by Femi Aribisala
I’m in love and it’s out of control. It’s so overwhelming, I am lost but found.
I was a baby Christian, basking in newborn fellowship with the Lord. I woke up one morning to discover I was singing a new song. I had never sung it before; but it was clear I had been singing it in my sleep and continued now awake. How do you sing a song you never knew before? How come you know the words?
Elihu says God gives us songs in the night. (Job 35:10). I consulted a Pentecostal Hymnbook; checked the index and found the song: “When the Spirit of the Lord is Upon My Soul.” I opened the book and confirmed I had been singing it word-for-word: “When the Spirit of the Lord is upon my soul, I will dance like David danced.” “I will d-a-n-c-e; I will d-a-n-c-e.”
I was flabbergasted. So God teaches us songs we do not know and we just sing it word-for-word miraculously? I spent the entire morning singing the song; dancing all over the house. From the shower, to my dressing, to my breakfast: I sang; I hummed; I danced. I was a total nuisance.
Holy Ghost uproar
My wife and Femi-Kevin stared at me and looked at one another knowingly. It was Sunday morning, so we were going to church. At the time, our preferred church was some thirty minutes from our house. I continued singing in the car at the top of my lungs. I left no one in doubt that the Spirit of the Lord was indeed upon my soul.
When we got to the church, something strange happened. Little Femi-Kevin was the first to get out of the car and go in. What he saw was so amazing; he immediately rushed out to tell us. “Daddy, Daddy!” he shouted, his eyes big with excitement; a smile of incredulity on his lips. “They are singing the same song!”
We walked into the church to find it in something of a Holy Ghost uproar. People were jumping up and down. Some were clapping their hands with great fervour. Others had turned the church into a disco and were dancing aggressively. Everyone was singing the same song the Lord had just taught me: “When the Spirit of the Lord is upon my soul, I will dance like David danced.”
Call it a coincidence; call it what you will. It was a setup. The Lord had orchestrated everything just to confirm he is, indeed, the shepherd and bishop of my soul.
Love of my life
It was the saddest day of their lives. Jesus suddenly said he was going away. Peter wanted to go with him. But Jesus said “No. Not yet. Not now.” He said: “Actually, I have a better plan. Although I’m going away, I’m coming right back.”
Mary’s favourite place was down at his feet; taking in every word. She would not leave his side, not even for a minute. Jesus said: “Don’t worry Mary; I have a special way for you to enjoy me even more. I will be one with you. I will be in you and you in me.”
Thank you, Jesus. Thanks to you, God is one big secret locked deep in our heart.
How can I talk to men about you? How can I tell them how beautiful you are? How can I describe your loving-kindness? How can I explain the joy of your presence; the warmth of your embrace; the heart-skip that comes from hearing your voice?
I love you, and love you and love you; with every fibre of my being. I want everyone to know you are the love of my life.
It’s raining cats and dogs. It’s dark and eerie and noisy and windy. It’s pouring down; stoning the roof; whistling past the windows. But I am all safe and dry and home; tucked up in my warm and comfy bed. Surrounded by the sound and fury of pouring rain, I feel so nice; so protected; so secure. So it is to be in Christ.
I’m in love and it’s out of control. It’s so overwhelming, I am lost but found. I am lost in a love as mysterious as it is real. I don’t know where I end and where he begins.
Sometimes, I catch him looking through my eyes. Suddenly, I hear him speaking through my lips. Occasionally, I even listen to his heartbeat. He is pained and moody and subdued. But he’s always there, a jealous lover; reading my letters, rummaging through my thoughts, breathing down my neck.
I love him oh so much, and yet I want to break free. I love him dearly, yet I want my freedom back. He wants all of me but I want some of me. It’s never enough with him. If I read one chapter, he pleads and cajoles for two. Where has he been all my life? How come, all of a sudden, he is everything to me?
I sat down to spend some time with the one I love. That voice again: the one that speaks my peace. “Femi,” he said, “let me show you something.” I asked him what it was. He showed me a bright streak of sunlight shining on some leaves. It was breathtakingly beautiful.
Another time, he put on a live show; just for me. He told me to look out of the bay window in our living-room. There they were all these very tiny little birds. There were so many of them, all there in our small garden. They flew up and down; making a strange melody of chirping noises. Where, Daddy; where did they all come from?
He plays a game with me, this lover of my life. He wraps himself around me. It started with him just holding my legs. Then he would enclose me all over in some kind of warm blanket. He would say nothing at all and I would have to be completely still. If I moved, even a little, he would immediately withdraw.
Darling Jesus, why are you so sensitive? Why do I always seem to grieve your spirit?
A letter from God
I got the shock of my life. There was a letter addressed to me. When I saw the forwarding address, I could not believe it. God wrote me a letter. It was not typed but handwritten. He addressed me by name. He told me how much he loved me. Me? Imagine it. God loves me. He loves me. He loves me.
He invited me to a party. He wanted to know if I would come. I said of course I am coming. I would not miss it for the world. But what would I wear? I certainly cannot go in those old suits of mine.
So I spoke to him on the phone. He said not to worry. “I am making you a beautiful outfit. Just trust me. When the time comes, you’ll be dressed to the nines, just the way I want you to be.”
I can hardly wait. I wish the party were tonight. I am so excited, I can’t keep it in. Everyone knows I’m in love. It’s all I talk about.
This wonderful, wonderful, love of God.
Femi Aribisala is a scholar and international affairs expert. He is currently an iconoclastic church pastor in Lagos. He is also a syndicated essayist for a handful publications in Nigeria.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.