By Jude Atupulazi
Have you ever wondered why certain terrible things happen and God seemingly does nothing to mitigate the suffering of the people? Have you ever been in situations where you doubt that God really exists? You are not alone in this. Indeed, things have happened in this world that made many to ask, ‘God, where are you?’
Let’s take the example of the Holocaust during World War 11. The Germans had exterminated about six million Jews at various concentration camps across Europe like Auschwitz, Bergen Belsen, Sorbibor, Treblinka, et al. It was part of Hitler’s ”Final Solution” which was indeed a plan to wipe out the Jews from the face of Europe.
During those days, fathers, mothers and their children, would be captured from their homes and herded into jam packed trains with scant ventilation and taken to the concentration camps. Many died of asphyxiation inside the trains and those who survived suffered worse fates. At the camps, they were stripped of their clothes, and, completely naked, told they were going to take showers and were marched in single file into buildings they did not know they were going to be gassed. Their dead bodies were burnt to ashes and the ashes used to produce virtually anything the Germans considered useful for their war effort.
Those spared from being gassed were those considered physically fit for hard labour. They were made to perform excruciating tasks, including disposing the dead bodies of family members. Any time they showed signs of weakness or insubordination, they were summarily shot. They were also subjected to hunger to the extent that many looked like living skeletons and lived among rotting corpses. By the time the Allied forces began to liberate the camps during the final days of the war, many of the soldiers broke down in tears at what they saw at the camps despite their military training and battle toughness.
During their stay at those camps, many of the inmates must have been wondering why God allowed such to be happening to human beings. Suffice it to say that at the end of the war, most of the culprits were arrested and executed but the scar has remained to date.
As it was in Europe in those dark days, so it is in Nigeria today. Nigeria is not at war with any external aggressor; yes, but Nigeria is at war with itself in many forms. There is the war against insurgents and bandits, mostly in Northern Nigeria, which has been waged for long. It has cost the country in human and material resources and it is still showing no signs of abating.
There is also the fratricidal war going on in Eastern Nigeria where some people who feel aggrieved and marginalized are up in arms, not with the enemy, but against their own people, making life miserable in the once safe zone.
But by far, the biggest war in the country is the war the country’s politicians are waging against their country. It is a war in which the corrupt political class undermine the masses in every way and while they live big, the masses cry, not knowing where their next meal will come from. When the masses want to use their voting rights to choose better leaders, their votes are not made to count.
On this last one, I have seen it play out many times and each time I wonder the kind of soulless people that say they are our leaders. Take the last general elections for instance. even the cows herded by the Fulani from the north to the south know that Tinubu, the man who sits as the president of this country today, was not the winner of the Presidential Election. But despite how clear the robbery that ushered in Tinubu was, Tinubu and his people will look us in the eye and carry on as if nothing happened.When you see this, you wonder whether it is real; whether you are not watching some kind of movie, and above all, whether there is no God. You wonder whether God had not seen your suffering under Buhari and whether you had not prayed enough to change your situation through God. Indeed, you may begin to also wonder whether there is any need for prayers again since those who dare God are enjoying and those who pray to him are gnashing their teeth.
Really, the many absurdities in Nigeria today are making many to shun going to church, especially when even a section of the Church has seemingly entered the bandwagon of materialism. We live in a society where money has become a god that is worshipped everywhere, regardless of how it is acquired. And so we are daily confronted by absurdities that would have shocked the civilized world. This is a country of Christianity without God; a country where there are many churches peopled by men but not by God. This is a country where many will greet you in the name of God but kill you in cold blood. Welcome to Nigeria, a country where those who profess Christianity and Islam do not practice what they preach; hence, their penchant to steal in broad daylight and live in affluence and you wonder why God has kept silent. You keep wondering, ‘Oh God, where art thou?’
But then we are told that the ways of God are different from the ways of man and we can only but trudge on in the hope that someday, God will liberate his children from Egypt.