Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen (Hebrews 11:1). This verse gives us the clear definition of faith. Encarta Dictionaries (2009) also views faith as the belief in, devotion to, or trust in somebody or something, especially without logical proof. Hebrews 11:3 then goes further saying that
“through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear”.
The New Living Translation (NLT) says
“By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen”.
There are many teachings and topics on faith today to the point that it becomes really confusing. The truth is there is nothing more to faith than the definitions and explanation above. The whole process of faith according to Mark 11:23-24 is asking by prayer, believing you have received without doubting and finally, the receipt of your request. What happens in the spirit during the process is not your concern, your job is to pray or make the decree, believe, don’t doubt and don’t say anything contrary or negative to your confession.
A lot of people are facing serious discouragement because of unanswered prayers, they have been taught and taught but reality still sets in. The major factor militating against the faith of many is the absence of the ready answer to their prayers. We must come to realize that God works in mysterious ways, depending on His will and the conditions of our hearts. In this series, I would be sharing testimonies and exploits of faith and their corresponding outcomes, just like the “Dreams Come True” series. This is to encourage you in the Lord and restore your faith, as these are not teachings, but real life experiences of different people. I would like to start with myself and how I got my admission into the university.
We are all aware of the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) in Nigeria. The body responsible for conducting examinations into higher institutions in Nigeria. JAMB is popularly known for “jamming” people because of the high failure rate in the exam. This has led to people rewriting the exam for five to ten years and still not making it. When and if they finally get the admission, they would have already become old men and women, and become like elders in their various classes. As a result of this, the rate of exam malpractice has increased over the years with even the invigilators being the major players.
When it was time for me to write my own JAMB, I innocently went to my exam centre, located my seat and comported myself. I was surrounded by people way older than I was. Some were rewriting it for the third time and some the fifth. When the exam started, I prayed to God, and started answering the questions. It was pretty cool and I was just doing fine. The next thing I knew was the invigilator came around and started passing exam chips (answers) to predetermined candidates, and my partners were among. They were given chips for all the paper types. I just sat there pretending as though I didn’t see anything and continued with my exam while the time was running out. As at this time, the whole class was out of control, it was no longer an exam.
My neighbour then tapped me and asked me if I was interested, I told her I wasn’t and thanked her; I continued. My other neighbour then tapped me and asked me why I wasn’t interested, I still refused and said it wasn’t necessary. The guy at the back then tapped me again still insisting that I was wasting my time, the one at his side concurred. My neighbour then presented me with the chips according to my own paper type, against my approval. I returned it. She brought it again and said I should just check whether it was authentic. I couldn’t take it any longer, besides, the whole class was already corrupt, so I took it and crosschecked. I realized that the answers were in line with my own previous answers. I still continued on my own, but after a while, I didn’t see any point in claiming innocent, so I joined them. After the exam, I thanked God, and prayed for forgiveness for cheating, still expecting a super score.
After about three weeks, the result came out and I passed, but I wasn’t happy at all. I didn’t pass up to expectation, besides I heard of a guy who also cheated and scored extra high. It didn’t make sense at all, why would I have used the chips and not passed excellently. I was furious, while my family was happy. I definitely would have done better if I didn’t succumb. To me, the whole essence of cheating was to get super results. During night prayer that day, while my father thanked God for my success, I didn’t say amen, because in my view, God had nothing to do with that, I cheated. My parents kept thanking God during devotions and I kept resisting their prayers.
The Act of Faith
I had mixed feelings in the sense that I felt bad because I cheated, and that I felt I should have scored higher since I cheated. During that same year, there was another admission channel into the university. This was much more expensive – to the point that most parents had to take loans to pay the fees – and the exam was even more difficult, so I also opted in for it. I saw it as a second chance to redeem myself and correct my initial wrongs, so I started studying for the exam. The only problem was, this was the exam I really needed to cheat for, not JAMB. In JAMB, you got to select your preferred subjects, but in this one, it was only further mathematics and English, and I didn’t do further mathematics in school, while the exam was just at the corner. I then had to enroll in several private tutorial centres, it wasn’t easy at all and there was no doubt that I couldn’t make it, because the cutoff for my course was always one of the highest. I was so bad, that one of my tutors expressly told me I couldn’t make it; just imagine! It was so bad, that when the result was out, the man was expecting bad news.
I then entered into a covenant with God and told Him that if I passed that exam with my further mathematics blank brain and got that admission, I would never cheat in any exam again, that it would be just Him and I all the way, and that I would forfeit the admission I would have gotten through JAMB. I told Him I would trust Him all the way and will never depend on man again. On the day of this exam, I located my centre and went to my seat. They distributed the question papers and it was hell. The mathematics they brought out was actually farther and not further, the time was little and yet again, I was surrounded by cheats. This time, I bowed my head and reminded God of our covenant and vowed not to turn left or right but trust in Him totally even if it meant me failing. The exam started and I was probably just able to answer about 10 out of 60 math questions, and then the English. My sheet was blank and I couldn’t cheat because I was in a covenant, so I decided to put my whole trust in God to answer the questions for me.
What did I do? After answering all I could, which was just about 50% of the exam, which I was probably sure of about 30% of that 50%, I then went back to the beginning. I took the first question and started using the word of God to cast lots over the options. For example, I would say, “God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good” wherever “good” landed, I selected that option. I kept going on and on using different phrases and sentences glorifying God. It got to a point that I ran out of sentences, I then started spelling out His names. For example, “J E S U S” wherever “S” landed, I selected that option. I continued until they announced “Five minutes more!” I then said, “Lord, there is no time for that one again, just take control”. So I just started selecting random options for the remaining few questions until my sheet was filled up. The guy behind me saw that I was just shading and thought I was really brilliant, so quickly begged me to show him my sheet. I told him “Guy! I don’t know what I’m doing o! I just dey shade” He said “Guy! Abeg I go shade am like that” I didn’t count that as cheating since I really didn’t know what I was doing and he too was ready to shade rubbish. So as I was just shading anything in that 5minutes, I opened my sheet for him to shade too. The exam was over, and I submitted.
After the exam, I hooked up with my former school mates and they just kept lamenting on how tough it was and how they had failed, I on the other hand, who had just practically guessed all the way was saying, “Oh boy, it was simple, thank God and I have passed, ah! I cleared it”. As many as asked me, I told them I was successful, even against the current reality that there was no way I could pass that exam.
About two weeks later, the results were out, and it was like judgment day because of the money that was involved. My father personally followed me to go and check the result, that’s to show you how serious it was. On getting there, see parents! Nobody was smiling at all. The results were bad…! They didn’t paste the names, but the registration numbers and the results were ‘over 100’. Parents were calling their children at home to confirm their numbers because the result they saw was too bad; in my front, a parent checked and the child scored 18, 18 over 100! Immediately, I went blank, I couldn’t remember my registration number again. Even as I am writing this, I can still remember that number, for over eight years now.
I told my father I couldn’t remember my number, he said “No o! You have to remember it, try and remember, try, try!” I started trying and when I arrived at an assumed number, I shouted “Ok! I remember” I then checked the result against that number, what did I see? 20? What? God forbid! My father then asked me what I got, I told him it was a mistake, it wasn’t my number. I thought and assumed another number again, checked the board and this time it was around 40. Seeing the results on the board, 40 was actually a blessing, but my faith was growing stronger so I rejected it. I assumed for the third time and checked, this time it was 50, I definitely couldn’t reject this, if I was expecting any miracle, it couldn’t exceed this based on the stunt I pulled in the exam. At this point, my faith was solid and I still rejected it, and told my father it wasn’t my result, that I couldn’t remember the number. We then went to the office to get my registration number through my name and then went back to the board.
I took a deep breath, made my way through the crowd, located my number and checked. My number was just about three numbers away from the last number I assumed, which scored 50. I then looked, lo and behold, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I made my way out of the crowd, cleaned my eyes, and went back. Lo and behold, I wasn’t seeing double. I crosschecked the number to make sure it was there was no mistake, and there wasn’t. I was dazed, I just couldn’t believe my eyes, I scored 64!
After we left, I still didn’t believe it, it just wasn’t possible. So I told my dad to please take me back there so I could confirm one last time. He was shocked and asked me if I didn’t believe I could make it, I told him I did, but I just wanted to confirm one last time. We went back there, the crowd had dispersed, I checked again, and it was the real deal. My parents were so happy, when my mum heard, she pecked me and rubbed my head like a fluffy puppy; that’s to show you how serious it was.
A few weeks later, the university released the cutoff marks for the various departments, and it was 55. I surpassed the cutoff by 9 points. A lot of my school mates that applied for the same course, who were so brilliant didn’t even make it and had to settle for alternatives; even those that made it were just lucky. They started taking me as a “brainy” and classified me as brilliant. Can you just imagine? Well, I enjoyed the praise until I started preaching, which led me to reveal the secret behind my success, which was God. Even after telling people, they still didn’t believe and till I finished from the university, I was tagged as one of the brightest students in class.
I held up my own side of the covenant, I forfeited the accursed admission that I would have gotten through cheating and all through my stay in the university, I never cheated in an exam, and I never failed. Even when I entered the exam hall blank, I never cheated and I never failed. The funny part was that I never studied, books didn’t make sense to me again, all I wanted was just to serve God. I always read about 2 days to the exam, confessed the exam topics that I wanted to come out, and my requests were always granted. Any question I didn’t know, I left blank, or wrote “Blah, blah, blah”. I didn’t sweat for a single course, except for courses like Law and Economics which I read because I loved arguments. Yes and I finished with honours, and with a strong second class upper CGPA (Cumulative Grade Point Average). I should have finished with a first class, in fact, I started with a first class that I didn’t even study for, but I personally didn’t want it, so I didn’t give a damn about it. In fact, I would have finished with a first class if not for those courses I wrote with a blank brain and still passed, but brought my GPA (Grade Point Average) down.
Faith is about trusting God completely, not negotiating with reality or wavering. There is no doubt, with God, all things are really possible. I wasn’t joking about a single word I said, it all happened. God works with faith, He works with trust, and the fact that you do not see the results of your faith doesn’t mean He isn’t working. As a matter of fact, Hebrews 11:6 says,
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
Like I said, this series is not a teaching, but a testimonial. You already know what faith is, then keep believing and trusting God. Just remember that you must ask according to God’s will, He already knows your heart desires. Since God truly loves you, He won’t give you what would destroy you, so you must learn to work according to His will and never speak contrary or negatively because not only is death and life in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21) but also, by thy words, you shall be justified; and by your own words, you shall also be condemned (Matthew 12:37).
Have faith in God (Mark 11:22) and start exercising your faith today!
Till next time, cheers and God bless you infinitely!!!
Faith (2009). In Microsoft Encarta Dictionaries. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation