By Wale Adedayo
“My soul doth magnify the Lord, My Spirit praise His Name, For death could not hold Him captive, Even in the grave, Jesus is Lord!” – Pentecostal Christian song.
Pastor Bimbo Odukoya’s death, through last Saturday’s plane crash, shocked many, especially Christian brethren. A cynical friend at Jumlar Petrol Station, Ikorodu, Lagos on Monday sarcastically asked why she boarded a plane the Pastor should have known would crash. That is why the Yoruba would say, “May God not give room for critics to rejoice in our calamity”.
The Sosoliso Airline plane crash also claimed the lives of at least 70 youngsters and others, whose fate would have shocked many as well. And the questions that continue on as many lips as possible include, why did God allow this to happen? Why do so many innocent kids have to die? For some, despite prayers against disasters this month, it is as if God did not honour the requests of those who lost their loved ones.
The most interesting in all of these, for me, is the question on the lips of Christians: Why? Despite sermons and countless books about understanding how (not why) bad things happen, most Christians, naturally, still fall victim of despondency when such things happen. After all, John who baptised Jesus was also a victim (Matthew 10:2).
Unfortunately, almost throughout the history of the Church, tribulations have often been its life blood. This is mainly because we do not worship God because of the good things and protection offered to us. As with Daniel and his co-workers (Daniel 3:17 – 18), a Christian will remain one irrespective of what happens on this side of the divide with a firm conviction that God is sovereign.
The loved ones of righteous and worthy examples of true Christians occasionally experience such pains and anguish that many regret being who they are. On such occasions, individuals and groups that do not profess Christ, or even God, get their opportunity to display a crass ignorance of how the Almighty works.
Whether it was Abel (Genesis 4:8), Stephen (Acts 7:58 – 60) or those others, who faced untold tribulations (Hebrews 11:36 – 38), God’s people have a rich history of translations into glory that many do not understand. Even that of the Lord Jesus Christ was not different as Satan and his minions were initially jubilant when the Son of God was nailed to the cross. As the disciples scattered and the few valiant ones, especially the female brethren, wore long faces, the kingdom of darkness was happy it had been victorious.
The resurrection of our Lord on the third day of His crucifixion was the proof that later spurred the disciples into action about what the unsearchable ways of God were. Strengthened by the Holy Spirit, which was poured out without measure for the first time, the message of redemption that Satan and his admirers believed had perished with Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary gained a momentum never witnessed before in the history of man.
There is no doubt that Mrs Odukoya was one of the builders of modern Nigeria . Along with her husband, Pastor Taiwo Odukoya, their ministry has been redirecting the lives of millions of Nigerians back to the path of right living. In a country where the average person believes that might is right and nothing can ever work, this Christian couple, especially Bimbo, joined other oases in our parched land to ensure that the rot in our society does not continue.
Individuals are the components of any society. Along with each family in such a society, the future of the people is assured or doomed depending on the disposition of both groups to right living. Once these are compromised, that society is headed in the wrong direction with dire consequences for its well being. The Odukoyas ministry is to build lives based on right living, thus a nation destined for greatness. There is no better Christian service than this.
It is now time for those who have passed through the mills of the Fountain of Life Church, Ilupeju, Lagos, Nigeria to blossom and let loose a reign of righteous living in Nigeria. Fountain of Lifers should reach out into every nook and cranny of Nigeria with Christ’s message of redemption anchored on the need to change individual lives.
Irrespective of what the conscious and unconscious agents of darkness may say, Mrs Odukoya’s death should serve as a catalyst to spur those whose lives she has touched into action about the need to change our society. Who knows whose turn it will be tomorrow? We should be able to say with a heart full of thanks to God that we have done what He required us to do in our immediate environment before going home to join Him.
*This article was first published on Tuesday, 13 December, 2005 to honour the memory of a Christian soldier, Pastor (Mrs) Bimbo Odukoya, who was called home.