By Femi Aribisala

One of the most dramatic things that ever happened to me is that I was attacked by armed robbers. In the middle of the attack, my ears were opened, and I heard God for the very first time. He promised me that the attack would amount to nothing.

However, immediately after He made me this promise, one of the robbers shot me in the leg. I then had the privilege of not only witnessing how God saved me from the robbers but also how He turned the bullet wound in my leg into nothing by dramatically healing me.

Thereby, I obtained a first-hand experience of the power of God. Like Job, I said to God after my ordeal: “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You.” (Job 42:5).

Indeed, the Lord made sure I knew He is my Salvation by speaking to me with a scripture: “Blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear.” (Matthew 13:16).   

Paradoxically, this blessing came from being shot by armed robbers. This shows God created sickness, so we can know that He is our healer. (John 9:3).

 But there was more.

While thanking God for delivering me from the robbers, He suddenly said to me out of the blue: “Femi, I allowed you to be shot because I wanted you to see yourself using crutches. You have been using crutches all your life. I decided to show it to you physically otherwise you would never know.” 

This opened another chapter in my spiritual education that I later found is contextualised in scripture: “Who gave Jacob for plunder, and Israel to the robbers? Was it not the Lord, He against whom we have sinned?” (Isaiah 42:24).

God says: “I wound, and I heal.” (Deuteronomy 32:39).

Blessing of suffering

There is good in suffering because there is God in suffering. We do not suffer alone. In all our affliction, God is afflicted. (Isaiah 63:9). God wounds us that we may experience the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings. (Philippians 3:10).

When we sin, God wounds us so that we may return to him in repentance and contrition. The psalmist says to God: “You turn man to destruction, and say, ‘Return, O children of men.’” (Psalm 90:1).

The angst of God here is fulsomely expressed in Amos:

“‘I sent among you a plague after the manner of Egypt; your young men I killed with a sword, along with your captive horses; I made the stench of your camps come up into your nostrils; yet you have not returned to Me,’ says the Lord. ‘I overthrew some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and you were like a firebrand plucked from the burning; yet you have not returned to Me,’ says the Lord. ‘Therefore, thus will I do to you, O Israel; because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel’” (Amos 4:10-12).

God will do anything to make us return to Him. He will even kill and destroy us if that is what it takes. Then, He will redeem our lives from destruction. (Psalm 103:4).

In 2020, God brought the Covid 19 pandemic. Millions of people we killed. Millions were healed, physically and spiritually. In 27 years of ministry before Covid, we never organised midnight prayers in my ministry. Since Covid, we have prayed every midnight without ceasing for over 2 years.

Hosea brings the lesson here to the fore:  

 “Come, and let us return to the Lord; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight.” (Hosea 6:1-2).

Jesus’ example

Hosea is obviously alluding here prophetically to Jesus, who God raised from the dead on the third day. The question then is this: “Did God hate Jesus?” Certainly not! Jesus, Himself, acknowledges that God loved Him before the foundation of the world. (John 17:24).

Nevertheless, “It pleased the Lord to bruise (Jesus); He has put Him to grief.” (Isaiah 53:10).

Therefore, if God did not hate Jesus by wounding Him, He does not hate us by wounding us:

“Though He causes grief, yet He will show compassion according to the multitude of His mercies. For He does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.” (Lamentation 3:32-33).

Indeed, the God who wounds us was Himself wounded for us. The judge of all passed the sentence meant for us on Himself: “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His wounds, we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5).

In Christ, God wounded Himself so that we would not have to suffer the pain we deserve. The pain we now suffer is just a fraction of the pain we deserve. The real pain is the travail of the soul and not the flesh. In the travail of the flesh, there is a comforter. In the travail of the soul, the comforter is absent.

That is what happened to Jesus on the cross when He cried out: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me.” (Matthew 27:46). It had never happened in eternity that the only begotten Son of God is separated from His Father, the Source of all life and well-being.

Therefore, we must bear our sufferings, saying like Jeremiah: “Woe is me for my hurt! My wound is severe. But I say, ‘Truly this is an infirmity, and I must bear it.’” (Jeremiah 10:19).

At the same time, we must continue to appeal to God for the healing of every pain, confident that once the purpose that is purpose is fulfilled, the good God will oblige. (Jeremiah 15:18-19).

This is the promise of God:

“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Healing wings

 The president imposed a draconian decree. Anyone who breaks the law will be sentenced to death. The people thought He was too harsh. How can He pronounce a death sentence as the penalty for every legal infraction?

So, they decided to teach Him a lesson. The president had only one child; a son. They falsely accused Him of breaking the law and brought false witnesses who testified to His guilt. He was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death.

Everyone knew the president would not allow His son to be killed. The decree would have to be repealed and annulled.

But on a set date, the president’s son was brought before a firing squad and shot to death. Thereafter, the president made a national broadcast on television saying: “Anybody who breaks the law will be killed.”

Everyone now became convinced He was serious. And then He said:

“But to you who fear My name, the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings.” (Malachi 4:2).

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