He stepped onto the platform, briskly. Dressed in a beautiful long-sleeve sky blue shirt, a pair of black trousers and a shinning black shoe, he wore a smile – his label of friendliness. Simple, affable, humble, able, he is a blend of brevity, trim shape and smart looks; a debonair. Inside his wiry, willowy body are bones of steel. Meet Obed Akanya, founder of FatherHeart Music.
The audience gave him standing ovation. The compere handed him the microphone. It probably should have been a moody evening, but that probable moodiness was completely erased by Obed’s liveliness. After his prefatory remarks, he bestrode the stage, doing his thing.
March 6th, 2004. Ibom Hall, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. Nigeria. Amazing Grace Concert. Obed sang with grace and passion. I felt the energy in his songs. I enjoyed his music. But I just couldn’t shake off the grip of one song on my heart that beautiful evening. Yes, one song; just one song. And that grip has lasted till now…and will last forever. It was not the genre of the song. It was not his beautiful, baritone voice. It was the lyrics:
“Been around the mount and you’ve used all of your might
Still you are far from light, it’s okay
Try to beat the night and you seem not to get it right
I can hear your cry, it’s okay…
It’s no fantasy, makes you feel just a thrill, but it’s real
Yes He will stop the wind, see you sit on top of it
You will see better days…”
I have listened to this song many times. When the vicissitudes of life, like the billows of an angry sea, splatter vehemently on me; when the uncertainties of the future make me afraid; when the troubles I face leave me numb; when I wade through nights with no light in sight – I find hope in Obed’s song. It soothes my pain and erases my fears. It prunes my doubts and brews my faith – faith in my envisioned future. Challenges me to believe that whatever may come my way, a life far better than what I presently experience is possible. Without the shadow of a doubt I will see better days.
Now, let me speak to all you who identify with my trepidation. To you who feel that life has been unfair. You have endured pain. You want to smile but all you do is cry. In the stillness of the night, the tears trickle down…freely. The pain is unbearable; the shame intolerable. You gauge tomorrow by today, and judge the future by the past. Your conclusion is predicated on “realistic data” since in your hands are “undeniable facts.” From the patterns you have observed, there are reasons to believe your future is bleak. But I dare say that despite where you are now, or what you face today, your future is colourful. Three things underpin my conviction. Let me explain.
First is the change you see in the world. Our world has witnessed tremendous advancement over the years. Language, technology, transportation, sport, medicine, agriculture, etc, have all improved significantly. From the Stone Age to the industrial age and then to the present technological age, man has taken giant improvement leaps. And he dreams of leaping further: water will be used to power cars; people will live on the moon. If our world is changing, then it follows that your life, too, can experience positive change. To remain static in an ever-changing system is a misnomer.
Next is the change that you experience in your life. You may not be where you would love to be, but you are not where you used to be. Can you be realistic for a moment? If you would, then you know you have grown. Some old dress no longer fits. That’s change. You’ve moved houses, from a two-room apartment to, say, a two bedroom flat. That’s change. You left a paid employment; now you’re a business owner. That’s change. You were once unemployed; now you are working on a job. That’s change. You were single; now you are married. That’s change. Take your education for another example: from primary school to tertiary institution. That’s change. I could go on and on. The progress you have made in the past should convince you that you will make more progress in the future. Tomorrow can and will be better than today. You must believe this.
Last is God’s promise to give you a splendid future: “… I will make you better off than ever before… ” (Ezekiel 37:11); “Your future will be brighter by far than your past” (Proverbs 4:18); “Even though you’re not much right now, you’ll end up better than ever” (Job 8:7, Contemporary English Version).
Let me make four closing statements. First, God knows the events of your life. Second, God knows what to do with the events of your life. Third, God has the power and the resources to fix the events of your life. Fourth, God has a well laid-out plan; that plan is to give you abundant life, not a redundant life.
You will see better days!