumstances, I would not have given them the time of day. But stuck in ahospital bed, I was entirely at their mercy.
I noticed that, in the main, they were shabbily dressed. Most of them also spoke very bad English. (Such irrelevancies were important to me then.) Nevertheless, they all spoke with great conviction about things I did not learn in all my nine years of university education and ten years of working in a research institute. It was clear to me from their terms of reference that the one basic source of their knowledge was the bible. Therefore, once I left the hospital, I buried my nose in a bible, read it voraciously and it turned my world upside down.
I am fully convinced the Lord had been trying to get my attention for a long time before then, but I was not interested. However, in the middle of a life-threatening attack, my ears were finally opened. I say this now to the amusement of some, but with all seriousness. In order for me to really know the Lord, I had to be shot by armed-robbers.
Prayer became the new departure in my life. Once I started praying, the voice of the Lord that had comforted me during the armed-robbery attack returned. “Femi,” he said to me, “I allowed you to be shot because I wanted you to see yourself using crutches. You have been using crutches all your life. I decided to show it to you physically otherwise you would never know.”
Then he asked me: “Can a man walk properly with crutches?” I answered: “No.” He continued: “That is what you have been doing. You have been trusting in chariots and in horses. Now listen to me Femi, put down your crutches and walk.” “But my leg is broken,” I protested. “No,” he said, “there is nothing wrong with your leg. It is not about your leg. It is about your faith. I want you to walk by trusting in me, without using any crutches whatsoever.”
The more I thought about it, the more I realised that my “crutches” were actually my designer shoes. My crutches were precisely those things I thought gave me an edge. They were my pedigree; my educational background; my presumed intelligence and, at that time, my buoyant finances. But how could I comfortably drop such “crutches” and walk confidently without them?
I did drop my crutches, but I could not walk. I just hobbled about on one leg in my bedroom. But that did not matter to me anymore. Since the Lord said I was alright, I was convinced that I was healed. However, when I announced to my relatives and friends that Jesus had healed my leg, nobody believed me. Why would they believe when I was still using my crutches? With nobody prepared to validate my healing, I decided to go for an x-ray. My brother, Biodun, is a medical-doctor. He gave me a prescription which I took to an x-ray centre.
When I got the result, I was heartbroken. The x-ray showed the bone was still broken. Biodun rubbed salt in the wound by giving me calcium tablets to facilitate the healing. He said, in his professional opinion, my leg would take nothing less than another eight weeks to heal.
I saw him again exactly one week later. When his father-in-law asked after my broken leg, I affirmed it was healed in Jesus’ name, but complained that these doctors (including my brother especially) were trying to confuse me. Biodun laughed derisively at me. He said: “If you are so convinced you are healed, why don’t you have another x-ray?”
Later that day, I thought again about what he said. I was just learning then to discern the voice of God. I thought: “Why would Biodun tell me to have another x-ray when he does not even believe in divine healing?” I concluded it was not Biodun who was talking to me. It must have been the Lord talking through him. So I decided to have another x-ray that same day.
When I got to the x-ray centre, the attendant insisted I needed a doctor’s prescription. I told him if he checked his notebook he would discover I had been there the week before with a doctor’s note. “There was something wrong with that x-ray,” I insisted. “That is why I have returned.” After some reluctance, he told me to go and sit down. He would call me when it was my turn.
It took roughly forty-five minutes for me to be called for my x-ray. Those forty-five minutes were some of the most dramatic in my life. As soon as I sat down in the waiting-room, someone, an invisible person, started molding my broken leg. I was not imagining it: it was real. It went on non-stop for the entire duration of my wait. To use a tired cliché, it completely blew my mind.
Let me try to put this in some perspective. There I was, a man who had lived by my wits all my life. I did not believe in ghosts. For me, “seeing is believing.” And yet someone invisible was physically working on my broken leg. Moreover, he was doing so in a manner no human-being could have done; from the inside of the plaster. I sat there looking at the faces of the people in the waiting-room. I asked myself: “Do people really know this kind of thing is possible?”
After forty-five minutes, I was called in to do the x-ray. The result was a foregone conclusion. It fulfilled the prophecy spoken by the Lord to my wife through my own lips at the time of the armed-robbery attack: “There is a bullet in my leg; but there is nothing wrong with my leg.” Hallelujah!
Today, I have two x-ray momentos at home, readily available for inspection by all-comers. Both of them came from the same x-ray centre in Ayinde Giwa Street, Surulere, Lagos. Both are signed by the same man: O.O. Sanusi. These x-rays are dated only seven days apart. The one shows a broken bone in my left leg: the other shows a completely healed leg.
“Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done it! Shout, you lower parts of the earth; break forth into singing, you mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! For the LORD has redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel.” (Isaiah 44:23).