Fr Pat Amobi ChukwumaWednesday, February 26, 2014
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othing in this world is permanent. The theory of temporality is the order of the day. I use myself as an example. I was very short as my age mates were growing tall. Hardly could I stay in the midst of others, because whenever I appeared, I would become the topic of discussion. In those days, my intention at prayer always was asking God to make me grow tall like my age mates. My height then deprived me of getting what was due to me. I was always regarded as a minor whenever seniority was in question. This dwarf condition caused me sleepless nights. I began to ask God some questions. But I got no immediate answer from Him. By then I was living with my grandmother at my ancestral home, when my siblings were enjoying life at Jos. I must get up around 2.00a.m to go to a distant farmland twice to carry home some quantity of harvested yams before going to school. On the other days, I must wake up early to fetch water from distant hilly stream. Why should I not be a dwarf?

As days passed by, heaven opened and God answered my prayer negatively and positively. Do you know what happened? I came back from school one day, when I was doing my class two in the secondary school. After taking my launch, I climbed a very huge pear tree in my compound. As I was perching from branch to branch like a monkey, the law of gravity struck me, and I fell like a log of wood from the height where I was. I was gravely injured and I lost consciousness as well. I spent about three months in the spirit-world as my body was lying on my sick-bed in a hospital at Jos. During these months, I was fed like the angels of God with different delicacies. In fact, I ate manna from Heaven.

When at last my injuries got healed and I regained consciousness, I also grew fat and tall, such that I was looking for accommodation. Maybe I lacked essential growing nutrients at home where hard-work, lack of sufficient sleep and starchy foods were the order of the day. I became a tall boy and very handsome, such that some girls were stretching their necks to catch glimpse of me as I passed along. After my recuperation, I went back home. My grandmother, friends, classmates, neighbors and well-wishers couldn't recognize me. I left home wounded, but came back healthy. I was rushed to the hospital with an old pick-up van, but I came home in a luxurious car. I left home dwarf, but came back tall and handsome. So is this earthly life. No condition is permanent.

My brothers and sisters, let us never despair in adverse conditions. Despair is the worst sin one can commit. Let us imbibe the "e go better" spirit of Nigerians wherever they are. The Bible says the bones shall rise again. I strongly believe that there is hope in hopelessness. If a black hen can give birth to white chickens, then there is hope in whatever adverse condition we see ourselves. The mother bug told her young ones to exercise patience because what is hot will cool down eventually. When Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was languishing in prison as a result of phantom coup leveled against him by General Sani Abacha as the Nigerian Head of State, the former wrote a letter from prison to the latter with the caption: "Remember, no condition is permanent." Eventually Abacha died mysteriously in power. The powers that be then released Obasanjo from prison. From being a prisoner he became a president. However, Obasanjo betrayed the God who rescued him from Abacha's gullet. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Obasanjo failed to act like Mandela of South Africa who rose from prison to become an exemplary Leader in Africa. Mandela served well for only one term of four years and handed over to younger generation. But Obasanjo ruled for two terms of eight years and was desperate to selfishly amend the Nigerian Constitution to serve for a third tenure. Nigerians refused and he left in ignominy. No condition is permanent. Today, Obasanjo is still having sleepless nights because his third term eluded him. He has written his name on the mud as far as good leadership is concerned. Many Nigerians as well as Africa leaders forget that no condition is permanent.

Prepare how you will live your old age when you are still young. I came across a young man insulting his biological father and calling him 'old man!' He forgets that the boy is the father of the man. We must all grow old. Few days ago, I was going through my old photo album. I saw the pictures I took as a student in secondary school. Also, I saw those I took as a newly ordained priest twenty years ago. I then glanced in the mirror. I noticed without any collaboration that Obi is now a man. I saw wrinkles all over my face. My face, which used to be handsome, is now looking ugly. I did not know when I shouted, "No condition is permanent!" My priest-neighbor rushed to my room when he heard the shout. He asked me, "Father, what is wrong?" I lied that I was reciting a hymn.

Boasting with worldly conditions does not last. If you are rich today, poverty can knock at your door tomorrow. Therefore, during the time of plenty, remember the poor, because they may be the ones to help you when things fall apart. Do you know that whenever I see a fowl feeding on human defecation, I rush to drive it away, because someone can come to thanksgiving on Sunday with that fowl. Hence, if things are auguring well for you today, remember that no condition is permanent.

If you are healthy now, do not laugh at the sick. The domestic-hen saw the bush-hen being roasted on fire and was laughing at her. The latter turned tearfully to the former and said, "Do not laugh at me. As it is with me today, so shall it be with you tomorrow." Good health is a gift from God, even though it should be maintained. Careless living is viewed with consternation. Sickness is no one's prerogative. He who is healthy today can fall sick tomorrow. It is therefore recommendable that we have time to visit the sick often and give them some succour. This is one of the corporal works of mercy: TO VISIT THE SICK. There was a well-to-do man who never visited nor consoled any sick person around him as his years of prosperity lingered. Eventually he suffered from a protracted sickness. Everybody abandoned him, including his wife and children. He died in regrets.

A woman with many children in a certain extended family was abusing a childless woman in that family, shouting at her: "You have never become pregnant for once, not to talk of giving birth. Never touch my children again! You fruitless tree!" The childless woman cried and cried. As years passed by, God opened her womb and gave her five sensible and God-fearing children, who later became prominent persons. The abusive woman and her own children ate from hand to mouth. Their conditions became so difficult that they begged for survival from the hands they abused. No condition is permanent. If you are alive today, you can die tomorrow. Have a sober reflection and thank your God for any good fortune.