By Femi Aribisala
I met the Lord Jesus in the middle of an armed robbery attack. He said to me: “Femi, nothing is going to happen to you here.” But after he gave me this assurance, I was shot in the leg. Nevertheless, the Lord insisted: “Femi, there is nothing wrong with your leg.”
What do these counterfactual statements mean? Is God’s perspective divorced from reality? Is reality fundamentally a lie? Is an armed robbery attack something to man but nothing to God? Is a bullet injury something or nothing? For those interested in inheriting the kingdom of God, it is imperative to learn the language of God and to understand God’s peculiar definition of reality.
After God miraculously healed my leg, I then realised that since God knows the end from the beginning, he defines reality strictly by the ending of a situation and not by the beginning. Accordingly, “God calls the things which do not exist as though they do exist.” (Romans 4:17). He told Abraham: “I have made you a father of many nations” when Abraham did not even have a child. (Genesis 17:5).
Moreover, God brings to nothing things that exist. (1 Corinthians 1:28). Therefore, the bullet wound in my leg was brought to nothing. Today, I can confirm the truth of God’s word that nothing indeed happened to me during my armed robbery attack, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with my leg.
But I must confess that I am a slow learner, so don’t be like me. Because of the hardness of my heart, I failed to apply this foundational lesson to my subsequent experience when God enrolled me into the healing school of the Holy Spirit. It took me awhile to recognise that when God says someone is healed, he is healed; irresp-ective of the physical evidence.
The first sick person the Lord asked me to pray for was my sister-in-law’s mother. He said he would heal her if I laid hands on her and prayed for her. I visited her in hospital and did exactly that.
But two weeks after that prayer-session, she died.
I started wrestling with God. Why would you ask me to pray for someone and afterwards the person dies? What then is the point of the prayer? But the Lord offered no explanation.
Some weeks later, I got a visit from a delegation of the women’s group of Ikoyi Baptist Church, Ikoyi, Lagos. I had given a testimony in their church about my miraculous healing. They said one of their hus-bands, Chief Olagbaju, was seriously ill. They had been fasting and praying for him.
Suddenly, the Lord reminded them that I had been to their church to testify of his healing power. He told them if I prayed for Chief Olagbaju, he would heal him. When I asked the Lord, he confirmed that he had, indeed, sent them. So, I eagerly went with them to pray for him at home. After praying, the Lord confirmed to me that the man was healed.
But two weeks after that prayer-session, Chief Olagbaju also died.
I resolved to mind my business after that and to pray for no one again. But the Lord would have none of that. He asked me again to go and pray for the mother of Chibuzo Nwoke; a colleague of mine at work. She had a stroke and was in a coma.
This time, I decided to go with two accomplices so that, if the woman also died, I could not be held solely responsible. I was greatly encouraged during the prayer because immediately I touched the comatose wom-an, she moved. Therefore, I was convinced I had finally over-come my deadly anointing. Again, the Lord confirmed to me that he had healed the wo-man.
But two weeks after that prayer, Nwoke’s mother also died.
This plunged me into a big crisis of faith. It seemed I was being used to kill and not to heal. My wife did not help matters. She said jokingly: “Whatever happens, Femi, don’t pray for me.”
Wrestling with God
I was quietly minding my busi-ness at the house-fellowship of my church, when the Lord decided to provoke me again. My cousin, Tunji Bamgbose, told us the story of one Kehinde Ladipo, the Managing Director of Lisabi Mills, who was terribly sick with cancer. Then he said: “I think Femi should go and pray for him.”
I immediately recognised this to be another conspiracy of God. Like Jonah, I was determined that I would not go to Nineveh and be embarrassed yet again. (Jonah 1:1-3). However, mindful of being swallowed by a big fish, I reluctantly went to see Kehinde Ladipo.
I discovered he was not a baby-Christian like me. Although in considerable pain, he was strong in faith, trusting in God. When I told him my testimony, he needed no convincing. He knew Jesus heals. I prayed for him and went back home, con-vinced I had finally turned the corner.
But two weeks later; I was back again to square-one. His family sent for me. They said after that prayer-session, his condi-tion improved remarkably. But now, it had become so much worse. Could I come back and pray for him again?
By this time, I had reached the end of my rope. I told the Lord flat out: “I am not going.” So, he said to me: “Femi, don’t pray for him again. Just play a video-tape for him.” But what tape would one play for a man dying of cancer? The Lord chose a videotape by Jerry Savelle en-titled: “If Satan can’t steal your joy, he can’t keep your goods.”
After much soul-searching, I went back to see Kehinde Ladi-po. When I tried to play the tape, it stopped after only 10 minu-tes. Nevertheless, I gave him the gist of the message: “Don’t let Satan steal your joy.” Accord-ingly, for the next two hours, in concert with members of his family, I sang praises to God with Kehinde Ladipo. After-wards, I took my leave and went home.
Two weeks after that praise-session, Kehinde Ladipo died.
This time, I decided not to fight the Lord. I told him: “I don’t care anymore. I will pray for whoever you ask me to pray for. Kill them if you like, that is your busi-ness. My own business is to pray.”
When I reached that conclusion, the Lord suddenly asked me to sing a song. The song says: “I will enter his gates with thank-sgiving in my heart; I will enter his courts with praise; I will say this is the day that the Lord has made; I will rejoice for he has made me glad.”
Finally, I understood. Kehinde Ladipo was healed
Nevertheless, the Lord was tak-ing him home to heaven. He spoke to him through the song of the psalmist: “I want you to enter my gates with thanksgiv-ing in your heart. I want you to enter my courts with praise.” (Psalm 100:4).
True faith is never mediated by results. If God says someone is healed, he is healed. God’s word is truth. His word defines and establishes reality. There-fore, as believers, “we walk by faith, not by sight.” (II Corinth-ians 5:7)