ave you clapped? One, two, three, go! "Gbam gbam gbada gbam!!!" Thrice. What do I mean by clap for Jesus? Recently I was behind the steering, heading to my godly town Aguluezechukwu in Aguata Local Government of Anambra State. There are four Agulus in Anambra State: Aguluezechukwu, Agulu-uzigbo, Agulu and Aguleri. The one with 'Chukwu' is number one while others follow. Ex-Governor Peter Obi comes from Agulu. The incumbent working Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, hails from Aguleri. The former Chairman of All Progressive Grand Alliance and the Senatorial candidate of APGA in Anambra Central, Chief Sir Victor Umeh, hails from Agulu-uzigbo. My humble self hails from Aguluezechukwu. After the tenure of Obiano, the next Governor will come from Agulu-uzigbo. After him the next will come from Aguluezechukwu to crown it all with authority direct from God. His tenure will last for twelve years. Then other towns will take their turns. This is a special revelation from above. Do not doubt it. Are you with me? May God give us life to see things as they unfold! God has the final say. Man proposes. God disposes. A certain husband and wife were quarreling over the name they would give to their unborn child in the womb. Eventually the child was born still. The couple became dumbfounded. So, do not quarrel over the revelation I made above before you become dumbfounded also. If you are deaf then you would be found dumb. Dumb plus found equal to dumbfounded. To be dumb and deaf at the same time is not a laughing matter.
I recall here again my encounter with a purported deaf and dumb beggar in Jos some years ago. He was begging for alms at the entrance of Jos Main Market, when it was not yet gutted by fire. As I was passing, 'the dumb and deaf man' asked me for alms as was written boldly on the sheet he was holding with his two hands: "I am deaf and dumb. Please help me!" I searched in my pocket for smaller currency but I couldn't find. I had only N1000 note with me. I couldn't afford to sacrifice the big sum. Inadvertently I asked the beggar if he had change. Accidently he answered loudly, "Yes!" Indeed this made me to be dumbfounded. I scolded him for claiming to be deaf and dumb just for money. Anyway I did not give him anything again. I asked him to go home and be useful to himself and the society. However, if really he was deaf and dumb, then I cured him by the grace of God. Let those concerned record this miracle in my file in case of my canonization post mortem.
Now let me go back to my topic: "Clap for Jesus." At the hilly road near Saint John's Catholic Church Agulu in Anaocha Local Government, I saw a lorry loaded with yams that broke down right on the hill. The conductor was struggling to put a wedge behind the back tyres so that the loaded lorry might not roll back to destruction. On the rear of the broken lorry was inscribed: CLAP FOR JESUS. The driver of the ill-fated lorry was sweating like a local pig as he struggled to ascertain the cause of the sudden breakdown. He was half-naked with a protruding belly as an evidence of good living as some would think. But for me it is an evidence of bad living. Kindly refer to my former article titled "Daddy is pregnant." As a man, are you pregnant or is your daddy pregnant? When will you or he give birth? That's by the way. I stopped my vehicle a little after crossing the broken lorry. I was in my white cassock. I came out and moved towards the ill-fated lorry. I jumped up and started clapping for Jesus. I was singing praises as I was clapping.
The driver of the broken lorry cast an angry look at me and uttered these words: "Who is this mad priest?" He drew closer to me and shouted, "Stop that clapping and singing. Have you not a human sympathy? I am in trouble and you are here clapping and singing. Can't you assist me physically or prayerfully in repairing this lorry? As a priest you should be merciful as Jesus Christ whom we serve is merciful." I stopped clapping. Then I asked the troubled driver, "My man, what is written on your lorry?" He was dumbfounded. I read it aloud by myself: CLAP FOR JESUS! He retorted, "It is not now. There is a time for clapping. How can a sensible person clap when someone is in trouble?" I put it to him saying, "Then you should write: CLAP FOR JESUS ONLY WHEN THE GOING IS GOOD."
This brings me to the crux of this article. Many people praise God only when things are favourable with them. But when the opposite is the case many turn their backs at God and seek for solutions elsewhere. A certain devout Christian asked God for money and he did not get it to him instantly. After waiting for a year, he turned to cultism and he became a millionaire in a twinkle of an eye after sacrificing his mother at the demonic altar. However the blood of his mother hunted him and strangled him to death after six months of flamboyant living.
Many Christians and non Christians solidly believe by thought and action that suffering is not their portion. As I was preaching on a Good Friday in the church few years ago, I began by shouting "Suffering is my portion!" Not even a single soul responded "Amen!" But when I exclaimed, "Suffering is not my portion", the foundation of the church edifice shook by the loud response of "Amen!!!" by the congregants. Next I asked them to make the Sign of the Cross. Everyone in the church did so. Then I arrived at the conclusion that once you make the Sign of the Cross, you have implicitly accepted that suffering is your portion. One woman among the congregation raised her hands and shouted, "Father, if it is so, I stop making the Sign of the Cross from today. I hereby renounce the ones I have made in the past." There was great murmuring and laughter in the church for over twenty minutes. I frowned at the noisy congregants and shouted, "If you do not keep quiet now, you will all suffer more than Job." Instantly, there was calm and tranquility everywhere.
Few years ago a coupled blessed with bouncing twins, a boy and a girl, approached me for befitting names for the twins. I cleared my throat and said, "The female twin should be named Joy while the male one is to be called Job (Joy-Job)." The couple shouted with disapproval saying, "God forbid! We can accept Joy but never Job." They left my office pouring curses on me. They maintain that Joy and Job are incompatible. Indeed in the face of the current adverse economic situation of our country Nigeria, I hereby recommend these two names CHAIN and CHANGE for any set of twins born within this period. In times of chain or change we should clap for Jesus. Human beings bring chain. It is only God who can bring us real change at His own time. So, let us continue to clap for Jesus Christ every day, whether good or bad. The Lord is good all the time. But a young widow who lost her lovely husband and two children in a ghastly motor accident says that the Lord is good some of the time and bad some of the time. I encouraged her to clap for Jesus in her time of mourning. In reaction she folded her hands backwards as a protest to God for snatching her husband and two children. She cried bitterly and complained, "How can I clap for Jesus for this tearful incidence? If I marry again and beget children, I shall then clap for Him."
Indeed no one wants to suffer. But I hammer it again that suffering is part and parcel of Christianity and the inhabitants of this sinful world. Suffering is inevitable since the unfortunate fall of man in the Book of Genesis chapter three. God did not mince words when he told the man that "Out of the sweat of your brows you shall eat" and to the woman He said, "You shall give birth in pains." Have you not sweated before eating, whether you are a man or a woman? Have you experienced the groans of an expectant woman as the child in her womb kicks it way out of the womb? Seeing is believing! Go to any maternity and listen. St Paul was not joking when he said, "If you do not work, do not eat" (2 Thess. 3:10). Jesus Christ our Master makes it imperative when he said, "If you wish to be my disciple, renounce yourself, take up your cross and follow me" (Lk. 9:23). Thus we should clap for Jesus in good times and in bad times. Clap for Jesus and slap for Satan!