I came across a movie on YouTube titled ‘The Train’, based on the life of one of Nigeria’s prolific Christian movie makers, Mike Abayomi Bamiloye. Although it’s a Yoruba movie and considering I’m the fakest Yoruba girl ever, I still enjoyed every bit of this true-life story (thank God for subtitles, the Yoruba they spoke in this movie is completely out of my league 😄)
The part of the story that caught my attention is the reason for this post. Mike had secured admissions to two schools and excitedly chose the best one. When he arrived, he was told that not many people were accepted by the school, so he was one of the lucky ones. He got to his room, sat on the bed and began to thank God for blessing him with the opportunity to be accepted by two schools and allowing him to option of choosing the ‘better one’. He kept repeating “the better option” over and over again until his smile turned into a frown and soon enough he was in tears. He knew God was speaking to him and he didn’t like what God was saying: God didn’t want him in that school.
I recognised the pain in his eyes as he packed his bags in obedience and made his way to the other school which in my opinion was the worse school ever; they didn’t even have classrooms.
Watching those scenes play out on my TV screen took me back to a point in my life when I had a similar life-changing choice to make. I was in love with someone and everything was perfect: it was my “better option”. But one morning, I woke up with a heavy pull in my heart and immediately I knew what it was: God didn’t want me in that relationship.
I cried. I cried. I cried. I couldn’t understand why. He was a Christian. He loved God. He loved me. So why?
I called my mum and told her everything, and she made a statement to me that went something like this: “Tosin, God has always led you, He has never failed you. I trust your decision if you know it’s Him leading you”. I knew it was it Him. So I packed the bags of my heart and left the relationship behind.
When Mike arrived at the terrible school, the lecturer asked him where he had come from and he mentioned the name of the other school. The lecturer and everyone in the class thought he was crazy and laughed at him. Why would anyone leave that school to come here? So the lecturer asked him why he left and the conversation went like this:
“He didn’t want me there”
“Who?” asked the lecturer
“….my Father”, Mike answered, with tears in his eyes.
Those were my words too: MY FATHER.
That was how I answered anyone who wanted to know why I had walked away from what was the only perfect thing in my life at that moment. And of course, they didn’t understand. I remember a close friend of mine saying that her God would never do that to anyone, so I must have been mistaken. Why would God want you to be hurt so badly? But there I was, holding on to the confidence that I had heard God even though I was hurting: my heart was broken and bleeding out.
Mike was involved in his ‘Drama Ministry’ and got to a point when he felt the Lord leading him to leave his teaching job and focus completely on the ministry. There were many people at that time who didn’t believe that ‘drama’ could be a tool for evangelism, so they mocked him and laughed at him. When he told his older sister (who had taken care of him all his life) that he had quit his job, she was so furious and couldn’t understand why he would make such a foolish decision. Their conversation went something like this (I am paraphrasing):
Sister: You will go back to your teaching job immediately!
Mike: I’m sorry, I don’t think I can do that . . .
Sister: As long as I am your sister, you will do exactly what I tell you
Mike: As long as He is my God, I will do everything He tells me to do.
As I remember that scene, I can only think about Abraham. It’s funny how the Bible does not mention Sarah in the story when God asked Abraham to go sacrifice Isaac. Did she know about it? If she did, what was her response? How about Isaac? Did he think his father was crazy? Did their relationship survive that episode? What about the servants who had followed them? Did they realise what their master was about to do? Would they have stopped him? What about Abraham? How did he REALLY FEEL about sacrificing his son? Did it hurt as much as it did for me when I realised I had to give up something I loved?
I remember asking God why it had to be so different for me. I told Him that Abraham got Isaac back, but I had nothing. It’s funny how I can look back and see that I was wrong.
There are times in our lives when obedience hurts like hell. Think about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane: the man cried so hard that his sweat pores began to bleed; that must have been some pain. He begged the Father to find another way, but his desire to obey was stronger than his desire to quit, so he took the hard, painful way.
After walking a little farther away from them, Jesus fell to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, do not give me this cup of suffering. But do what you want, not what I want.”Matthew 26:39
Did Mike ever find out why God didn’t want him in the first school? I have no clue, but in the school where God sent him, he found his purpose and his life was never the same. Today, Mike Bamiloye is one of the most celebrated Christain ministers, and his drama now turned movie ministry has led so many to Christ and still does, even by this movie ‘The Train’.
Did I find out why God didn’t want me in that relationship? I didn’t. There was nothing was wrong with the man; God just had a different path for me, and though it might have been painful at the junction of that decision, I can see where I am today, and I know that I am right where I am supposed to be.
Through Jesus’ painful sacrificial obedience, humanity was snatched from the clutches of death and hell, and we gained salvation and a chance of eternal life. Our obedience will not always be a walk in the park, many will come with deep scars like the ones on Jesus’ hands, but our Father will heal every pain and restore even what we never knew we lost.