Seeking the Kingdom of God
By Femi Aribisala
FOR 40 years of my life, I was blind and deaf. I could see and hear men but could neither see nor hear God. But one day, on my Damascus Road in the middle of an armed robbery attack, Jesus opened my ears and I heard God speaking to me for the very first time.
Since then, I have realized on a daily systematic basis, the same grace that God gave to Moses: “The LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” (Exodus 33:11). This ability to have a conversation with God is one of the greatest privileges of my life.
The psalmist says God also opened David’s ears. (Psalm 40:6). He not only heard God’s voice, he even listened in on a conversation between God the Father and Jesus. He says: “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool.’” (Psalm 40:1).
This soon became a persistent subject of my prayer. I insisted to God that if he could give such a mighty revelation to David, he could jolly well give it to me as well.
One day, during a prayer-meeting at Pentecostal Assem-bly, the Lord answered by asking me to tilt back my chair. When I did, I could hear the gentleman behind me praying in tongues. Then suddenly, something dramatic happened. The Lord opened my ears and the man’s “tongues” turned into perfect Queen’s English.
To my astonishment, I disco-vered the Holy Spirit was the one praying through him. What would God’s Spirit pray to God? I was privileged to hear every-thing. The Holy Spirit was praising God.
I have never heard such exuberant praise in my life. I cannot recall again exactly what he said. I just know I was dumbfounded. I was struck by the diction. It was superlative praise; far superior to anything written by David in the psalms. I kept thinking: “Oh, how I wish I could record this!”
After a while, the revelation simply rolled away; replaced again by tongues. When I shared it with the man concerned after the service, he was just as flabbergasted as I was.
The Lord also confirmed to me that he had opened my eyes. I realized the experience of Job, who told God after his ordeal: “I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye has seen you.” (Job 42:5).
Once God opens your eyes, you understand Paul’s insistence that: “The invisible things of (God) from the creation of the world are clearly seen.” (Romans 1:20). This has been my personal experience, and it started in the most dramatic fashion on a trip abroad.
My oldest brother, Bayo, left Nigeria without telling anyone where he was going. Thereafter, he communicated with no one, so we did not know his whereabouts. Some six years later, we got word that he was sighted in Gambia. I had to attend the funeral of a church-member in Sierra Leone, so I decided to take the opportunity to go to Gambia to see if I could find him.
The person who told us about him gave us the address of a street-corner shop in Serrekunda, Gambia. It was not difficult to find and I was directed to a barbershop where I met a Nigerian. He told me my brother had been living with him for years. But several months prior to my arrival, he left Serrekunda for a place called Basse.
I thought Gambia was a small country, but he assured me that Basse was nine hours from Serrekunda by road. I told him that since I had come all the way from Nigeria, I would have no choice but to go and see him there. But the man said that would not be possible. My brother left no forwarding address. “So where would you look?” he asked.
I concluded that my trip to Gambia was in vain. I checked into a hotel and told the Lord: “It looks like you brought me to Gambia just so I can spend a quiet time with you.”
Learning at God’s feet
But the next day, the Lord woke me up early in the morning. Out of the blue, he said: “Femi, let me tell you about the kingdom of God.” Then he continued a long-standing lesson on the dynamics of the kingdom of God.
I am an intellectual who came to the knowledge of God through a miracle healing from a gunshot wound. As a result, I was apprehensive that one day my intellect would confound my faith. One of those things I questioned was Jesus’ statement to his disciples that many of them would not die until they saw the kingdom of God. But, I thought, all his disciples are dead, and yet the kingdom of God has still not arrived.
So that morning in the Gambia, the Lord brought up this little question of my fears. He said: “Femi, you have been asking who among my disciples did not die until he saw the coming of the kingdom of God? Let me answer your question now.”
“Those who were alive after my death and resurrection; who became born again at, or after, the Pentecost, saw the kingdom of God in their lifetime. Look at what I said to Nicodemus: ‘Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ The disciples were born again, so they saw the kingdom of God.”
“What I want to do this morning is to show you the kingdom of God, since you also are born again.”
Miracle of miracles
So, the Lord said to me: “Femi, let me show you the kingdom of God.” Just then, the telephone in my hotel room rang. The Lord said to me: “Answer the phone.”
When I picked up the phone, the concierge said: “Dr. Aribisala, your brother would like to talk to you.” I asked incredulously: “My brother? Where is he speaking from?” The man replied: “He is right here in the lobby.” I told him: “I am coming right down.”
I put down the phone and could not believe my ears. What just happened here? I saw it, as clear as daylight. The Lord had supernaturally moved my brother all the way from Basse, nine hours away to come down to Serrekunda to meet me.
Bayo never knew I was coming. As I said, I had not heard from him in over six years. He had simply decided to come down to Serrekunda to see his friends. Little did he know that that decision was part of the Lord’s plan to bring him to Serrekunda to meet me. When he got to the barber’s shop, the gentleman I spoke to the night before told him I had come to Gambia to see him; and he gave him my hotel address.
There was nothing I could do but to keep my brother waiting, while I fell on my knees in my room and worshipped the Lord. I blessed God for fulfilling the word he gave me: “Blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear.”