“I knew I was dying but failed to accept it”
He walked into my office all tensed and looking very lost and confused. We were not friends. I didn’t even know his name but he had called me a few days earlier requesting to have a meeting with me. Jack (not his real name) was a member of a Christian fellowship that I belong to. I had seen him a couple of times and my impression of him was a very zealous and calm worshipper. Occasionally we exchanged pleasantry and that was all. I had not seen him for over 4 months but not that I had reason to look for him. We had no relationship of any sort.
I watched him as he made his way towards my table. Jack had become a ghost of his bubbling self. He had lost so much weight and had become darker in complexion. His gait was unbalanced as if limping. I offered him a seat and tried to figure why he wanted to see me. After a few pleasantries. He narrated his predicament of how his business was failing and how badly he needed help to raise capital to start a new business. I listened carefully to him and paid more attention to what he was not saying; his health. Jack was physically in a bad shape. His health was obviously deteriorating, yet he didn’t mention anything about it.
“How really are you?” I asked with concern. He responded that he was fine all he needed was money and that I should borrow him some for his new business. I didn’t have problem with that but something within me (I guess must be the Holy Spirit) kept pushing me to prod further. Prior to now, Jack was a complete stranger to me. Other than the few times we met at fellowship, I knew next to nothing about him. Well I didn’t relent, so I mentioned that he could trust me and that I would give him the money but I needed him to tell me about his health because he obviously didn’t look well. By this time he had become very silent and all he did was stared at the wall. I saw how difficult it was for him to control himself and for the first time in my life I watched a man broke down completely into tears.
Long story short, Jack had been suffering from an ailment that according to him defied medical solution. He had rashes allover his body (he actually showed them to me). Some of them had turned into sore and had dried cake of blood on them. He confessed that he had lost over 30kg in the last 4 months and was ashamed of walking around in public as people stared at him awkwardly. He explained that he had been treated by a nurse who ran a chemist near his house. I asked why he didn’t go to the hospital and have some tests done. I sensed that he was afraid of knowing what was wrong with him. He had his suspicion no doubt, but he would rather pretend all was well.
I had a long talk with him and shared the experience of one of my colleague who was living healthy with HIV. She was a very happy staff and no one knew her health status. I advised Jack to go and have a test done and afterwards we could continue our discussion.
Facing one’s fears is the first step to every victory in life. Many times we fail not because we didn’t know what to do, but simply because we are too afraid to try. Jack’s test came out positive and immediately I took him in as one of my mentees. With counselling and medical treatment, he was able to face his fears. He had since gone back to his previous business and is doing quite well having fully recovered from the symptoms. Today, is three years after this incident and Jack is living healthy with HIV. I will never forget the text message he sent to me at his first Christmas after that meeting that changed his life. It brought tears to my eyes. Part of the text read:
“… I had given up on my life even before I came to you, I knew I was dying but failed to accept it, God used you to bring hope to my life and now I can live again…”
Jack’s experience is just one example of the hopelessness that plague a man’s life in time of crisis. Often our cases are not as hopeless as our mind projects them. Imagine a little headache and the first thought is brain cancer. We often think the worst of ourselves thereby fuelling fear in our heart. We lie down to sleep at night and the fear is magnified a thousand fold. Depression sets in, followed closely by insomnia. Of course when you don’t sleep well, you fall sick. All of these are the lies of the devil playing tricks on our mind and we unfortunately let him get us and ultimately get away with it.
It is also important to note that this is not only about our health, it also affects the way we deal with our career, businesses and our academics. While I was in High School, I had problem understanding mathematics. It grew into a phobia and my mind told me I could never make it. I lived with that verdict all through the University and even when I started working I hated anything that had to do with calculation.
Often times we find ourselves in hopeless situation and feel that there is no way out. We give up too soon in our challenges forgetting that our lives are hid in the hands of our creator and the first step to every victory is not by turning our backs on the problem or by pretending as if it is not there. Our victory starts the day we face our fear.
Our victory begins when we look at the challenge on the face and tell ourselves we were made to overcome from the beginning.
Our victory comes when we understand that we are not alone in any of lives’ battles. Ours is just to fulfil all righteousness and turn the battle to our creator.
Our victory is delivered as we take that step of faith in confidence and boldness turning our backs on all the fears and lies that the enemy has plague our minds with.
Our Victory is delivered on the platform of knowledge. Nothing empowers like knowledge. Go for knowledge in the area of challenge. Keep going for more and more knowledge until you are fully armed.
So whatever battle or challenge that has confronted you today, like my friend, Jack do all you need to and then stand in faith. If you need counselling get one. If you need to see a doctor, please do. If you need medication or any form of therapy please get help. If you need to go back to school please go. Be honest with yourself and do all you should and all you can. Take responsibility for your life. Having done these, then stand in faith.
Stand in faith, for we only live by faith and also because faithful is our God who promised and who will also do that which He has promised. “For He (God) Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. (I will) not ,in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let (you) down… Hebrews 13:5 (Amplified Version). All He is saying every time in our challenging situation is “fear them not”, “Fear not”, “Be not afraid”.
Adenike Babajamu (July 2020)