by Femi Fani-Kayode
Love is beautiful but it can also ravage and destroy. It brings pleasure and it brings pain. It brings joy and it brings sorrow. It brings light and it brings darkness. It brings laughter and it brings tears. It brings peace and it brings turmoil. It brings tranquility and it brings turbulence. It brings serenity and it brings rage. It brings harmony and it brings fury. It brings construction and it brings destruction. It brings heaven and it brings hell. It brings loyalty and it brings betrayal.
It brings passivity and it brings aggression. It brings selflessness, kindness and generosity and it brings cruelty, sadism and masochism. It brings restraint and balance and it brings wild passions and extreme emotions. It brings attraction, adoration and adulation and it brings repugnance, rejection and hate. It brings the desire to cherish and to protect and it brings the urge to expose and to destroy. It brings the promise of a new dawn and it brings the testimony of a tragic sunset. It is indeed the greatest paradox that has existed since the beginning of time.
God IS love yet He created satan, the harbinger and apostle of hate, death and destruction. The songwriter wrote ”love hurts, love scars, love wounds”. Another wrote ”sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead”. How true this is.
How poignant and appropriate are these simple words from these two beautiful and celebrated songs. Yet at the same time that same love that can be so painful brings the sheer pleasure and blessing of lasting and cherished memories.
And the true test of love comes not when things are smooth and rosy but when challenges come and things go wrong. They say that when someone you love insists on leaving, however painful it may be, you must let that person go.
If that person is truly yours he or she shall eventually return but if they are not yours they will never come back. Whichever way, you win because you cannot lose what was never yours and what is yours will always come back to you.
Courage, patience, faith, strength, a gentle disposition, a firm resolve and a large application of the Balm of Gilead to wipe away the pain and heal your wounds is the key to survival and to weathering the storm of separation from a loved one. I know because I have been there. Apart from that, good old fashioned time has a way of healing broken hearts and wounded souls and of revealing the truth of every matter.
In the Book of Proverbs 30: 18-19, King Solomon said, “there are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and THE WAY OF A MAN WITH A MAIDEN”.
How profound, deep and wise this great King was. ”The way of a man with a maiden” is indeed one of the great mysteries under the sun. This is not only a spiritual truism but also a tried and tested home truth. The morale of the tale is that no force on earth or below the earth, no situation, no set of circumstances, no degree of alienation and hateful words and no misunderstanding can keep two people that are truly in love apart forever.
That is indeed the power of love. It cannot be hidden or supressed for long and it cannot be resisted no matter how hard we try or how often we are persuaded. It is indeed a beautiful thing. Yet as a dear friend of mine recently told me, despite it’s awesome power, ”love is pain”.
There is however a deeper truth and that truth is as follows. When the Lord establishes the reasons and creates the circumstances for you to move on from anyone that you were once close to or that you love and when He makes a way for a new beginning for you, never complain and never look back.
Don’t be like Lot’s wife lest you turn into a pillar of salt. Don’t be like the children of Israel that were led by Moses into the desert only for them to begin to yearn and crave for the ”onions and garlic of Egypt” where they had once been slaves.
Remember that Abraham could not prosper and find his calling until he was separated from LOT. God may well be doing a new thing in your life by throwing the garbage out and separating you from someone that you had once trusted and that you were once very close to, so grab that opportunity with both hands, move on, make new friends and enjoy the ride.
When two people that were once very close fall apart don’t be too eager to fix it or to come back together again simply because you may not be able to move to the next prophetic level of your life if you do.
God is in the business of removing stumbling blocks and the secret agents of the devil from the lives of His children so don’t complain when those you once loved begin to behave like water demons and dragons, begin to tell the most hideous lies and begin to manifest hatred towards you.
When that happens just hold your peace, smile, remain silent, have a little patience and wait and see their end.
There are some ”little foxes” that you just don’t need in your life when you are about to rise up so no matter how painful it is for two close people to go their separate ways the wise thing to do is to ”let go and let God”.
And when you do let go, be thankful for the moments you once had together and go forth in peace and with as little rancor and dissention as possible. For those that repay good with evil the bible says ”evil shall never leave their household”.
So don’t fight for yourself when you are wronged by ingrates and those you once helped, supported and assisted: instead let that powerful verse of scripture fight for you.
Always remember it and call it before God during your time of intercession and prayer by just saying the following words: ”those that have repaid my good with evil, evil shall never leave their household”. Stand on these powerful and precious words and have faith in the mystery and efficacy of the Holy Word of God knowing that scripture cannot be broken by any power in heaven, on earth or below the earth.
After that just hold your peace and no matter how long it takes, whether it is a few seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years or decades, wait and see what happens. Always remember that ”God works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform” and that vengeance is His. He will judge, He will reward and He will avenge.
Again remember Mr. Kayode Ola’s simple yet deeply profound words. He said, ”keep your head up. God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers”. No matter what you are going through, no matter who has hurt, cheated or betrayed you and no matter what your circumstances are learn to take the pain with dignity and to despise the shame, for it shall surely pass.
In order to escape rancor, betrayal and conflict try your best to avoid loud, vexatious, greedy and ungrateful people because no matter how much you do for them in their time of need they will never be satisfied. Worse still they will despise you for your generosity and compassion which they perceive as nothing but weakness and stupidity.
Helping such people is like conjuring up the Angel of Death, like invoking Abaddon, the spirit of destruction, and like trading with the grave: they can never be appeased or satisfied and they will always want more. Worst still the more you help them and the more you give, the more they will demand and the more they will hate you for it.
Finally always remember what Mr. Herbert Mensah, one of Ghana’s and indeed Africa’s brightest and best, once said: “never cry for someone who does not know the value of your tears”. This is wisdom.
Save your tears and sorrow only for those who love and appreciate you but never reject or treat with contempt those that genuinely care for you. This is because, generally speaking, human beings are fickle, unreliable and shallow and those that truly care are very few.
The truth is that we live in a harsh and cruel world and only God’s love is pure. Only He stays with us to the end no matter what we are going through. Only He is faithful. Only He loves us for what and who we are and not for what He can get out of us.
Permit me to enrich this contribution by sharing what I describe as the seven lessons for abundant life. The first is that without God there is nothing and with God there is everything. The second is that if you help ten people in life count yourself lucky if one returns to say thank you and count yourself lucky if only one of the ten betrays you.
The third is that you must trust no-one because it is those that are closest to you that will hurt you the most. The fourth is that you must never write off or despise anyone no matter how bad their situation because you don’t know what they may become tomorrow. The fifth is that you cannot afford not to help your friends and you cannot afford not to fight your enemies.
The sixth is that true knowledge and insight is gained not by the best secular education or even by life’s many experiences but rather it is gained by divine revelation.
The seventh and final lesson is that you must conquer your fears and no matter what you are going through: be positive, be happy and hold on to your faith in God knowing that He that created you is quietly working His purpose out for your life and He will never forsake or leave you either in this life or in the life to come.
Seven is the number of perfection so let me stop there but if you can hold on to these seven home truths you will go far in life and nothing will hold you down.
Permit me to conclude this contribution with the following counsel. In love, pain and the mystery of separation never forget that when your loved one fails you and decides to leave, as painful as it might be, the Holy Spirit and the Balm of Gilead is more than able to heal your wounds and make you whole again. You will live to love another with equal measure and that love will surely be returned because everyone has their very own life-partner waiting for them out there somewhere. It is just a matter of finding him or her.
If your lover or spouse chooses to leave never forget that if he or she is truly yours and if it is the will of God, one day, no matter how long it may take, you shall surely be together again because what is truly yours shall always return to you. If that doesn’t happen and it doesn’t work out that way just give God the glory and give your love to another because the one that left was clearly never yours in the first place.
If needs be just take the pain and move on. Yet if you ever find your true love and you are sure that it is God’s will for you to be together, never let go no matter what because if you do so you may never find it again. Despite all it’s complexities and pain love still remains the greatest gift that God ever gave to humanity. And nothing describes the essence of true love, or what is known in Pentecostal circles as ”agape love” (meaning the power to love even the unlovable), as the beautiful words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 1:13.
He said, ”If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love”.
Loving somebody in itself is a burden. To betray love is a curse. This is wisdom. Shalom.
Femi Fani-Kayode is a lawyer and former minister of aviation. He is a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), he was once a member of the All Progressive Congress (APC). He writes from Lagos.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.