Our God is supreme, sovereign, and eternal, transcending space, time, and even eternity. He is the Father of Light who dwells in unapproachable light. I have been reflecting on this Awesome God and contemplating what He ordains for His own eternal purpose. It seems to me God is not bound to accede to all of our desires. And as Witness Lee declared, “God’s intention is nothing other than to work Himself into man”.
2.0 Now, our beloved brother, friend, father, mentor, pastor, and a reverend gentleman, Rev Wilson Badejo, had departed bidding none a formal farewell. And at Otta town. You may wonder, why not elsewhere such as in Jerusalem or on the Isle of Patmos; or in his sleep like Florence Nightingale; on his knees while praying like David Livingstone; or behind the pulpit like John Wycliffe, doing what he excelled in most and loved to do most?
3.0 If one can read the mind of many. It will reveal disappointment and deflation, as because of the natural and spiritual resourcefulness of Dr. Badejo, the expectations will be that he stays for at least 15 more years to impart more on the Christian milieu. But it seems God in His wisdom and divine foresight, drew Dr. Badejo to Himself at 21, to enable him an extensive span of 53 years in Him! What a rare privilege!
4.0 I’m nearly his age, but then came to be in Him 14 years after Dr. Badejo. In fact, my very first house fellowship centre was his house as we were neighbors then and his amiable wife, Rev. Mrs. Yinka Badejo our Centre teacher. I knew him at close quarters in the eighties onwards and I saw an unassuming exemplary model. Among what affected me most was the heaviness of his consecutive “In The Name Of Jesus” when praying.
5.0 Usually life is not about longevity. If it is about that then people should aspire more towards Methuselah who lived 969 years in his generation than to Jesus who lived 33 and half years.
St. John of the Cross (John Yepes) declared the last words “into your hands I commit my spirit” at 49. When his body was exhumed about 200 years after his death, it was as it was on the day he was buried, no decay, no corruption- a foretaste of immortality.
Jacob Boehme, who Claude de St. Martin, a Christian philosopher, in his opinion, declared the greatest light to appear on this Earth, second only to Him who was Light Himself, made the last-minute statement, “Now I shall enter the paradise” just at 49, even foretold his departure 3 days in advance.
6.0 My beloved brethren, am I discounting long life? Not at all. I am only painting a picture, “not just how long, but how well”. I want to recall the prayer of Dr. A.W. Tozer, the world-acclaimed 20th Century prophet, “Oh God, let me rather die than to go on day by day living wrong. I do not want my life to be extended if it would mean that I should cease to live right and fail in my mission to glorify you all of my days”. Dear friends, are we prepared to pray that prayer?
7.0 God who permitted John the Baptist to be cut short at about age 30; Stephen before he was 30, James before he was 35 is not unjust. Human external perception must bow before the divine eternal purpose, permissiveness, and sovereignty of God.
8.0 Sarah Adams contracted tuberculosis at age 42 and before her death nearly two years later gave humanity the immortal hymn “Nearer my God to thee”. St. Francis of Assisi lived for 45 years. He walked virtually in our Saviour’s footsteps. His humility and brokenness were contagious.
The popular St. Thomas Aquinas was a pillar of the Catholic faith till today. He lived for 47 years.
Augustus A. Toplady lived for 37 years. We have never forgotten his “Rock of Ages, cleft for me” among several others. Even Reginald Heber, who blessed the world with “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty” departed at 37.
9.0 I’m sure many will recall William Tyndale as a household name in the Christian circle. He was a reformer, a Bible translator and printed the very first set of English Bibles. He lived for 44 years.
Frances R. Havergal gave us hundreds of hymns including “Take my life, and let it be” but she lived for 43 years. She could recite the entire Psalms and from Matthew to Revelation by heart.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the prince of preachers, pastor of Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, who held a banquet when he read the Bible the 100th time and at 20 had the largest followership in the world departed at 57.
Soren Kierkegaard, the Danish Theologian, and philosopher who greatly influenced the Christian world from the 19th century till now passed on at 42.
David Brainerd, the pioneer missionary to the Indians departed at 29. His ministry and prayer life influenced the likes of the great missionary to India, William Carey, and the illustrious Dr. Edward Payson.
St. Catherine of Siena, one of the greatest Christian mystics departed at 33.
10.0. How do we explain of Rev. Philip P. Bliss, the hymnist of ALMOST PERSUADED – BUT LOST who departed with his wife the same day, burnt to death in a train accident at age 38. Ah, God, you are unquestionable! How does one query the God who by mere “Let there be…” brought into existence an Earth weighing 6,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 tons and galaxies unimaginable trillions of miles away?
11.0 The following, all of who even transited at age 39, falling short of the landmark of 40 readily come to mind:
The apostle of the bleeding feet, Sadhu Sundar Singh, whose life’s aim was to die at 33 and half years like Jesus; but was deeply depressed and sorrowful when the Lord did not permit it. He is reputed to be the greatest Christian to ever emerge from India. Some debatable reports claimed that he was translated during a missionary journey to Tibet.
Martin Luther King, Jnr whose memory is evergreen worldwide. Rev. Dr. Dietrich Bonhoeffer who for his Christian stand against the Nazi government was executed by Hitler, but was radiantly joyous as he was being ushered towards the stake on which he was hanged.
Blaise Pascal, who was one of the greatest scientists, mathematicians, and inventors that ever lived. His conversion experience can only be likened to that of Paul the Apostle or Sadhu Sundar Singh. We can go on and on.
12.0 I am beginning to see why Oswald Chambers, the author of numerous classics including the daily devotional “My utmost For His Highest” declared that the basis of life is tragic. He himself departed at 43.
Enoch lived for only 365 years at a period when men lived averagely for 900 years. Yet he was the only one translated in that generation.
13.0 To bear with griefs, disappointments, losses, sorrow and other tragic situations can be a very harrowing experience. But we have a burden-bearer in Christ Jesus. Human comforts and consolations are desirable and have their place, but they are still among the sweetest frames that cannot be wholly leaned upon and hope cannot be built on them. Besides,
sympathizers will decrease progressively from one day to the next until they eventually thin out. Their own burdens and cares of life are more than enough to demand their attention.
14.0 However, the love of God constrains Him never to leave us or forsake us. In Him, especially the immediate family, we have a friend who sticks closer than blood relations. And whatever we and they may be going through in time like this, let’s remember that, as David announced our times are in His hands (Psalm 31:15). He also bowed off the world’s stage at 71, in spite of being a man after God’s heart.
15.0 Balaam prayed a wonderful prayer in Numbers 23: 10, “Let me die the death of the righteous and let my end be like theirs” but sadly, the record of scriptures shows that he did not attain that hope. The Bible further declares, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints”. So as we keep on beholding His face in righteousness, we, in the company of Dr. Badejo shall be satisfied with His likeness when we awake [in eternity]. Good night, our beloved illustrious labourer in the Kingdom. SHALOM!
Pastor Odunuga is an elder in the Redeemed Christian Church of God