Nigeria and China share the same independence anniversary on October 1. But while China is 60, this year, Nigeria is 49. In Nigeria the celebrations have been low key…perhaps not so in China. Why then have I titled this blog 49 years of greatness? Are we talking about the same country?
I offer words of comfort to everyone who has ever been left wondering – why was I created thus? Why am I the subject of so much ridicule, disdain and reproach? Why do I feel so despised though I know there is still so much good in me? Why do I have this conviction that greatness is my destiny – yet can only find evidence of decay, barrenness and corruption?
These were frequently the thoughts of David. Indeed when he showed up at the battle with his brothers’ lunch pack, his older brother yelled at him. I Samuel 17 What are you doing here! Why aren’t you minding your own business, tending that scrawny flock of sheep? I know what you’re up to. You’ve come down here to see the sights, hoping for a ringside seat at a bloody battle!”
David learnt to celebrate God and what God had etched in his soul and not what was evident. He wrote these words.
Psalm139 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
Psalm 139  Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.  How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
Of all the characters in the Bible, David was perhaps the most denied, humiliated, desperate and terrified…so much that we read in 1 Samuel 21  And the servants of Achish said unto him, Is not this David the king of the land? did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands?  And David laid up these words in his heart, and was sore afraid of Achish the king of Gath.  And he changed his behaviour before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and scrabbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down upon his beard.  Then said Achish unto his servants, Lo, ye see the man is mad: wherefore then have ye brought him to me?  Have I need of mad men, that ye have brought this fellow to play the mad man in my presence? shall this fellow come into my house?
But “mad” David was the one God called the man after His heart, the one whose life replicated so much the sacrifice of the coming Messiah and whose praises, songs and obsession with God earned perhaps (apart from Jesus Christ himself) the most celebrated and prestigious title in the annals of scripture – for Christ is called the son of David.
Join me in celebrating 49 years of greatness. Nigeria, I pray that everything that was absent from God’s plan, on that day – before the foundations of the earth when you were conceived, will soon fade away. I do say the same prayer for someone out there reading – you will yet be celebrated in Christ Jesus. Amen.
More on God’s perspective on contemporary issues can be found in my recently published book Wealth out of Ashes .