“Why Jesus?” – The Nigerian Jollof’s Salvation Story

Hello Royalty.

It’s the third and final Sunday of our salvation stories, and if there’s one thing, I am amazed at the responses to these posts in the past few weeks. I come online to check the stats, and I’m like “Woo-hoo!” Thank you so much. My prayer is that Ashley, Yomi, and the Nigerian Jollof’s stories minister to us in more ways than one, and that we also see that God loves and cares for us as individuals too.

As usual, I try not to do much talking…so, go ahead and have a blessed read!

The Nigerian Jollof’s Salvation Story

“Why Jesus?” my friend, Moyin, asked me some months ago.

I honestly did not know how to begin. Would I start with the suicide? Or all the depression before that? Everytime somebody askes me this two-word question, I am first rendered speechless. A kind of silence happens because there is too much to say, too many reasons to give. Reasons like, God gathers the broken, he calls them to himself and breathes upon them until every piece out of place knows what home is.

I always knew the gospel. “God so loved the world…” John 3:16 was inscribed on my memory. I knew that God loved me, at least I had heard so. In high school, I was a worker in the “sanctuary”. My family and I  went to church on Sundays, and went to prayer meetings on some days – it was normal, I guess. Looking back, I think it’s funny how we can become so familiarized with something that we no longer see it. We know it is there, but our hearts never really pause to actually see it. So, imagine my shock when after finally opening up to my sister that I felt really empty, all she had  to say was “I want you to come to a meeting with me by August.” I didn’t understand what a “religious” meeting had to do with my depression. I wanted to tell her that I tried to kill myself some weeks ago; that I felt drawn to the idea of stabbing myself and slowly bleeding out; that it was bigger than a meeting; that I felt like my body did not want me inside of it; that death looked like an escape, but I said “okay”, and she smiled a knowing smile.

Now I know what that smile was. It was trust. I remember her picking out the shirt I wore to the meeting and asking me how I was every day that led us to that day. I had heard her praying too. For me. And when we spoke about my depression, she asked questions like “do you still feel empty?” and she would smile another smile. On our way to the meeting, Tehilah, I remember not knowing what to expect. She told me to expect to encounter God, and I didn’t know what that would mean. I did not believe God could help. He was God, the one that punished people for their wrongdoing, what did he have to do with suicide?

We arrived there early. It was in the hall of a large fast food eatery in Lagos. I met a couple of her friends and didn’t spend much time getting acquainted with them. We both soon found a seat, and I half- heartedly settled down for the most significant day of my life. I came in there with doubt in one hand and faith in another.

They were singing songs – worshipping. It was a worship meeting, and I sang along, partly distracted by my own lack of joy. I remember trying to “focus”; I felt like i was lost, finding my way back to a home I could not remember. After all the worship, the meeting host, Pastor Oge, a man who at that time, barely knew me, asked anyone who wrote poetry, music or anything to come out. I had only started writing some months before then, so I came out with them. He went around laying hands on each person and edifying them. He finally got to me and began a song:

“Tell me Why You’ve given up on God…” I don’t remember him completing the song because I had serenaded his song with my tears.The love of God suddenly became something my heart could know and it was overwhelming, relentless and tender at the same time. He sang two more songs, the frist about how God fills a place with himself  and the other about how I was not alone. To think that I was literally on the ground, still in tears and I had not even heard the gospel. After the laying on of hands, we finally settled down and he taught on the gospel: that the anger of God was pacified in Christ; how, because of Christ, I had peace with God, righteousness by faith, and joy in the holy Ghost. Joy? Joy? He asked if anyone wanted to believe that the death of Christ was enough to reconcile us to God and I said yes. We prayed and the first thing that flooded my heart was peace. A kind of peace that first startled me, and eventually brought me to tears – again. I learned that I had been adopted by God and this meant that I was filled with the Holy Spirit. That day, I understood the fellowship of the Holy Spirit – it was tangible. I was taken aback at how I had managed to live life while missing this – the gospel.

On the 5th day of August 2016, I met the Man of Galilee – a man who knew my name. He gave me life and meaning and honestly, I can’t wait to die and finally meet him. But while I am here, He is how I live, and He is why I live.

Why Jesus?

Because I was enough reason for him, that day and always. Needless to say, I went home and took proper Panadol because, headache from all the crying.

Fiyin Olubiyi aka The Nigerian Jollof is an amazing individual with a life and mouth that speaks God. She did mention something about being a writer in her story. I don’t think she said it quite well enough. She writes beautifully, and you can find her unusual, yet strikingly awesome content on Instagram @thenigerianjollof.

Thank you for reading!

Goodbye Royalty,

With Overflowing Love,

Alexandra Zion.

About the author
Christocentric. Academic. Writer. Poet
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