SUNDAY, APRIL 14, 2013.
THE JOY, PLEASURES OF GOD’S VISITATIONS
THE story about the widow of Nain is a tragic one. She lost her husband and then an only son. The funeral procession that accompanied her was a demonstration of solidarity and an attempt to reveal the gravity of the tragic loss.
It was in this pitiable state that Jesus met her and had compassion on her. ‘When the Lord saw her, His heart overflowed with compassion. “Don’t cry!” He said. Then He walked over to the coffin and touched it, and the bearers stopped. “Young man,” He said, “I tell you, get up.” (Lk. 7 v 13, 14)
God is always moved to visit His people in order to turn things around for good. In the Old Testament, we read how He visited His people in Egypt. With a mighty hand, He delivered them. He was determined to lead them to the land flowing with milk and honey.
Ordinarily, it looked impossible for the children of God to leave Egypt. Pharaoh made matters worse by his refusal to let them go. Despite many signs and wonders, which were performed including killing the first born in Egypt, yet, he pursued the Israelites before the eventual destruction of his people and their chariots at the Red Sea.
God will not allow the enemy to perform his enterprise against us, no matter how skilful and deadly the enemy might be. It is the lot of the believer to be delivered by God in all situations. We are confident of what the Bible tells us: ‘God visited His people, for He said, ‘I have seen the oppression of my people…’
It is a thing of joy for God to locate His people. He does this to ensure that they are not swallowed by problems of life. As a child of God, we are encouraged that the God of visitation will always be there for us, no matter how tempting the situation might be.
However, believers tend to feel that God is ‘Deus absconditus’, and so would not bother about what they are going through. But let it be stated that the character of God always is to have mercy and to demonstrate His involvement in human affairs. God will always be there for His people to wipe away their fears and remove any toga of shame from their shoulders.
Who did not know the case of Zechariah and Elizabeth? Though devout and walking before the Lord but they were childless. It was said of the couple that they were looking for the consolation of Israel. Thanks to God, the God of visitation came to them and gave them John the Baptist.
Zechariah could not help but praise God in a song that is often called the Benedictus. He prophesied the coming of a Saviour who would redeem his people and predicted that his son, John, would prepare the Messiah’s way. All the Old Testament prophecies were coming true. No wonder, Zechariah praised God! The Messiah would come in Zechariah’s lifetime, and his son had been chosen to pave the way.
This was God’s promise to Abraham to bless all peoples through him (see Gen. 12:3). It would be fulfilled through the Messiah, Abraham’s descendant. It is heart warming to note that God’s promise to believers never fails.
It is highly instructive that when God decides to visit any situation, we cannot but begin to sing and dance of His overwhelming presence. I know God will visit someone today. I know also that God will soon visit our nation, Nigeria. It is true that some of our prominent sons and daughters are gradually passing away from the movie industry to the political class, the literary circle, and even the religious circles. Yet, deep down in my heart, I believe that the God of visitation will visit us as a people and soon all these pains will pass away.
Therefore, we are not to be deterred, even by more persistent revelations that more prominent people will go down. Our confidence is that we have a God that is always available and who would soon take us out from the present quagmire of deaths.
If God can visit a widow who lost an only son, told her not to weep but also went ahead to restore the son, that same God is capable of visiting us in our different circumstances in life. Let us be rest assured that His visit to us today will turn things around for good.
Child of God, please do claim it by faith. Halleluiah!VEN. ERNEST ONUOHA Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Retreat Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.