I remember when the heat was still on and the fear of Ebola lurked around every corner, school and household. I remember when it was heard that bitter kola had become a scarce commodity and salt water seemed to be even more potent than the pool of Bethesda in saving from Ebola; when rumours were being spread, fear constantly propagated and cowardice displayed by our religious followers. This even led me to respond to the Christian community with an article titled “The Right Christian Response to Ebola”. Now that Nigeria has been declared an Ebola free zone, what do you have to say for yourself? Were you a propagator of fear or a propagator of faith?
Fear or Faith
If you ask anybody that was around me at the time, I always told them that I was waiting for the time Ebola would become extinct in the country, and then I would ask the fearful what they had to say for themselves. Was it their refusal to shake hands with me that saved them? Was it bitter kola that protected them? Was it salt water that made them immune?
There is a tale of a village in which death (in a bodily form) was announced to be arriving on a particular day; but unfortunately for death, almost 90% of the villagers were already dead on his arrival. You see, the fear of death had already killed them even before death himself arrived. This is a very good example of the Ebola situation in Nigeria. Nigerians celebrated the virus so much that before it even got to a particular area, it had already caused a more damaging effect.
They say too much of everything is not good right? Imagine the number of Christians that consumed bitter kola like chewing gum. In fact, it was reported that bitter kola had become scarce and expensive, before the virus had even gained any significant grounds. Deaths were also reported following the salt water solution, which could have either been a prank or an actual innocent and uninformed idea based on fear.
I thought God did not give us the spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7)? How come a majority of the Christian population displayed a high level of fear and cowardice? When the time came for them to show themselves and apply faith, their “true colours” came shining (Phil Collins). My question still remains thus: Now that Ebola is gone, what do you have to say for yourself? Were you a propagator of fear or a propagator of faith? I am very proud, by the grace of God, to say boldly that I was a propagator of faith.
Christians! We need to rise up and take our rightful place in the world. We need to start applying faith based on the Word of God and start changing the course of the world events and stop being fearful and cowardly. Yes, I use the word “cowardly” because as long as we claim to believe in Jesus and are his followers; doing the contrary based on fear, and displaying acts of fear as against the faith of Christ we preach is cowardice. Revelation 21:8 even makes us to understand that being fearful is a dangerous thing and not a Kingdom quality.
It is funny because even if we put faith and spirituality aside, we would see that it wasn’t that bad. First of all, the total death count wasn’t up to 10 (RIP), we said Ebola was worse that HIV, but HIV is still killing all over Nigeria till today, while Ebola came and went. Secondly, the exact locations where the cases were reported were announced; so how would somebody in Okokomaiko be refusing to shake hands with his neighbour working in Festac? Thirdly, the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) released an official report on the full nature of the virus, including modes of transmission, diagnosis, symptoms, incubation period in the body, prevention, etc.
As a matter of fact, there was even an incubation period during which a person with the virus was not able to infect anyone. There was no place in the report that included refusal to shake hands as a mode of prevention. It is our Nigerian societies that included that one. CDC specifically included that it was safe to swim; but our Nigerian people would have put the fear of God in you if they heard you wanted to go for a swim.
There was so much wrong with our approach to the virus that was not according to the instructions of the CDC. So, just by adhering to the instructions of the CDC, we wouldn’t have needed to be that fearful in the first place. I went about my swimming and ALL activities that included body contact; I never refused to shake hands with anybody even while they were sweating just based on the right information, not to talk of the application of scriptural faith.
To show how terrible we could be, many people (including Christians) used the opportunity to make serious money out of innocent Nigerians through the sale of hand sanitizers at ridiculously exorbitant rates. At a time when such should have been given to schools, motherless babies’ homes, and to the poor free of charge or at a highly subsidized rate, the price skyrocketed so that if the sanitizers were to be the solution, the masses wouldn’t even be able to protect themselves. Thank God CDC advocated for washing of hands with soap and water and not hand sanitizers.
The same question can be posed to Christians on their approach to the 2015 presidential election. Many Christians were so terrible, that even after a peaceful outcome, they were still saying “Just wait and see”. Even after President Jonathan congratulated Buhari before the announcement of the final result, they were still expecting that Jonathan would be announced the winner and there would be war. Some are still hopelessly expecting ill fate in the swearing in ceremony on May 29, 2015. I hear the words Christians say and I just shake my head, they are sorry words to hear.
Nigeria is Ebola free, it wasn’t their refusal to shake hands, maintain body contact or the ridiculously expensive hand sanitizers which many Christians were responsible for that saved their lives. It was the prayers of the true worshippers – the Spirit born Christians – and the physical efforts of the medical community, in which some practitioners even lost their lives, and the Lagos State Government in containing the infected victims in quarantine that saved the whole of Nigeria.
Christians! Let us always pray for the nation and be propagators of faith and not fear, for in the peace of the nation, we will have peace (Jeremiah 29:7).
Cheers and God bless you infinitely!!!