HUMAN OF GOD (3)

​BY DOROTHY BUDU-ARTHUR 

Becky’s mouth was left ajar in shock when she heard me say that. But I knew that it was an honourable thing to do especially when I had the inclination that I didn’t know Mr. Simpson, and he had confirmed that it was rather to another Pastor whose name was similar to mine. 

I wanted to hold Becky; to explain to her why I did that. But she looked at me as though I was acting crazy. She sulked. She looked like she wanted to cry. I could imagine what was going through her mind.

“Call him back and tell him that we already opened the package. And that our son hasn’t had jollof in a long while… And that he’s already hoping to eat jollof rice that afternoon… And that we actually thought these items were God’s answers to our prayers!” Becky said sentimentally as Obed looked at her wondering why the excitement in his mum’s voice had receded.

Just then the vehicle which had brought the items returned to our compound again. It was hard to imagine that the man had returned to take back all the items.

*************

 “Sir!” the driver said as  he stepped out. “I am very sorry for the inconveniences caused. I had the wrong address. I was actually to deliver the items to a Pastor called Kelvin. But I heard the name from my boss rather as Kevin. And so when I got to the neighbourhood and asked about Pastor Kevin, I was directed to your home. Sorry about that.” He explained. 

“But Mr. Simpson says that it’s okay. And that even though he doesn’t know you, he would want to sow into your life because you are a man of God. And he deems it honourable that you actually called back to let him know that you weren’t sure the items were to you. So I returned not to take back the items. Rather, my boss asked that I bring to you again this other envelope containing some money.”

I was shocked to hear that. And so was Becky. We called Mr. Simpson again just to confirm because it was hard for us to believe. He explained that he had the inclination after I spoke to him to sow into my life with the items and the money. I was in awe: awe of what the Lord can do! It was a miracle for us.

 As we thanked the driver and then he left, Becky and I took the items into the house. We both couldn’t believe what the Lord had done. The packages had lots of food items which could last us for months. And the first envelop contained 500 Ghana Cedis whiles the one which as later brought in by the driver contained 3000 Ghana Cedis. In less than an hour the Lord blessed us with that lot through a total stranger. 

*************** 

Living as a man of God has been one full of miracles. Sometimes I am pushed to that point of despair where I wonder if God is really for me. Sometimes I struggle with the flesh and with lust. I have dry moments. Moments that I feel like there is nobody to talk to. 

There were times that things were so hard that my wife Becky would not let me have her. She gave the excuse that she doesn’t want to get pregnant since we won’t be able to take care of the children. There were times that I just want to talk to her, but Becky would be emotionally unavailable just because she couldn’t bear the struggle.  

There were times that I couldn’t feel God near. Yet with all these struggles I was expected to minister to my congregation, and to be there for them every time as their pastor. I understand that in the Old Testament the Lord promised to be the portion for the Levites. But sometimes it was hard to feel him close. 

A lot is expected from me as a pastor and as a man of God that most forget that I am also human.  Sometimes I wonder who would be praying for me. I wonder who would also give me counsel. I know you might say that the Holy Spirit is there for me, and that my wife Becky is there. But I could be just like any other human being, with struggles and shortcomings and having to deal with temptations. 

I actually have struggles too. Yet I am expected to be a father to everyone. To give a shoulder for someone to lean on, to give a listening ear; to pray for all my members. I am expected to  visit all my members. I am expected not to be angry or have any weaknesses. Lest my own church leaders and members start to call me names. 

Sometimes my own leaders are quick to talk about my flaws and my weaknesses. Yet I wonder how many of them pray for me that I’d become a better pastor. Sometimes some of them capitalise on my weaknesses, just to establish to the congregation that I can’t pastor them. Some of my congregants are quick to hold meetings in their homes and work places about me!  Not meetings however to even pray for me as their pastor or even pray for my family. But meetings to discuss me! Meetings to discuss the weaknesses of their Pastor!

I am ‘expected’ not to have struggles with sexual sin as a man of God! I’m expected to be able to deal with all the ladies in my church who come to me for counselling dressed skimpily; sometimes bringing out all their figure and showing their cleavages. I am expected not to complain! I am expected to act like ‘ I don’t see’! I am expected to ‘be in the Spirit’ at all times! All because I am a man of God!

And yes I try! I do try! I cry onto God every time to help me to honour him! But the struggle is real! And maybe greater, because for both my home and my congregation, I am the Head! I am the leader! I am the Shepherd. And as the scriptures say, “Strike the Shepherd, and the flock of the sheep will be scattered.”

 I guess I should be called Human of God! That way, my congregation would appreciate that I am also made of earth just like them. And just as when the shepherd is out in the field with his sheep they all deal with harsh weather conditions, thirst, and even have to deal with the scorching sun, so do I also sometimes experience those struggles that they also have. 

When they tell me, Pastor pray for us! I do pray for them. But I wonder how many pray for me, or for my family. I wonder how many would visit me, or even share a word of encouragement with me.  I wonder how many would want to water my life, just as I also water theirs.  

Maybe the church expects a man of God to be a ‘Superman’. Maybe the church isn’t praying for its pastors and shepherds and their families. No wonder many of my fellow Pastors are falling.  Maybe the church has forgotten that Pastors and shepherds are but humans who have responded to the call of God. 

Jesus was God in flesh, yet at the garden of Gethsemane as the hour of his betrayal was approaching, ‘He began to be grieved and greatly distressed. Then he said to his disciples, “STAY HERE AND STAY AWAKE AND KEEP WATCH WITH ME”.

And HE CAME TO THE DISCIPLES AND FOUND THEM SLEEPING, and he said, “SO YOU COULD NOT STAY AWAKE AND KEEP WATCH WITH ME? KEEP ACTIVELY WATCHING AND PRAYING THAT YOU MAY NOT COME INTO TEMPTATION!”


 Keep watch with your pastor! Keep praying with him! Water his life and his family! Encourage him!

THE END

Thanks for reading.  

By Dorothy Budu-Arthur 

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HUMAN OF GOD (2)

​BY DOROTHY BUDU-ARTHUR 

“Pastor! Pastor!” she said panting. “Pastor my father has suddenly fallen sick! Please come and pray for him! Please Pastor!” 

I felt alarmed. As I told her to keep calm, I rushed inside our house then to our bedroom. Becky was breastfeeding our 8 months old Ida. 

“Becky, one of the members is here. Her father isn’t feeling well. I’m going to pray with him, okay?” 

She was silent for a moment. Then she said, “If he isn’t well, isn’t the hospital the best place to send him?”

I miss how my Becky used to be. At first she would have said, “Oh Honey! Please go and minister to him! May God be with you and may he grant the man healing even as you pray for him. I will be bearing you up in prayers too!”

But today Becky just said, “I’ve heard. You can go!” And she had that look on. That usual look which seemed to say “I have regretted marrying a man of God!”

So I rushed out together with this church member. Doing the work of God was something I found fulfilling to do. And as we got there and saw the man lying in bed feeling weak, I was touched. I cried out to the Lord to breathe healing into the man. And even though he wasn’t healing instantly, I was full of faith that he would get well. I told the family that God had healed their father. And that before the new day dawns his healing would have fully manifested. 

*****

On my way back home after going to minister to this sick man, I marvelled at how God could instantly give me a leading and an assurance about this sick man. But when it came to my own needs as his servant, I felt like he always turned a deaf ear to me.  

“Father, please help me. Please help me!” I whispered as I walked back home. 

Drawing closer to the compound of our home, I saw a vehicle drive out. My wife Becky stood at the porch, together with Obed and Baby Ida. 

Becky was full of glee: something I hadn’t seen about her for many months. As I got closer to the porch, I saw lots of packages on display with a white envelop on top. I didn’t understand what was going on. Becky was full of excitement that she even failed to recognise my presence.  Where could all these items have come from?

“Daddy, Jesus has brought us gifts!” My 4 year old son said happily. He trusted God so much. And sometimes I would wish that I could trust the Lord that much just like a little child. 

“Obed… Jesus loves the little children…” my wife started the kids song as Obed also continued to sing , “All the children of the world! Black and yellow, red and white. They’re all precious in his sight! Jesus loves Baby Ida and Obed!” Well, that was how Becky had thought him to sing that song. 

 Becky strapped Baby Ida at her back then began to unpack the items.  

*****  

“Becky, where from these items?” I asked her.

“Honey… God has come to visit us.” 

Honey? 

Honey?  My wife hadn’t used any affectionate name for me in months. But she called me Honey there and then because of the packages that were before us! The items as she unwrapped contained bags of food items and clothes. I was still confused. And as Becky was just about to open the white envelop I withheld her then said, 

“Wait… Becky… What are all these? Where are all these items coming from?”

“Honey… we were just here and we heard the honking of a car horn. I came out with the kids and a young man in a car came out. Then he said his Boss, Mr. Simpson asked him to bring these items together with an envelope containing money to Pastor Kevin.”

Mr. Simpson? I didn’t know any Mr. Simpson. 

“Wait Becky… Mr. Simpson? Becky, I am not sure if I know any Mr. Simpson!” 

Her expression suddenly changed. 

“Mummy will you prepare Jollof for me today?” Obed softly said oblivious of what his mum and I were talking about. 

“Maybe it’s someone you’ve had to minister to in the past who is remembering you now.” Becky said trying to convince me. 

But I knew within my heart that I didn’t know anyone by that name. 

“Alright. There is a telephone number written at the back of the envelope. It must be this Mr. Simpson’s number. Call him then!” Becky said to me. 

As I called and spoke to this person who was Mr. Simpson, I got to realise that the items had been delivered to the wrong address.

“Don’t worry Sir. The items are intact! You can ask the driver to come back for them to take them to the rightful person.”

Becky’s mouth was left ajar in shock when she heard me say that. 

(TO BE CONTINUED) 

HUMAN OF GOD (1)

BY DOROTHY BUDU-ARTHUR

“Obed!  ” I heard my wife scream out again from the dining area. I wondered what our 4 year old son had done this time. But I dared not open my mouth to ask why. I wasn’t ready for her to vent her frustrations on me.

“Obed!” She shouted again as she went round looking for the little boy. And there my son was: hiding behind the couch. I could see him from the porch where I sat.

“Come over here!” She commanded as the little boy drew near to her.

“You know what you have done. So you’re hiding, right? Who asked you to eat the remaining Cerelac* in the container?”

“Mummy… Mummy Jesus said that I should eat it.” My son responded innocently.

“Jesus?” I could see the shock on her face. And I could understand why.

“Obed, didn’t Daddy say that we’re all fasting today? Why did you do this without telling me?”

“I told you that I am hungry and you said that we should pray. Then I saw the Cerelac and something said that I should eat it! Jesus said that I should eat it”

“Obed that was for Baby Ida. I told you not to touch it, and that it is for Baby Ida. Now what will Baby Ida eat when she wakes up?”

“Mummy, Daddy said that we are all fasting today. Why is Baby Ida not fasting too?”

“Go and ask Daddy why!” my wife told my little man who just got onto the couch in silence.

I sighed as I sat at the porch watching and listening through our netted window. I tried to find comfort from the words of Psalm 121 which says “I lift up my eyes to the hills- From where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” But those words meant nothing anymore as I was losing hold.

Throughout that week, my wife Becky and I had been ‘fasting’. No, our reason for the fast wasn’t because we actually wanted to wait on God. The reason was because we had no money and no food in the house. In as much as I wished that Becky would understand the situation, it was difficult for her to, partly because she was a nursing mother, and again because of our little son Obed.

My Becky was very sweet when I married her. But with all the challenges that have arisen because she married me, a man of God, she seems to be getting frustrated as the days go by. I know that my Becky anticipated that marrying a man fully dedicated to the work of God was not going to be smooth. But she probably didn’t anticipate that we would have to go without food at times and put it under the guise of ‘fasting’.

I sat there clueless; not knowing what to do. I wondered where help was going to come from. I wondered how my family was going to eat that day. Even though every time I want to scream out to God in prayer ‘God do something!’, I fear the whispers of the devil which tries to get my attention.

Usually, I would hear that voice saying, “What are you also doing? You’re the Pastor of the church. You are the head. Why not take some of the church’s money? Do you know how many of your colleague pastors who take out from Church money every time? How sure are you that even your stewards don’t put their hands in the church’s coffers? Your wife and your children are hungry! You won’t be the first or the last man of God to take from church’s coffers due to financial constraints!”
I battle with these thoughts every time. But I want to remain faithful to God.

As I still sat there, feeling hungry, and with the Bible in my hand, I saw one of the church members running towards our house.

“Pastor! Pastor!” she said panting. “Pastor my father has suddenly fallen sick! Please come and pray for him! Please Pastor!”

(TO BE CONTINUED)  

*Cerelac—A brand of infant cereal.