By Babatunde Jose
God doesn’t work in minutes, hours and days; He works in seasons, says the Good Book. The refiner knows how long the ore must stay in the fire before he extracts the gold. The potter knows how long the clay must stay on the wheel to become a thing of value, beauty and usefulness. Man therefore must be patient and wait on the Lord for His Mercy and benevolence.
There is no doubt that we all struggle to get rich and comfortable in life. We all want the best of this world and the hereafter. However, riches and comfort are from Allah. It’s not the price for hard work, else, the proverbial labourer will be the richest man. Where the powerful toils and labour in vain, the lame and the infirm prosper. All are from Allah. The reward of patience, perseverance and prayer in this life cannot be overemphasised. Suffice to say that a man destined to make it in the morning of his life will get rich and comfortable, even if he were to be a woodcutter. We have seen people who pursue innocuous occupation getting rich and prosperous to the utter consternation of the perceived genius. If a man is destined to be rich in the afternoon of his life, no matter what he does in early part of his life, he will never make it. But come the afternoon of life, his star will blossom and he will shine. If he is a late bloomer, he will never make it until the later part of his life. It is the will of God. He gives whom he pleases and when he pleases. You can’t hurry the sunrise.
We will elucidate this theme with the story of one of the richest and most famous Nigerians that ever lived. Here was a man who did not complete his secondary school. He was from a poor parentage and had to sell wood to augment his school fees. He had no shoes and trekked miles to school. At the age of 16, our hero absconded from home to enlist in the British Army during the Second World War. Not knowing his whereabouts, he was presumed dead until he resurfaced after the war. He sought employment in a government department and later became a union leader. All these are not the building block of a rise to riches. Our man could not afford a flat and had to make do with a single room, in which he lived with a wife, brother, sister, cousin and three children. Then, Almighty Allah decided his time was up to shine. He went into petty trading which blossomed into an import and export trade. Inside 10 years, he had become the biggest cement importer and a major exporter of commodities and produce; with a seat on the London Commodity Exchange. Before you knew what was going on, he was living it big in one of the best houses in Ikoyi and London. In a spate of 25 years, he was touted as one of the richest men in the country. He died at the unripe age of 51. He was a patient man who waited on the Lord and God showered his Grace and benevolence on him.
We cannot say the same thing for many in our society today. The impatience of getting rich quick has driven many into making money rituals, embezzlement, grand larceny, outright robbery and other heinous crimes; including kidnapping and treasury looting. Today, our society is replete with people who cannot really disclose their source of livelihood; yet they are proud owners of the biggest jeeps and private jets. Wreckers of the economy, they have robbed the nation blind: Mostly people of doubtful pedigree, they are leaving a legacy of thievery and obnoxiousness for their offspring. Yet Allah said:
Verily Man is in loss, except as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy. (Quran 103:2-3)
Believers are called to put their trust in their Lord, and not to fall into despair or hopelessness. We must continue to do what Allah has called us to do: put our trust in Him, perform good deeds, and stand as witnesses for justice and truth.
Patience and perseverance are integral part of faith. Allah, stresses the importance of patience and perseverance in the following verses:
And be steadfast in patience; for verily Allah will not suffer the reward of the righteous to perish. (Quran 11:115)
Allah, the Exalted, knows that it is not easy to exercise patience and perseverance during hardship, therefore, He promised those who do it great rewards. However, patience and perseverance will be easy for those who are humble and conscious of Allah
Abu Ummah narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) stated that Allah said: “Son of Adam, if you show endurance and seek your reward from me in the first affliction, I shall be pleased with no lesser reward than Paradise for you.” (Tirmidhi Hadith 1758)
May Allah teach us how to wait on him; Amen.
Barka Juma’at and happy weekend.