Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Reason To Celebrate...

I wrote this note exactly five years ago today, and it's just as true today as it was then. Seems rather appropriate to share it on here...thoughts would be appreciated.

September 23. Nothing really special about this day for most. For me, it is a day that ought to be set aside for praise, worship and adoration. Barely three years ago on this date, I woke up with great anticipation and excitement. On this bright and beautiful Saturday, the Women of the Church of God from the U.S would be arriving in Zambia for the National Women's Conference in Lusaka. I was one of the select few that would be going to the airport and pick them up! What an honor it was...

There were two vehicles going to the airport that morning, a Toyota Land Cruiser that belonged to the Missionaries and a 4x4 Toyota pick-up truck that had been recently purchased for a new missionary family coming to Zambia. My mum and a friend of the family rode in the Land Cruiser while my Uncle and I rode in the pick-up truck. Our vehicle was second in line and we had fallen way behind from the first vehicle. My uncle, who was driving the truck decided he wanted to catch up with the other vehicle and so he sped up and before I knew it, he was really speeding. It just so happened that we came up on a curve in the road, and it was otherwise not that difficult to navigate, but because of the speed at which our vehicle was going, a series of events followed that literally changed my life.

As we came up on the curve, my uncle tried to slow down, but it was a bit too late. Our vehicle swerved and was headed straight for a brick wall on the side of the road, but my uncle tried to regain control while applying the brakes. Bad idea. I have no recollection of what happened next, but according to witnesses, my mum included, the truck was up in the air, wheels up first, hit the tarmac roof first, with both me and my uncle still inside, and skid on the tarmac for a distance of about 30 feet before stopping. Like I said, I do not have a recollection of exactly what happened, but as the vehicle was sliding on the tarmac, I had a sensation of being squeezed and air rushing out of my lungs. Then nothing. "Oscar, are you okay?" Those were the first words I heard after what seemed like an eternity. Not sure what to say, I simply replied, "Yes," then asked the same question. Then there was chaos. There were hands everywhere trying to pull me out of the truck, but there was one problem; I was trapped by my seatbelt which was still fastened. Instinctively, I pulled out my pocket knife (which I normally did not carry with me) and cut through the seatbelt and was pulled free. My uncle followed suit and got out of the car as well.

In the midst of the chaos, I heard one loud voice crying, "mwana wanga, mwana wanga!" (my son, my son in Nyanja). My mum who, from the other car had seen what had happened, was wailing at the top of her lungs, fearing the worst. When I got out of the car and saw how badly it was damaged, I couldn't help but breakdown. I began to sob uncontrollably. My mum, after seeing that I had got out of the car safe, but seeing me cry, thought it was due to some internal injuries. It took a while for me, while trying to come to terms with what had just happened, to assure her that I was fine, miraculously. Both my uncle and I had come out of the vehicle unharmed, without a single scratch! Praise the Lord!!

You might be wondering why I share this story with you on this day. For me, this day is a day when I set time apart to just praise and give thanks to God for His love for me. It was on this day, three years ago, that my mum said some very important words that have stayed with me since, and in the following days after my accident, I truly gave my life to Christ, and my life has never been the same. My mum quoted the passage from Jeremiah 29:11 and she said, "Oscar, God has saved you from this accident for a purpose, a special purpose. It is now up to you to discover what that purpose is." Every day of my life since, I believe that I'm getting closer to discovering that purpose for my life.

Life after giving my life to Christ has not been all smooth...quite the opposite. I've had times when I felt like giving up because help was not forthcoming, times when I felt really distant from God, and times when I felt as if my prayers fell on deaf ears. But Praise the Lord, because even in those moments, He provided, He answered prayer and He has laid a vision on my heart. He has placed me in a place of honor, for His name's sake, and that is why today, I ask that you may celebrate with me. Celebrate the numerous and wonderful things that God has done in your life. Count your blessings today and see if you can name them one by one! Take a moment, after reading this, and give praise to God, because His love endures forever and ever!

Celebrate His love and goodness!