By Pat Amobi Chukwuma
A married troubled man attended a prayer crusade the previous day. The self acclaimed powerful officiating pastor was on the rostrum making incantations and seeing imaginable and unimaginable visions. He was believed to have the gift of reading people’s minds. On that very night crusade, he summoned one of his adherents up the stage and the man in question was carrying a heavy cross in his 12-year marriage, which needs to be taken away miraculously. Thus the pastor asked the troubled man to bring that heavy cross the next day for deliverance.
Wonders shall never end. The man went home quickly very early in the morning the next day. His lawfully married wife has been a burden to him since their twelve years of turbulent marriage. He married her when her size was like that of a Volkswagen. Later she became heavily built just like a bulldozer. Each time she had squabbles with her husband, she beat him mercilessly, such that the man cried like a child. The helpless husband nicknamed her My Cross. For fear of being trashed, he addressed her by the name only at her back. One day someone told her that the husband calls her My Cross before other people. So, the giant lady waited for him behind the door on a black day. As soon as he stepped into their bedroom, she grabbed him by the waist and pinned him down. She then sat on him with her extraordinary buttocks. She shouted, “Stupid husband, who do you call My Cross? I will show you pepper today by crucifying you on that cross.” She stood up and forcefully fell on him thrice. The helpless husband screamed and defecated heavily on his pants. She gave him three dirty slaps for defecating inside the room. The troubled husband was shouting, “Please Sir Madam, have mercy! I will never call you My Cross again. It was a slip of tongue.”
Giving the monkey a cup of water is not a problem. The problem lies on getting back the cup from him. The herculean task for the troubled husband was how to convey his problematic wife to the pastor for deliverance. A thought came into his worried mind. He went to the chemist shop and bought 12 tablets of sleeping tablets, which would serve as a dose due to the hugeness of his wife (My Cross). His mission paid off. On the appointed day during breakfast he inserted the well grounded 12 sleeping tablets into My Cross cup of tea as fast as possible, when she went into the kitchen to bring something. Immediately she finished the cup of tea, she slept at the dining table like a corpse. It was a mission accomplished. The troubled husband in haste went out and hired four hefty men. They lifted the sleeping cross and carried her into a waiting wheel barrow. The journey to the deliverance ground began. Immediately the four men conveying her reached the destination, the troubled husband heaved a sigh of relief. He said to the pastor, “Man of God, here I am. I have brought her. This is My Cross. Please start the deliverance before she wakes up.” The pastor was still making the deliverance when I went to press. Who knows if she would ever wake up due to the high dosage of the sleeping tablets secretly administered her.
Each and every one of us has a cross to carry. Marriage has its own cross. If you marry a bad wife or a bad husband, it is a cross. If you beget a bad child, it is a cross. If you are childless, it is a cross. Being single has its own cross. Widowhood has a cross. There is a cross in being a priest or religious. A certain friend of mine came to me few years ago with tears in his eyes. Sadly he said to me: “Father, if I had known that my life would turn bitter due to the bad wife I married, I would have become a celibate priest like you.” According to him, we priests have no problems. At least we drive cars and eat thrice a day without any stress. After saying all these things, I laughed at him and asserted, “If I had known that priesthood is as hard as this, I would have become a lay married man.” We ended up laughing. I told him that each vocation has its own cross. I advised him not to despair and to carry his own cross up to Calvary for crucifixion. Then you are buried and lie three days in the grave. Glory comes when you resurrect. But if one refuses to resurrect, then everything becomes hopeless.
There is no victory without a cross. Burning the midnight lamp in school is a cross. Success turns the cross into victory. Those doing business carry the crosses of buying and selling. Often losses are encountered. No wonder they say that the downfall of a man is not the end of his life. Those who refuse to carry the cross of one’s condition in life are failures. Often they end up committing suicide. Just recently, a married business man jumped into a deep well filled with water because his entire goods got burnt up in his shop. He refused to be consoled. He said he was tired of living. In a twinkling of an eye he jumped into the nearby well. Before any help could come, he was already drowned.
Sickness is a cross. I went into a hospital to see a patient on admission. He was bubbling with life some months ago. But now he looked like a skeleton. He told me that the cross he was carrying was too heavy for him. Also he said that his health condition has become useless and it was better for him to die. I encouraged him not to lose hope; that the bones shall live again. Equally I told him that there were those in the same hospital whose health condition was worse than his. He sighed hopelessly and later died a miserable death. The vultures refused to feed on his remains which were left outside for many days.
Politically, it is a heavy cross when we languish under a bad president, governor, senator, dishonourable house member, Local Government Chairman and Councilor. Most of our elected leaders are masters instead of servants. Some often turn into dictators instead of democrats. The people heave a sigh of relief when their tenure naturally or accidentally comes to an end or when there is divine intervention. If you have a wicked boss you are working under, it is a big cross to carry. You have to be diligent and prayerful in order to survive. The children who suffer under bad father or mother carry their crosses. Bad children are also big crosses for the parents. The parents’ blood pressure rises above normal from time to time. Even to serve under bad priests or Men of God is a heavy cross for the adherents. The faithful count the number of days of their stay. If such a minister dies in office, they shed crocodile tears.
Since Nigerian Independence on 1st October 1960, Nigerians have been carrying crosses of bad leadership, military dictatorship, civilian dictatorship, corruption, nepotism, poverty, marginalization and political dichotomy. As if these are not enough, the crosses of Boko Haram terrorism, Fulani bloody herdsmen, kidnapping, robbery and all forms of banditry have been added. These terrorists crucify innocent Nigerians on a daily basis here and there. Blood now flows like flood along the streets. Indeed insecurity of lives and property are the heaviest crosses Nigerians are presently carrying. We seem to live in a hopeless condition. Also our country has become the capital of poverty in the whole world. Election has turned into selection. Rigging of election seems now to be lawful. The end automatically and immorally justifies the means. The Judiciary which is the last hope of the common man has been compromised. The Legislature has become a dumping ground of past failed leaders. The Executive arm now wields dictatorial power. The Principle of Separation of Powers, Checks and Balances have been jettisoned. Our Democracy is gradually demonizing into Demo-crazy. All these are heavy crosses to bear. However, all hope is not lost. Some day the Nigerian messiah will surface suddenly to liberate his people from bondage and lead them into the Promised Land. In God we trust!