An Open Spectacle by Praise Chidinma Abraham

An Open Spectacle by Praise Chidinma Abraham

Ebenezer had always cherished competence. 

As a Masters degree holder in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Lagos, he knew his way around machines like no one else. He worked for Klide Motor Venture Inc., the top car manufacturer and international trade company in Nigeria, for five years and earned big money.

However, the moment he gave his life to Christ genuinely, he began to face severe persecution in his workplace. His colleagues began to see him as a fanatic and ostracised him. Because he was privy to the fraudulent activities of the top stakeholders of the company when handling government contracts, he became uncomfortable with his workplace settings. Under severe conviction from the Holy Spirit, he exposed their schemes to the media. However, it backfired because the media tagged him as a whistleblower and he was sacked.

As a single father of his only daughter, Mercy, it became quite difficult to live the life of affluence they were used to. Lizzy, the woman he had loved and impregnated out of wedlock when he was still in the world, died during childbirth, thus he was saddled with the responsibility to cater for his daughter all alone.

He began to work as a freelance mechanic but business was really slow and his few customers neither paid quickly nor enough, if they ever did.
 
Soon, his landlord pushed him out of the face-me-I-face-you apartment that he rented after his company retracted their benefits which included a big house and a car. All he could proudly call his possessions were the motorcycle he used his savings to buy to serve as an additional source of income, and his daughter.

He had to go camp in the house of Baba Oluwagbemi, his spiritual father and discipler, in the meantime.

"Baba," he asked Baba Oluwagbemi one evening as they sat on the steps of his house.
Mercy was playing tag with some butterflies in the compound. "Why does it seem as if the world is against me? I'm getting fed up with all the things happening to me. Why is it so hard for people to see the truth?"

Baba Olugbemi, who had been quietly reading his Bible before Ebenezer abruptly voiced his thoughts, was momentarily startled.

He looked at Ebenezer thoughtfully and said, "My son, God didn't promise us a smooth ride the moment we gave our lives to him. Many people erroneously come into the Kingdom thinking God is like an ATM to fulfil their every whim. But that isn't so.

"Look at my wife and me. Though we've been serving God faithfully for years, we haven't gotten a physical fruit of the womb and it's been almost fifteen years since we married. But that hasn't stopped us from trusting God.

"Jesus told us to expect persecution. He said, 'Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you for my sake.' He also said, 'Be of good cheer I have overcome the world. Ebenezer, If you do not faint in due season, you will receive your reward. Do not ever be ashamed of the truth. That is the power of God."

"Hmmm... Thank you, Baba. Though it's not easy, your words have encouraged me. I'll just keep trusting God."

"That's the spirit, son. God will amaze you only if you follow him wholeheartedly."

Just then, Ebenezer's make-shift 'Chinko' phone rang. It was an unknown number.

"Baba, please excuse me for a minute."

Baba Oluwagbemi gestured for him to go ahead.

He stood up and strolled a little distance as he picked up the call.
"Hello!"

"Hello! Please am I on to Mr Ebenezer Mosunmola?" a female voice asked with a slight British accent.

"Yes, this is him. Who am I speaking with?"

"Oh, wonderful! This is Elizabeth Crenshaw, the secretary of Vernii Corporation's CEO. We received your application for the position of Motor and Engines Consultant and have reviewed your C.V. A confirmatory email was sent to you some days ago..."

Ebenezer's android phone had developed a fault and he was using the small vintage phone Baba had loaned him, so there was no way he could have seen the email. This was a miracle call.

The lady continued, "...you've been shortlisted and are required to be present tomorrow at the company for the final stage of the interview."

Ebenezer was tongue-tied for a second. Was this how God worked his wonders?

"Oh, yes. Thank you very much for calling. I'll be there."

The moment he got off the phone, he did a happy jig and ran to Baba to share the testimony. Baba smiled wistfully and nodded his head as they both appreciated God.

That night, as Ebenezer got on his knees to pray—after he had tucked Mercy in and had done some pseudo-interview practice—he had an impression in his spirit from the Holy Spirit.

"If any man smites you on your cheek, turn to him the other."

He was confused. All he wanted was to escape the torment that his life had become. He'd wanted to plead for favour over the interview tomorrow. He had to nail this job; his survival depended on it. This 'slapping' business didn't make sense to him.

"God, I know this is your word, but it's irrelevant to what I currently need. Humanly speaking, it is stupidity to turn the other cheek..."

"My grace is sufficient for you."

Disoriented from the strange injunction which he knew was from God, he went to sleep.

~~~

Read: I was born into a Pastor's family but didn't get a lot of things right about the Bible

The next morning, he woke up by 5 am and got set for the interview. He took his daughter along. Mrs Oluwagbemi, Baba's wife was going to get her goods delivered so she wouldn't be home. Baba was too elderly to leave alone with a hyperactive child.
Besides, Mercy was a sweet and very cooperative five-year-old. He was sure he'd have no problem with her coming along with him.

After Baba had prayed for him, Ebenezer zoomed off on his motorcycle with Mercy straddled on his back.

As he entered into the hectic traffic that was typical of the Lagos road on a Monday morning, he was greeted by a shocking realisation—this place was so jam-packed that it'd be a miracle to get to the Island where the company was located as early as he had intended. Tension was heightened in the frustrated drivers. It was a survival-of-the-fittest situation.

He began to pray that he'd make it in time for the interview which was slated for 8:00 am.

Carefully, he weaved his way through the throng of cars. He got to a junction and swerved to avoid a huge pothole. Unknown to him a Venza jeep was reversing at the junction to allow an incoming car to cross the road. This caused him to hit the bumper of the jeep, slightly scratching the brake lights.

The impact was minor but Ebenezer wanted to make sure his daughter was okay.

He turned back and said, "Are you fine, sweetheart?"

She nodded. He breathed a sigh of relief.

"Shit!" a chic-looking man not older than him came out of the jeep, cursing.

"I'm so sorry for this, sir. It was a mistake," Ebenezer said.

"Are you crazy? Do you know how expensive this car is? You wretched, good-for-nothing dim-witted fool!"

Without a beat, the man walked up to Ebenezer and landed three hot slaps on his cheeks.

The sting was so much that Ebenezer staggered, seeing stars. Anger soared in him and his muscles twitched. But somewhere at the back of his mind, he remembered the scripture God brought to him as he knelt in prayer the night before.

"God, you have to help me now!" he thought as he placed his hand on his cheeks to nurse the tingling sensation.

Suddenly, his daughter began to cry and say to the man, "What did my dad do to you that you slapped him like this?"

"It's okay, Mercy," Ebenezer pacified her.

Even the passersby and those who had witnessed the scene were furious on his behalf.

"Ah-ahn! That was too much. These pompous rich people sha."

"Abi this man dey craze ni? Why he con slap this bobo? If na me, I go don give am times two."

"Mtcheeew! Wonders shall never end. Shebi he was the one that reversed?"

"It is well," Ebenezer simply said to them.

The Venza man however kept ranting angrily, but Ebenezer calmly said, "I'd have waited to work out how to handle the damage but I'm in a haste to somewhere important, so I can't waste any more time." He pulled out a sheet of paper and wrote his number there.
"Here's my line. Call me so we can fix this. God bless you, sir."

The man was shocked and just kept staring dumbly at Ebenezer as he picked up his sniffling daughter and rode off.

Ebenezer was on the verge of tears as he replayed the humiliating scene, but he pushed it back just thanking the Holy Spirit for his help to respond in a way that made Heaven proud.

He knew if he'd reacted as his flesh wanted, both of them would have left that place bloodied. The pandemonium would have compounded the traffic, and he'd arrive late to the interview.
But now, he'd provided a good example for his albeit-distraught daughter, an impression to the observers—some of whom he was sure thought he was a big fool— and hopefully a message to that man.
Under his breath, he prayed for that man.

Thankfully, he got to the company's headquarters in record time.

As he approached the reception desk, he tried to pet his still-sobbing daughter. The whole issue had affected her more than he initially thought.

"Why are you crying, baby girl?" a beautiful lady that looked like a half-caste said as she squatted beside him to calm Mercy down.

"A man slapped my daddy."

The lady looked up at him, concerned, and his heart skipped a beat. Her eyes were a mesmerising shade of brown.

"I'm so sorry about that sir, whatever the circumstances might have been. You don't look good. You have welts on your cheeks."

"Oh," he touched his cheeks and grimaced at the pain. "If you'd just show me to the bathroom, I'll go freshen up."

"It's just around the corner. I'll keep your daughter preoccupied."

When he returned, looking and feeling much better, he noticed that the lady was dotting on Mercy who equally seemed taken with her.

"I'm Elizabeth Crenshaw," she said when they got talking and he told her he was here for the interview. "I wish you good luck in your interview today."

"You were the one who called me yesterday!"

She beamed. "Then, you must be Mr Ebenezer Mosunmola. You were the only one on the list I was prompted to call."

She was a believer, he realised as they kept talking. That explained the peaceful aura about her.

Soon, the few selected interviewees were called in. The CEO singlehandedly chose to pass each of them through one-on-one scrutiny. Ebenezer was the last one on the list.

As he stepped into the interview room, his eyes widened at who it was that sat before him.
The CEO, one Mr Dennis Akinwande, was no other than the man who had slapped him on his way here!

Mr Dennis's shocked facial expression was even more pronounced. He removed his glasses that he'd been using to peruse Ebenezer's credentials and pointed. "Y-you?"

Ebenezer gulped and did a quick thanks to God in his mind that he didn't cave in to his flesh when he met the man earlier.
"Good day, sir."

Dennis was visibly disturbed. "How did you—? Wait, don't tell me you came for this interview... You're the brilliant brain with these top-notch credentials."

Ebenezer slowly nodded.

Dennis stood, crossed his arms and looked at him for a long time.
"Ever since the moment you left, I've not been myself. Why didn't you react?"

Ebenezer heaved a breath and said, "Because that was what God would have me do. Jesus got ridiculed and slapped for my sake. Why shouldn't I show love to others?"

Dennis's shoulders drooped.
"I feel so embarrassed and ashamed of myself right now. I had a heated argument with my wife this morning and I just transferred the aggression onto you."

"It's okay sir. I understand the pressure. But you can have peace in your home if you know Christ."

Silence reigned for a few seconds as Dennis pondered Ebenezer's words.
"What about the little girl that was with you? Where's she?"

"Oh, you mean Mercy? She's my daughter. She's currently waiting for me with your secretary sir. I hope it's no problem."

"Not at all. I was just curious. Her tears haunted me, you know."

"Yeah, I know. She sure knows how to cry hauntingly," Ebenezer said in a funny way that made the CEO chuckle.

"Does this mean I'm forgiven?"

"Yes. Completely."

They smiled at each other.
The ice of awkwardness between them was broken.

Dennis switched to professional mode as he picked up Ebenezer's C.V.
"Here, it says you worked for Klide Motor venture for three years as their top mechanical engineer. That's like the biggest company in this industry before us. Why did you leave?"

Ebenezer was tempted to twist the truth to his advantage but he chose the better way. "I was laid off, sir. I exposed a fraudulent coup amid the top executives and was fired for whistleblowing."

"Hmmmm... I see. I must confess, I'm very impressed by your convictions and virtues. Your kind is rare to find."

"Thank you for your compliments, sir."

"As the one with the final say in this company, I'd say, I've found the perfect man for this job. Just give this to my secretary on your way out. Your duty begins, starting tomorrow."

Ebenezer was thrown off guard. Just like that? The interview wasn't even as intense and thorough as he had envisaged.
"Wow! Thank you very much, sir."

"And, Mr Ebenezer?"

"Yes, sir?"

"Maybe sometime, during one lunch break, you could tell me about Jesus."

"Of course, sir."
Grinning like a man who'd just won the lottery, he bounded out of the office and went to fetch his daughter who was playing a dress-up game on Elizabeth's I-pad.

He carried her and threw her up a couple of times till she was squealing. "Were you a good girl?" he asked as he playfully pinched her cute nose.

Elizabeth watched them with a smile and said, "My, my, sir, your daughter has won my heart. She's an absolute angel."

"Yes, I'm blessed to have her. Oh, the CEO asked me to give you this." He handed the envelope to her.

The secretary read it and smiled sweetly. "I'm so happy for you, sir. Seems like you're the chosen candidate. It'll be nice to have you around and see more of Mercy too."

"You wouldn't believe it if I told you that our boss was the one who slapped me."

"What?!" She looked positively shocked.

"Yeah, it's a long story."

"Well, I'd love to hear all about it soon."

"Sure thing."

As he looked at this pretty, smiling lady, his heart began to race—something that had not happened since Lizzy died.

"Lord? Am I okay?" he mused as he scurried out, his daughter in tow. "Is this just an aftermath of too much giddiness with joy?"

"All things work together for good for those who love me, who are unashamed to showcase me in their everyday lives," he heard the soft, smiling response of the Holy Spirit in his heart.



14/Post a Comment/Comments

Please drop a comment and use the Social Media Buttons below to share to friends and family.

  1. Oh my Gosh! Thank you Jesus! My mind is still reeling. 🀯🀯🀯 I can't believe both my stories which I submitted close to the deadline could make the shortlist for the New Man Writing Contest. πŸ₯Ί✨
    Please guys, vote for my story and let's bring the trophy home for the glory of God. πŸ₯³πŸ₯³πŸ₯³

    By the way, I hope you enjoyed and were blessed by this short story. πŸ˜‡ Thanks for reading and voting. πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, wow, wow! The story has won my heart just as the little girl won the heart of the secretary. A very big thank you to the author for the amazing story.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh my God!! Mercy is so cute....then Elizabeth. This is so beautiful.

    God's ways are not truly ours. Who would have imagined? Thank God for God sha if not........

    ReplyDelete
  4. The LORD works in Miraculous ways as far as we trust and obey HIM..
    Thank You Miss Peculiar Praise For This Inspiring Story,May The LORD Continue To Guide You In JESUS Name Ma

    ReplyDelete
  5. So beautiful ☺️

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hello Praise. Your stories are so amazing. Mine also got selected but I must say I've be mesmerised by both of yours. I really pray that God gives us grace to show Him forth through our lives.
    I'll like to connect with you and read any other beautiful stories you have. You can reply with your email it that's okay with you.

    Abiola

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sunday Peculiar10 April 2023 at 14:35

    This is so captivating... I'll love to know how this ends... So many lessons to learn. It is important that we follow God's leading as it will surely lead us to the perfect place.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Goodness! Am I the only one who had a feeling Mr. Ebenezer's employer was the one who hit him?πŸ˜‚✨ Even so, this story was a beautiful piece! Along with little Mercy's supreme adorableness, Ebenezer's obedience in all things is an encouragement to all of us. We should gladly be fools and open spectacles for our King, for us to be refined and for Him to draw others closer to Him!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also, could there possibly be something blossoming between Ebby and Lizzy? Hmm? *wink wink* πŸ˜πŸ˜‚

      Delete
  9. An OPEN SPECTACLE!!!! πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯
    Well done Praise!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I enjoyed the story very much. Well done author.

    ReplyDelete
  11. This is a beautiful piece❤️

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Please drop a comment and use the Social Media Buttons below to share to friends and family.