A Letter from Nigeria

March 20, 2009

Dear friends,

Do you see Christ in the little blessings that happen in your life? This life has good, bad and even ugly things that happen to people including believers. Is there any hope or cause to praise God at all in a life like this? As the economy continually staggers, are there still some good things that we may praise our good Lord for?

Here in Nigeria, Mrs Abaan, a widow in her fifties who lives in abject poverty and is struggling to support her son's school training, has a reason to praise the Lord. Two Sundays back, we all went to church. As I was talking with someone, Mrs. Abaan came along and quietly handed a note, her hand trembling, then she slipped away.

After church, I read the note in which she struggled in her rough grammar to explain her plight to me. Her son is in college (one of the lowest tuition colleges); and she has been struggling to pay his tuition of about $380 every semester. The Lord has been blessing her goats, which have been multiplying, as her primary source of living by which she also manages to pay her son’s tuition.

But one night, while everyone was asleep, a wicked man came and stole all her goats, about 10, and she was left with only two small ones. Mrs. Abaan’s son was to resume in school, but she could not make the money needed for his tuition and overall needs. One week had passed and there was no hope. Mrs. Abaan broke down and wept.

On this very Sunday, she gave me the note. When I read it, I felt like my heart was pierced. I felt bad, because we are also struggling financially at this moment, and didn’t have much to help. I went home and told my wife about it. My wife told me we would give up our little comfort for her.

We took what we had, the equivalent of $270, drove to her house in the morning and gave it to her. She was overcome with joy and quickly fell on her knees, bursting into a powerful overflow of tears. But we quickly held her up. She told us that she was kneeling to Jesus, for she considered him to be standing in her presence given this amazing gift. That struck us in our hearts and we shed tears too. She was never resentful toward God, but had had a heart to appreciate the little blessing in the midst of her overwhelming predicament.

The next Sunday, we were in the church, and she asked for an opportunity to give testimony. I was nervous that she might mention our names. My fears came true. She did mention our names, and my wife and I felt quite embarrassed. She gave this testimony primarily to encourage everyone to keep trusting the Lord in all situations and that our unpleasant experiences should not lead us to question the love and presence of God with us.

Now, how do you see God’s love and presence in your life in those little blessings that happen to you, even as bad things also abound? Our lives depend solely on the promises of God as we walk the challenging life of faith in Christ:

The Psalmist says, “For the LORD will not forsake his people; he will not abandon his heritage” (Ps. 94:14 ESV). On the ground of this truth, Paul also admonishes the believer to: “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Rom. 12:12).

I hope this would encourage you.

Blessings, in Christ,  

Rev. Philip. Tachin, WTS Ph.D. candidate, leading The Reformed Outreach Initiative, Abuja, Nigeria