By Babatunde Jose
It’s been a year of hardship and a year of tribulations; a year of suicides, a year of jumping into the Lagoon and for some, a year of hanging from the noose; a year of impoverishment and a year of grinding poverty; a year of darkness and a year of starvation: In all these, many of us still survived; many still had food on their tables and some found love and happiness; many were born, though many died. It has been a year of mixed blessings; which is the fundamental nature of life. The late Abibu Agba said: Ibi elekun’sunkun, ibe lalayo ‘nyo’. In everything however, as believers, we should give thanks to God, for, it has not been by our might, but by the benevolence of God. Of course, there are those who have had a year of plenty; plenitudes derived from thievery and corruption; which increasingly has become a national event in our ‘Olympics of Infamy’. These lots would not appreciate God, for they are forsaken and lost. They see life as being determined by their cleverness and wisdom; but, unfortunately for many of them God revealed their hollow shell and exposed the skeletons in their Ikoyi mansions, the Bureau de Change, the village ‘cash stores, the septic tank vaults and the real estate’s acquired with the stolen funds from our common patrimony. But, we who are steadfast in our faith in God are appreciative of the work of God. We remain thankful for His mercy, benevolence and faithfulness. We attest to the fact that He created all things and provisioned them.
Many things we take for granted; breathing in and out, sleeping at night and getting up in the morning as if it is by our might; lo, it is by the will of God. Our ability to remember what transpired last night or what we intend to do today is all made possible by the benevolence of God. Many are, who slept but never woke up, while many are who started the year with us but would not witness this Christmas. Many are dead, many are in sickness and many are in jail; while many others are in debt: We cannot afford not to appreciate God. He asked us to observe his creation, to appreciate Him.
The existence of matter, of motion, and of life, testifies that there is God. And the magnitude and magnificence of creation announce the same grand truth:
He said: “Our Lord is He Who gave to each (created) thing its form and nature, and further, gave (it) guidance. (Quran 20:50)
Most of the features of life are not by chance but reflect the deftness and planning of God. The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews indulged in no mere poetic rhapsody when he wrote, “Every house is built by someone: but He who built all things is God.” Hebrews 3:4 The Quran said:
Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth; in the alternation of the Night and the Day; in the sailing of the ships through the Ocean for the profit of mankind; in the rain which Allah sends down from the skies, and the life which He gives therewith to an earth that is dead; in the beasts of all kinds that He scatters through the earth; In the change of the winds, and the clouds which they trail like their slaves between the sky and the earth; (here) indeed are Signs for a people that are wise. (Quran 2:164)
We are confronted with phenomena, for which no explanation is adequate save that of an all-mighty, benevolent, and infinitely wise Creator. There are incalculable hosts of creatures, varying in size from gnats to elephants, each requiring its regular food, the total amount of which for a single day defies human computation if not the imagination. Those creatures are not set down in a dwelling-place where the table is bare, but where there is abundance for them all; nor are they furnished merely with a few necessities, but, instead, with a great variety of luxuries and dainties: The Lion and other wild cats are provisioned with antelopes, buffaloes, zebras, and all sorts.. From whence, proceed such ample and unfailing supplies? Only one answer satisfactorily meets the case: from the living God! “He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle and herb for the service of men: the earth is full of Thy riches. These all wait upon Thee, that Thou mayest give them meat in season. Thou openest Thy hand, they are filled with good” – Psalm 104:14
The continuous fertility of the earth after thousands of years of incessant productiveness can only be satisfactorily explained by attributing the same to its Maker. Arthur Pink.
The air we breathe performs many functions for the good of mankind. While it covers us without any conscious weight, the air reflects, and thereby increases the life-giving heat of the sun. The air does this for us much as our garments supply additional heat to our bodies. The air co-operates with our lungs, thereby ventilating the blood and refining the fluids of the body, stimulating the animal secretions, and regulating our natural warmth. We could live for months without the light of the sun or the glimmering of a star, but if deprived of air for a very few minutes we quickly faint and die. By the undulating motions of the air, all the diversities of sound are conducted to the ear, for if you were placed in a room from which all air had been withdrawn and a full orchestra (wearing artificial respirators) played at fortissimo, not a sound would you hear. James Harvey.
All of these: “. . . also cometh from the Lord! Isaiah 28:29. Yet we take everything that God has done for granted: Ingrates and vipers, we remain unthankful for the benevolence and mercy of Allah. Only the thieves and looters will not appreciate, but they will soon know what is at the end of the tunnel!
We thank God for witnessing the end of another year: May we witness many more in good health and be well provisioned.
Barka Juma’at and best wishes for a Merry Christmas.