10 years ago, I was 16 years old and in a very dark place. One of the darkest depths I have ever been. I was a depressed wreck. I had just finished secondary school and unfortunately for me, I did not pass the University Entrance Examination. I did not even score Up to the cut-off point.
For a kid like me, getting into the university at one sitting was a huge deal. I grew up literally in a University environment. My father was (still is) a lecturer at the University so we had accommodation in one of the streets at the staff quarters. The university community is quite large that the only thing it didn’t have was a proper market. There is a nursery, primary and secondary school which most members of staff enroll their kids for convenience. Also, the schools were somewhat prestigious in our locality. So outside of school you could see your friends in church, and other kinds of social gatherings within the community. News always traveled fast in the community with people prying into other people’s lives. More like what happens in villages except that this village has professors and academics of different strata as its indigenous persons.
For my family it was a bit different as we didn’t attend any of the popular churches on campus and my parents weren’t exactly socialites. I was one of those nerdy uninteresting kids in school. What I basically had was my books and a couple of not-so-popular friends. Getting into the university in one sitting meant everything to me.
In my era, to get into the university, one has to write a total of 3 compulsory exams: Senior School Certificate Exam (SSCE), Joint Admissions Matriculation Exam (JAMB) and the Post-Jamb (which is organized by universities themselves). One had to be successful in all three and for the JAMB and Post-JAMB the aim was to score high. We prepared seriously for the exams, some more serious than the others. Unfortunately for me at that time, I had my first teenage heartbreak. It still baffles me how I got a B in one of my Physics exams because I remember being so confused in the exam hall and was even crying…hahahaha.
To my dismay, I passed two of these exams but choked on the last phase: post-Jamb. I did not even score up to the University’s cut off point. I felt utterly defeated. Like I said earlier, news travels really fast in my community. When the admission list was published, I saw school mates whom I had thought myself smarter than get admitted. It really was a breaking point for me.
I became withdrawn. I was terrified of going outside the house because I did not want to get pitiful looks from my peers or have older people ask me whether I gained admission or not. I was in this state of mind and heart when tragedy struck.
I had always loved singing. So naturally I was in my church choir. I was 16 but quite committed to church.
I was committed to church basically and not necessarily to God.
In my failure church was what I had. I always enjoyed going for choir practices because it was a loving group where no one is judged. I was the youngest then and the only one not in the university.
In October 2010, we were preparing for a special Sunday service coupled with a number of rehearsals on Saturday. I remember vividly that on the proceeding Sunday, our pastor was about rounding off service when he said we should pray against the spirit of death. In my mind I thought, “that can’t be me. I’m whole and healthy”. So I prayed casually for my family, friends and extended relatives.
Two days later, I was back in church for rehearsals and midweek service in a healthy state. On Wednesday night of that week, I suddenly had a running nose and difficulty breathing. I couldn’t sleep properly. I really thought I was going to die. God willing, I woke up the next morning with a cold and slight fever. I went out with my mum to purchase drugs. By afternoon, blood was coming out from my ear. My pastor came to my house and prayed for me. It didn’t seem serious to me at that time. In fact, I could still make jokes and laugh though I lost my appetite.
On Friday, the 16th of October, 2010 at about 9am I started experiencing rigor. My mum had gone to work and my dad was about leaving for a trip when I started quaking for no reason. I was shivering so much from cold on the inside. A strange cold that extra clothes could not drive away. For the first time in my life I was given an IV saline infusion. I was so weak and sick but in my mind I was looking forward to Sunday. If anyone had told me what would ensue in the coming hours to come, I would not have believed it. I finished the IV fluids by evening and was ready to go home. Few minutes after I got home, my choir members came visiting.
They were scheduled for an all-night rehearsal at a venue close to my house. This was around 7:30pm. I was lying in bed when they came. I remember my sister calling me to go meet them at the sitting room. On getting there, I could recall sitting down and smiling at them. Then I became oblivious to the events that took place subsequently. I was told that I suddenly starting jerking and quaking like I was dying. My mum was in her room so she had no idea what was happening to me. My choir members started praying loudly. My sister, who was outside the house began wondering why the prayers was taking so long. She rushed in to the sight of my passing out. In the midst of chaos and confusion the IV access I had got torn away from my vein and I started bleeding. Then I passed out and stretched out like a dead person.
The family nurse who had been treating me came around and couldn’t get any pulse. My mum had to drive thirty minutes to a hospital with me stretched out on the front seat of her car, left hand on the steering and right hand on my body. This in itself is a miracle because my mother, though a strong woman, is definitely one to panic easily coupled with the fact that she doesn’t fancy driving at night but God gave her the courage that night. When we got to the hospital there was still no pulse. The hospital did not have an ICU or sophisticated equipment. I was just left lying on a stretcher. There was nothing more the attending physician could do but people were praying for me. Members of my church and the community at large who knew my family was interceding.
And just like that, I came back to life! I remember my waking moment. It seemed like I was so far away and distant. I could hear distant voices praying and singing. Then I woke up immediately. The next few days, I was terribly sick. I could not eat but I was alive. By Sunday I started confessing that I was healed and was discharged the next day.
In Medicine, this can be referred to as the Lazarus Syndrome. A mere coincidence? I don’t agree. Only God could have so mindfully channel an orchestrated disaster to end in such praise. What if my choir members had not come to visit? I would have been alone in my room and no one would have known I had passed till maybe the next morning. They would have assumed I was sleeping. What if we had an accident that night on our way to the hospital?
In the few days I spent at the hospital, a young boy my age, who had gotten admission into the university was rushed to the emergency room. He went to clear the path of the stream in his village. Unfortunately a tree branch fell on him and few hours after he was rushed in, he died. This could have been me but God saved me.
In those few days, I heard two different, totally unrelated people talk about how they sensed death in their spirits and how they prayed. One was the General Overseer of my church. The Monday after that Sunday I mentioned that my local (branch) pastor said we should pray against death, the G.O got to the HQ that day and asked the church workers present to pray with him against death. That he had a revelation where he saw a very young girl board a plane and he was asking her not to go but she turned away and left. A very close family friend told my mum that while he was praying on the Wednesday of that week he saw the fresh corpse of a very young girl.
Truly I was in a dark state. I really wished that what I considered shame in that season of my life would be taken away from me. I even thought subconsciously that death was better than sitting at home for a year. But my God who knew best did not let those thoughts come to reality.
I’m not yet where I want to be in my walk with God but its currently a progressive one. This one experience is something no one can take from me.
When I went back for check up, the doctors couldn’t explain what happened and why it happened. How can an ordinary running nose lead to the loss of one’s pulse? How can a running nose lead to a bleeding ear? He considered an eardrum rupture but on examination my eardrums were fine. And he advised I stopped cleaning my ears with objects which is something I don’t do. It was clear that he could not fathom the entire events.
The devil tried to mess with my mind and take my life but MERCY SAID NO.
Mercy Said No
I’m not going to let you go
I’m not going to let you slip away
You don’t have to be afraid
Mercy Said No
Sin will never take control
Life and death stood face to face
Darkness tried to steal my heart away
Thank You Jesus, Mercy said no.