Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
My oldest brother, Bayo, left Nigeria without telling anyone where he was going. Thereafter, he communicated with no one, so we did not know his whereabouts. When our biological parents died one after the other, we had no way of reaching him. His safety became a matter of great concern.
A wasted trip
Some six years later, we got word that he was sighted in Gambia. I had to attend the funeral of a church-member in Sierra Leone, so I decided to take the opportunity to go to Gambia to see if I could find him. The person who told us about him gave us the address of a street-corner shop in Serrekunda, Gambia. It was not difficult to find and I was directed to a barbershop where I met a Nigerian.
He told me my brother had been living with him for years. But several months prior to my arrival, he left Serrekunda for a place called Basse. I thought Gambia was a small country, but he assured me that Basse was nine hours from Serrekunda by road. I told him that since I had come all the way from Nigeria, I would have no choice but to go and see him there. But the man said that would not be possible. My brother left no forwarding address. “So where would you look?” he asked.
I concluded that my trip to Gambia was in vain. I checked into a hotel and told the Lord: “It looks like you brought me to Gambia just so I can spend a quiet time with you.”
Learning at God’s feet
But the next day, the Lord woke me up early in the morning. Out of the blue, he said: “Femi, let me tell you about the kingdom of God.” And so he continued a long-standing lesson on the dynamics of the kingdom of God.
I was an intellectual who came to believe in God as a result of a miracle healing from gunshot wounds. As a result, I was afraid that one day my intellect would confound my faith. One of those things I questioned was Jesus’ statement to his disciples that many of them would not die until they saw the kingdom of God. But, I thought, all his disciples are dead, and yet the kingdom of God has still not arrived.
So that morning in the Gambia, the Lord brought up this little question of my fears. He said: “Femi, you have been asking who among my disciples did not die until he saw the coming of the kingdom of God? Let me answer your question now. Those who were alive after my death and resurrection, and who became born again at, or after, the Pentecost, saw the kingdom of God in their lifetime. Look at what I said to Nicodemus: ‘Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ The disciples were born again, so they saw the kingdom of God.
What I want to do this morning is to show you the kingdom of God, since you also are born again.”
Miracle of miracles
And so the Lord said to me: “Femi, let me show you the kingdom of God.” And just then, the telephone in my hotel room rang. The Lord said: “Answer the phone.” When I picked up the phone, the concierge said: “Dr. Aribisala, your brother would like to talk to you.” I asked incredulously: “My brother? Where is he speaking from?” The man replied: “He is right here in the lobby.” I told him: “I am coming right down.”
I put down the phone and could not believe my eyes. What just happened here? I saw it, as clear as daylight. The Lord had supernaturally moved my brother all the way from Basse, nine hours away to come down to Serrekunda to meet me. Bayo never knew I was coming. As I said, I had not heard from him in over six years. He had simply decided to come down to Serrekunda to see his friends. Little did he know that that decision was part of the Lord’s plan to bring him to Serrekunda to meet me. When he got to the barber shop, the gentleman I had spoken to the night before quickly informed him that I had come to Gambia to see him. And he gave him my hotel address.
There was nothing I could do but keep my brother waiting in the lobby, while I went down on my knees in my room and worshipped the Lord.
Jesus says: “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind” (John 9:39).