Read the previous episodes HERE
1st July, 2005
Chapter Twenty One
Dave burst into tears as he recalled what had transpired that day, five years ago. The first day of July, 2005.
His rebellion had reached an all-time high. He had been struggling with God for almost seven years then and it was weird being a non-believer in a family where everyone believed. Even the last child Divine, who was barely nine years old.
Then, a few months before, he had come across this group that promised answers to all questions about life. In fact, the group’s name was Answers. Dave joined thinking that finally, he would get meaning out of life. But, that was the turning point for him, a negative turning point. The group turned out to be a team of die-hard atheists. If Dave had doubts about God to begin with, being with the group cemented those doubts.
Dave’s parents were exasperated. They didn’t know what to do with his endless ‘foolish questions and genealogies’ as his father coined it and they were worried he would influence Divine who was still so young. Dave was exasperated too. He didn’t know how to reconcile his parent’s stubborn faith with what he had been reading and learning from ‘Answers.’ Daniella couldn’t be of much help. She had gotten married and moved to Accra. Even if she was around, she was one of them. The uncompromising Christians.
At that time, Dave felt he was intelligent and wise. His reputation at Answers grew… till one night. July 1st, 2005. His parents and his younger sister had gone out for a night vigil. Feeling bored, he had decided to take a stroll and he did just that.
Everything was going on well as Dave walked through the neighbourhood. As he decided to turn and walk back home, he came face to face with Gina, a member of Answers.
“Hello”, she greeted.
“Hi Gina. How are you?” Dave replied.
“I’m fine. How about you?”
“I’m good.” Dave replied unsure of what to do. He had never been one to converse with girls, except his sisters. Others were too much trouble.
“Where are you going?” Gina asked.
“Home.” David replied.
“Home?” she cocked an eyebrow.
“Yes. Home” Dave retorted. Did she think he was lying?
“Let’s go to the club.” Gina suggested.
“To do what?”
“Anything people do at the club”, Gina laughed. “Don’t tell me you’ve never been to a club before.”
“I didn’t take money as I left the house”, Dave avoided a direct reply.
“Don’t worry about money”, Gina smiled.
Dave looked up and squinted. He really didn’t want to go. He had talked about money because he wanted to dissuade her. Apparently, she was hell bent on going. “Well, what would it hurt?” He thought. “I’m bored at home anyway.” But, he had a gut feeling that something bad was about to happen.
“Well?” Gina interrupted his thoughts.
Dave shrug off the ‘feeling’. “Let’s go”, he replied.
At the club, Gina held Dave’s hand and wound her way through the crowd. They ended up in a side room, separated from the main hall with glass walls and a door. Dave did not want Gina to know that he had never been to club before. Yes, he didn’t believe in religion. But, he believed in morals. In fact, apart from a few drinks he had taken at parties in school, he wasn’t one to drink. Something told him Gina already knew his predicament. Watching her, Dave discovered she was a pro at this.
“One would never guess by looking at her”, Dave thought as he watched her gulp a glass of something strong. He had been sipping his for the past fifteen minutes and it was still half full.
Gina smiled and shook her head to the beat of the music.
“Don’t you want to dance?” She shouted so he could hear her.
“No!” Dave shouted above the music.
She smiled and scooted closer to him. Dave shifted uncomfortably.
“Come on. I know you are bored. I saw it in your eyes on the road”. She laid her hands on his knee.
“I don’t want to dance”, Dave replied and gently removed her hand from his knee.
“Okay”, she raised her hands in mock surrender. “Perhaps, you’d like to play a game then”. She gestured to the card table. Dave nodded. They took their drinks and moved towards the card table.
“One game. One drink.” Gina winked.
Dave said nothing.
After five games, Dave has gulped four shots of vodka. He was feeling tipsy. “I think I’ll stop now”, he held his hand to his head.
“Nonsense”, Gina replied. She had been drinking too. “We’ve only just started.”
“Don’t worry”, she continued. “I know just the thing.” Before Dave could blink, Gina pulled out something from her purse and added to their drink. The previously clear white drink fizzed out red and then, settled for a dull pink. Fascinated, Dave poured out a glass and drank. It was oddly soothing to his senses.
He felt himself relax. Gina took some more and laughed out loud.
They continued the game. Dave gulped two more shots. They laughed and talked while they played. Dave told her of his sister, Daniella. Gina told him of her overbearing father and her previous five boyfriends.
“Five?” Dave’s eyes almost popped out. Gina laughed aloud.
Suddenly, a hand grabbed Gina’s arm. “Come on baby, let’s dance.”
Dave looked up and saw a young man wearing only a singlet and a loosely fitted jean trouser with his sneakers holding a bottle in his other hand. He didn’t realize someone had walked into the side room.
“Leave me alone”, Gina pulled her arm.
“Come on”, he cooed. “Let’s dance.”
“Leave me alone. I don’t know you.” Gina struggled.
“Leave her alone”, Dave stood up.
“Who are you?” The young man retorted.
In answer, Dave walked up to Gina and removed the young man’s hand forcefully. He noticed he was staggering slightly.
The young man reacted violently and pushed Dave down. Then, he smashed the bottle in his hand against the wall. Gina screamed. Dave noticed she was bleeding. “The bottle must have hit her.” He thought wildly. He had no more time to think as the young man was coming towards him.
The young man pounced on him and wanted to poke him with the bottle. Dave held on to the young man’s hand for life.
“Hello!” He cried. But the music was too loud. From his side, he saw Gina fall to the floor, still bleeding. The young man was still on top of him with blood shot eyes.
In one swoop, Dave took hold of the bottle and rammed it into the boy’s side. He stood up and staggered towards Gina. Her eyes were dilating.
“What happ…” His words was cut short. Dave looked at the rest of the mini crowd and panicked. He took to his heels and ran.
14th August, 2010
“I ran Ebenezer”, Dave cried, “I ran.”
“I know son”, Ebenezer nodded and rubbed Dave’s head lovingly. “It was not your fault. You were young and you were still trying to find your way.”
“But, I killed someone. I’m a murderer.”
“He would have killed you”, Ebenezer whispered.
“How can you forgive me?” How can you love me like this?” the tears flowed unrestrained.
“Because I am Love, son.”
“And Gina.” Dave continued. “I should have helped her. I should have…”
“David, I’ve forgiven you,” Ebenezer interjected. “Forgive yourself”.
“Oh Ebenezer,” Dave cried and buried himself in Ebenezer’s shoulders. It didn’t matter how Ebenezer had gotten to the floor. It didn’t matter that that they were sitted on broken glass splinters, which surprisingly was not hurting Dave. All that mattered was that the God loved him. God loved him! He knew it now. Why had it taken him so long to understand? He had been searching in the wrong places for so long. All he needed to do was to just believe!
“Oh Ebenezer”, he cried and snuggled deeper. “Oh God, I believe. I believe Lord. Help my unbelief.”
“Oh son”, Ebenezer smiled as a tear dropped from His eyes and He gripped Dave tighter. “Call me Abba. Welcome home son.”
Dave had never known anything like that moment. The heavens seemed to come down in that instant. His heart was like a whirl of clear ocean water. He felt as though he was floating on a cloud. “I’m sorry for my wrongs Lord. Forgive my sins.”
“You are forgiven David. You are loved.”
David felt such peace as he had never known. It seemed he saw himself ages ago. Just like a baby. Bouncing on his mother’s knee with his elder sister playing nearby. Daniella. Baby Dave giggled and turned to face his father, Pastor Daniel and his younger sister, Divine. Then, he saw another face. Strange but familiar. Those eyes. Norma.
Then, he returned to the present. He had fallen asleep. On Abba’s knee. His tears had dried up on his face. Abba was still on the floor with him but surprisingly, there were no longer pieces of broken glass on the floor. He looked at Abba. Abba was staring down at him lovingly.
Dave smiled. “I love You, Abba.”
Abba laughed. A deep rich baritone. “I love you too David. You have no idea how long I’ve waited to hear you say that.”
A thought crossed Dave’s mind. “Are you going to leave me now?”
Abba tweaked his nose lovingly. “Have I not been telling you that I will never leave you nor forsake you?”
“Now, get up.” Abba said. “You’ve got to eat. The journey is far.”
Dave stood up and watched Abba do the same. Then, he asked. “Journey?”
“Yes”, Abba replied. “But for now, go and freshen up. You are a mess”, He winked.
Dave took one look at himself and laughed. Yes, he was a mess.
For the next two weeks, Dave stayed indoors as God revealed Himself to him. Dave pored through pages of Scripture like a hungry man. He studied and had God expound the scriptures bit by bit. He asked a lot of questions and received answers but he never asked what had happened in the police cell. He was taught the rudiments of prayer, faith and several Biblical subjects. God opened his eyes to his purpose and Dave was astounded.
“Why Lord? Why me?”
“Because you are chosen.”
One day after a study of the book of Titus, Father stood up from the dining table where they were. “You have eaten enough for now David. You need to go back.”
“What are you talking about? I’ve been reading the Bible since morning, not eating. And where am I going back to?”
“Back to My will.”
“Abba”, Dave began. “You are not leaving me, are you?” Don’t tell me this”, he gestured with his hands, “… is all over.”
“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Dave felt himself gliding backward away from Abba. “Abba, wait!” He cried.
“Do my will David”, Abba spoke gently.
Dave was gliding faster now. “Abba!” He cried. “Abba!!!”
He jolted and sat upright.
“Oh, thank you Jesus!”
Dave looked at the person that spoke. It was his cell mate. The one who was always reading his Bible. Dave looked around him. He was back in the cell. There were two new faces in addition to the old ones. He pinched himself just to be sure he was not dreaming.
He looked at his Christian cellmate again. “Good evening”.
“Good morning brother”, the young man smiled.
“What happened?” Dave asked.
“You’ve been unconscious for three days”.
“What?” Dave spluttered. “You must be joking. I’ve been out of here for three wee…” Dave paused.
“Out of where?” His cellmate prompted.
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you…” Dave scratched his head.
“What’s the last thing you remember?” His cellmate asked again.
Dave rubbed his jaw. A shave was long overdue. But, he had shaved at home. With Abba. “What’s the last thing I remember… before Abba?” He asked himself.
“The last thing I remember is…” Dave began slowly. “…Replacement 101”.
“Yes”. His cellmate concurred. “The officers brought you back fifteen minutes after you were escorted out. They said you fainted before they could do anything. They tried to resuscitate you. Nothing worked. But, you were breathing”.
“Hmm…” Dave breathed deeply. “Abba, where do I go from here?”
“You said?” His cellmate questioned.
Dave looked at him. He was a Christian. “What’s your name?” Dave asked.
“And you are a Christian, right? I’ve seen you read the Bible”. Dave continued.
“Yes, I am a born again child of God”, Lekan smiled. “How about you?”
Dave smiled broadly. A month ago, he would never have imagined it. But now, he could boldly say, “Yes, I am a Christian. Saved and washed in the blood of the Lamb”.
To be continued next week. Thanks for reading😍