On a cold rainy morning in June, a retired CEO of a blue-chip multinational company, drove down to a large popular supermarket in Lagos mainland, to shop for toiletries. He was about to step into the mall when he caught sight of a little boy loitering the terrace of the lofty building. The youngster appeared to be one of the many urchins living by their wits end on the streets of Lagos, for he was filthy looking and barefoot. The senior man was not prone to speaking to strangers nor spawns of wild children like this one, but there was something about this kid that aroused his paternal instinct, and he immediately beckoned to the youngster. The child came rushing to his side, with huge smouldering eyes, expecting a cash gift.
“What’s your name?” the elderly man asked the boy, as he appraised him. The boy’s skin was covered with sores and scabies, and ringworm on his head had sheared a quarter of his grimy hair.
“Akafs,” he squeaked as he avoided the probing eyes of the adult that dilated underneath the thick spectacles.
“Do you have parents? Are you living with them?”
“Yes sir, but them be very poor. Them live for Makoko, for the top of the water,” the boy babbled in Pidgin English.
“You for like go school? You for like stop to de walka for road?” the elderly man switched to pidgin English, in a bid to communicate with the kid.
“Yes sir, I for like go school, like my mates them de go,” the boy replied, nodding.
“You go carry me go show your Papa and Mama so that I go fit collect their gree to helpi you. Tomorrow, I go come this place wey we de so, so that we go fit go see your Papa and Mama,” the retired CEO promised.
“Oga, leaf my papa and mama for inside this yan. I no dey live with them. Eee don tay wey I take eye see them and them no send my side,” the urchin shrugged dismissively.
The retired CEO stretched out his right hand to Akafs and led him into his luxurious vehicle. Akafs had never been inside an air-conditioned car, and he shivered as he nestled into the back seat of the car and raised his head slightly above the door windows, as he peered at the familiar streets and vicinity that had been his home for the past one year. Everything about this strange old man was seemingly an omen of fortune, and he was sorely weary of living on the dangerous streets where he fought dogs for a sleeping space and was regularly beaten for theft and trespass.
Two years after Akafs resue from the streets of Lagos, the urchin is now a transformed fellow, unbelievably distinct from the former delinquent. Check out the attributes of his renovation – Akafs lives in a high brow area of Lagos, has a new surname that swings heads, attends one of the best private secondary schools in the City, speaks with a tinge of American drawl, and talks of vacations abroad. Mmmhh … tasty you would say. Thank God for him.
But then wahala locates Akafs by the third year of his transformation from poverty to wealth. His biological parents accidentally found him, and they complain to the Lagos State Police Command, alleging that the retired CEO, was involved in purchasing their long-lost son from child traffickers. After a series of protracted conciliatory meetings and under the threat of prosecuting the retired CEO, Akafs, against his wishes, is forcefully returned to Makoko, to resume a life of hardship.
Child of God, when you become born again, you automatically change families like Akafs. You become the ultimate King’s kid. Your eldest sibling is our Lord Jesus Christ. All things of God’s kingdom are yours; if only you will appropriate your faith to ask and receive them from your heavenly father. Often, satan, like Akaf’s myopic parents, will try to drag you back to the poverty (spiritual & natural) which you escaped from, when you became born again. The good news is that (unlike Akaf’s case), nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8: 35-39). When we miss the mark, it is often worthwhile to spend time reminding ourselves of who we are in Christ. Our salvation, though quite costly, is a gift, and not of works, lest any man boast (Ephesians 2: 9). When a Christian has lost reckoning of his identity in Christ, he is more likely to be defeated in battles ahead because of his or her spiritual timidity.