Many years ago, I came across a book whose title caught my attention as a young university undergraduate. The title read ‘The happiest people on earth’. I was later to find out that the book was written by a man called Demos Shakarian whom the Lord had given a vision and assignment to start the ‘Full Gospel Business Men’s fellowship International’ (FGBMFI) many years before.He heeded the voice of God and started a movement that brought a great revival to men (and women) in many nations across the world.
The title of the book was what actually attracted me to the FGBMFI, as I was desperate to find out how I could be amongst the happiest people on earth. I had grown up as a happy girl with my parents and siblings, and seen by many as my dad’s favourite. However, things started to turn around at the home front as other external parties began to show up to change the equation of my family. The once monogamous family gradually began to metamorphose into a ‘full blown’ polygamous one with all its ills and challenges! Suspicion, offences, bitterness, abuse, accusations of all kinds became the order of the day. I watched as all these took its toll on my mum, who by now being the first wife had become the main recipient of some of these from the various ‘branches’ my family had developed over the years. She was accused of the most unbelievable things even to the hearing of her children! It’s a wonder to me how she has been able to make it, and still be alive to tell her story many years after. Thank you Lord Jesus!
Of course, as a young girl all these had its effect on me right until my adult life. For one, I was constantly worried for my mum, and would always say a prayer in my heart to meet her alive and well by the time I get back from school. (I had heard that women easily develop hypertension, and might just collapse one day!) I was also almost at a point of near depression, as I struggled to make myself happy. For one, I made up my mind never ever to have anything to do with polygamy, and to advise many people I know as possible to avoid it as a plague when it is time for them to get married. Never you as a woman (and most especially a child of God) settle to be a second or third wife to anybody! Please, do not complicate your life and enter into the terrain of suspicion and offence. It is not just worth it! Anyway, that aside and back to my story…
In my desperate search for that magic formula that would give me instant happiness, I came across the book I talked about earlier on. I devoured every page with relish, trying to discover the ‘secret code of happiness’. I later found out that the ‘secret code’ to true happiness was nothing other than to become a part of a Kingdom, a holy nation, God’s own special people – a people that had been called out of darkness into God’s marvellous light (1Peter2:9). This happens when a person repents of his sins and surrenders his heart to the Lordship of The Lord Jesus Christ- Saviour of the world.
The book quite alright left an impact on me, as the Lord used it to sow a seed in my heart. It was not until some years after however, that I finally surrendered my heart to Jesus. Guess where? At a Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship breakfast meeting at the Premier Hotel in Ibadan, in the late eighties! Yes, the seed germinated, became a plant and finally produced fruit! Glory to God! I remember the day vividly and of course the preacher. It was no other person than Pastor Ayo Orisajefor. I remember being very intrigued by his ‘Bro Jonhson’ (BJ) haircut when I saw him pick the microphone. However, as he began to speak, God’s presence came down and deep conviction for sin came upon my heart. I had no choice but to run out to the front of the hall to surrender my heart to Jesus and be a part of this Kingdom of ‘happy’ people.
It’s been almost thirty years now to the glory of God since I took that step. You might ask me- Have I always been happy all through these years? Have everything always been rosy all the way? My answer would be a big NO! However, the good news is that through all the challenges, battles and trials I have had to face in the past years, He that saved my soul has never for one moment failed me. He has always made all things work together for my good, and has always turned every battle into a stepping stone to greater heights Halleluyah!
I have therefore come to a conclusion that happiness really is a choice. The truth is that you will not always feel happy considering the myriad of challenges that will definitely come your way. The Bible says ‘many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers them from them all’ ( ). For one, happiness is an emotion that only depends on the circumstances around you, or on other people. In essence, you only feel happy when things go well with you and sad when they do not. However, there is a greater level that God wants for us, which is to experience His joy unspeakable and that is full of glory. The joy of the Lord which is a fruit of the Spirit comes as a result of contentment and the full assurance that whatever one might be going through, that God is in total and absolute control. It is like ‘being happy in spite of the challenges of life’ May the joy of the Lord fill our hearts at all times in Jesus name.
Oh less I forget! My mum is still alive and well to the glory of God. The heat and battles she faced at the home front also drove her to join the Kingdom of the ‘happy (I mean joyful) people and become a great intercessor for God. See, all things really do work out for good. So, let God’s joy fill your heart always, because IT will end well in Jesus name.