“Turn your bibles with me to the book of Romans 8:28.” The minister said, he wiped the sweat on his face with his handkerchief.
Someone from the congregation read aloud
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to the will of God.”
“I will like you to turn this verse of the scriptures to a prayer that all things will work together for your good. Whatever it is you have been waiting upon the Lord for, go ahead and mention it in prayers.” The Minister said aloud as the congregation raised their voices in prayer.
“Sister Nonso prayed hard.”
Chinonso was in her late twenties, twenty-eight to be precise, and she was still unengaged to any Brother, none was forth coming. Her prayer point had suddenly become God's provision of Life-partner for more than two years now.
Now that the minister asked them to pray that all things work together for their good, she had turned it to her usual prayer point. ‘Lord please bring me my Life-partner’.
Chinonso Akubueze was a committed steward in the Church she attended. She was an outspoken person which made people regarded her as a lousy person, she was fast to express her opinion on any issue, which made some people to dislike her. Sometimes she prayed that people would love her more, she even pretended to be a quiet person a number of times, but it didn’t work as she couldn’t cheat on nature. Nevertheless, everyone liked her caring and open attitude, she was quick to notice a down-casted brother, and would not stop at inquiring what the problem was.
God spoke to her heart just as the prayer session ended, that she should approach the brother that was seated directly in front of her.
“Good afternoon Ma.” The Brother replied politely.
“My name is…” Chinonso wanted to say as Chijioke finished the line.
“Chinonso, am I right?” Chijioke said.
“Yes, you know my name?” Chinonso said surprised.
“But I don’t know yours.” Nonso continued.
“Who doesn’t? Anyway my name is Chijioke.” He answered.
“Oh what a nice name. Anyway the Holy Spirit asked me to walk up to you.” Chinonso informed him.
“Really?” He said surprised.
“Yes Brother Chijioke.” Nonso responded trying to be as polite as possible, she felt this was most likely the will of God for her.
“Anyway whatever it is the Lord would reveal sooner or later.” Chijioke said.
“Yes I agree.” She replied.
“Alright thank you for yielding to the Holy Spirit. Take care of yourself Ma.” Chijioke entered his car.
Nonso returned to the Church building to look for Ebuka her friend. They both lived together in a two-bedroom flat, they always walked home together since they attended the same church. They were colleagues at Denster Microfinance Bank.
She searched around the building, but Ebuka was gone.
She decided to walk home alone, as she walked she thought on why God would have ask her to speak to a Brother she never knew. Maybe she was beginning to receive answers to her prayers at last; she thought probably Chijioke was God’s will for her after all.
As she walked home she expressed in faith repeatedly, “I receive him in Jesus name.”
She was glad at what happened. She hurried home to give the news to her friend.
Chinonso dropped her bag as she entered the living room and hurriedly mutter a few prayers. Once she was done, she called out Chimebuka’s name.
“Yes” she answered.
“You are back.” She cleaned her hands with the napkin she had brought along from the kitchen.
She noticed someone entered the house and guessed it was her friend.
“Yes I am back, but why did you leave me behind in church.” Nonso queried.
“I am sorry; I noticed you were quite engrossed in your discussion with that Brother.” She was referring to Chijioke.
“Nevertheless you should have waved at me when you were leaving.”
“Don’t mind me. I apologize.” Ebuka said.
“Not to worry. I think God is beginning to answer to my request.” Nonso started the gist.
“How do you mean?”
“I mean my prayers about a Life-partner.” Nonso said as she removed her bag from where it was placed, and sat comfortably.
“Really?” Tell me some more. Ebuka, who was standing with arms akimbo before, found somewhere to seat on the small table in the living room very close to Nonso to hear the full gist.
“I think God is directing me towards Brother Chijioke.” Nonso removed her shoes one after the other gently.
“Was that what you guys were discussing after the service? I mean did he propose to you?” Chimebuka got more interested in the discussion.
“Not at all” Nonso replied.
“Then what do you mean?” Ebuka inquired.
“I just have a knowing in my heart that he is the ONE.” Nonso explained herself.
“Oh, is that all?” Ebuka who was already engaged to her fiancée three years now, understood the joy of been loved.
“Yes, I think God is beginning to open a door for me.”
“Anyway that’s good, I am happy for you but I think it calls for more prayers instead. If God has said it, then He will complete it, so go ahead and pray. I don’t want you to be a victim of costly assumption.”
“Alright then if you say so. But I know it when God speaks to me.” Chinonso said as she carried her bag with her shoes and headed for her room.”
They both had separate rooms in the two bedrooms flat, but they shared the every other part of the house. They cooked together; they had become sisters after working together for two years in the bank.
It was two months since Chinonso received this leading from the Holy Spirit; she had become Chijioke’s friend from that day on. She asked him for his phone number, but she did not apply enough wisdom. She called him every week and sent him messages often.
At first Chijioke received her hand of friendship warmly, he felt it was because of the instruction God gave her, but he later stopped enjoying this new friendship he found himself. He began to think she was trying to impose herself on him. He thought she was one of the ladies in church that tries to attach themselves to any available brother because they are quite old enough for marriage and no brother is forth-coming. He believed if it was God that sent her his way, then God Almighty would also cause him to like her. Since God was not an author of confusion. Probably Nonso liked his appearance and out of her outspoken ability walked up to him.
Chijioke opened the door to see who it was that knocked severally.
“Who do we have here?” Chijioke said as he flung the door open.
“Good afternoon Brother Chijioke.” Nonso said as she stepped in.
“Afternoon Ma.” Chijioke received his visitor.
Chijioke was a comfortable bachelor; he worked in a big auditing firm, lived in a three bedroom apartment and owns his personal car.
He was not engaged to any lady, he just broke his relationship few months ago, he also wanted a new relationship; although he feared that a new relationship might bruise his scar. As much as he wanted to love and be loved, Nonso never struck him as a choice, neither as God’s will nor His will.
“I thought you were going to come later in the evening.” Chijioke said as he dropped a tray before Nonso who was already seated.
“Yea, I planned to come later in the evening, but since I had something to retrieve in town this afternoon I decided to come over, so that I can take my rest later in the evening.
“Thank God you arrived well.” Chijioke said as he offered her His album.
“Thank you Sir.” She replied.
They raised several discussions from their undergraduate days to their working experiences. Chijioke tried his best to be polite as much as possible.
Nonso raised the topic that had bothered her for months now stylishly.
“Brother Chijioke, you have not even said anything to me about God’s will for you in marriage.”
Chinonso took the courage to start off the discussion.
“You mean my fiancée?”
“Yes of course.”
“Well am I supposed to come to you with her for counseling?”
Nonso felt that was quite rude. What was he insinuating? Was she intruding into his privacy?
“Anyway I was just kidding, I am not engaged but I know God will do it in His timing.” Chijioke added.
Chinonso who didn’t like the response she received quickly dropped the subject in a godly manner.
“It is well, may the Lord see us through.”
“I am sorry if I said anything to offend you, talk to me, what about your fiancé?”
Although Chijioke was not interested in her profile he wanted to cover up for his rudeness.
“Oh that? Maybe some other time, I have to take my leave.” Chinonso stood to her feet as she was ready to take her leave.
Chinonso knew God had not yet spoken to Chijioke that she would be his wife, considering the way he reacted to her question the other day. She knew the way he related with her didn’t show any sign of interest in her. He never returned her calls; he scarcely replied her messages too. Nonso was almost giving up, why did God then said she should walk up to him if He only wanted to make a mockery of her.
Chinonso prayed some more concerning the situation; she prayed that God would open his eyes to see her. She prayed against every form of distraction that could prevent him from noticing her.
Francis sat at the waiting lounge expecting his Cousin to come and pick him from the airport.
“Here you are.” Francis said as he sighted Chijioke.
“Why did it take you so long?” Francis stood to his feet to hug his cousin.
“Mehn, I am sorry. It’s so good to see you after two years.”
Chijioke said as he received the warm hug.
Francis, Chijioke’s cousin had left Nigeria over two years ago when the company he worked for had transferred him to their branch in the United States. He had requested his transfer back to Nigeria because he cherished his homeland.
“So tell me, has many things changed in Nigeria while I was away?” Francis said as Chijioke drove the car to his apartment.
“Yes, a lot.” Chijioke replied in the affirmative.
“Can’t you see the roads are now better?” Chijioke directed his left hand towards the glass and held on to the steering with the right hand.
“That’s good; I can see there have been improvements. I guess your Governors have begun to travel outside the country more.” Francis said.
“You mean it is because our Governors now travel overseas and have compared our roads with the ones they have abroad, that is why we have changes?”
“Yes of course.” Francis answered.
“Have they not been travelling before now? I only think they are beginning to bring some sanity into their governance.” Chijioke said on.
“Anyway how often do you experience power cut?” Francis asked.
“Then I guess there are not too many changes.
Chijioke reduced his speed as he turned into his street.
It’s been six months since Chinonso received the leading to approach Chijioke, and nothing has come out of it. She had fasted and prayed for Chijioke to receive her.
“My dear, I know that God brought Eve to Adam and not Adam to Eve. So I am sure God wouldn’t have you propose to Brother Chijioke.” Chimebuka said to her friend as she turned the plantain she was frying.
“I agree and I don’t intend to do such thing.” Nonso replied from where she peeled the two boiled eggs they were going to eat.
“Good, did you say God told you he would be your husband” Ebuka tried to confirm.
“Not exactly, the Holy Spirit inspired me to walk over to him.”
“Is that all? So God never said that he was your Life-partner then?” Ebuka said.
“What do you mean?” Chinonso dropped what she was doing.
“What I mean is that since God never said that in particular, Chijioke was His will for you then maybe He is not then. And you should stop waiting for him to propose.”
Ebuka removed the plantain that was done from the frying pan and turned off the gas cooker, to let it cool off.
“At least I know when God is speaking to me. Moreover we did not hear the instruction together.” Nonso said back.
“Yes I totally agree that you received the instruction, but you have just told me what the instruction is, and I have only applied wisdom just to put you on the safer side. Don’t forget wisdom is profitable to direct.”
Chimebuka took each one’s plate and served the food.
“Is this food enough?” She interrupted the discussion.
“Yes please, but God is not an author of confusion like you always say.”
Ebuka returned to the discussion.
“Yes, and nobody is confused here, or are you?” Ebuka handed over her food to her.
“I am not, I just believed this was what I have been praying about for years, and now that God was leading me to someone. I believe he is the ONE.”
She placed her food on a tray and walked to the sitting room.
“The same God should have led Brother Chijioke to you; maybe God just wanted you both to be friends.” She suggested.
“Friends? But God didn’t speak to me before I chose you as a friend.” Nonso answered.
“Don’t tell me you are attracted to him because he is a rich bachelor. Anyway keep praying that God would work out his perfect will. I hope you didn’t tell Chijioke that God led you to him?”
Ebuka opened their small fridge to bring out two bottles of water for them.
“Yes, I did. Any problem?” Nonso said.
“You did what? You shouldn’t have done that, you should have just walked up to him and say hi and that would be fine. You would still be carrying out God’s instruction that way.”
Ebuka settled down to her meal.
“Sister Nonso, meet my cousin.”
Chijioke introduced Francis to Nonso who stopped to say hi when he noticed Chijioke standing beside his car after the Sunday service.
“Oh! Good afternoon Brother.” Nonso said politely.
“Afternoon, I am Francis.” He stretched his hands for a shake.
“Chinonso” She replied with a smile.
Chinonso added almost immediately, in her outspoken manner.
“You were one of the new comers we had in church today?”
“Yes” he answered.
“Thank you for coming to church.”
“I will be on my way now.” Nonso said as she turned to leave.
Francis liked her almost immediately. He felt an uncommon aura around him. She carried a fragrance he could not explain.
“I hope you enjoyed our service today?” Chijioke asked his cousin as they hopped into the car.
“Perfectly, excuse me, is that the Sister that you said always tried to impose herself on you? He was referring to Chinonso.
“Who? You mean that lady?” Chijioke said.
“Yes” Francis answered.
“She is the one; she has suddenly become my friend for the past six months. I really don’t know what she wants. She comes to my house and pays me visit even when I don’t return them.” Chijioke said.
“And is that why you said she was imposing herself on you? Anyway I don’t see it that way; maybe she likes you without any ulterior motive you never can say. More over I like her comportment.” Francis declared.
They discussed Chinonso as they drove home.
It’s been four months since Francis arrived from the United States; his likeness for Chinonso had grown by the day. He always wanted to be in Church early enough to see her.
Nonso noticed Francis’ attention towards her, but she did not pay too much attention back since it was Chijioke that God directed her to.
“Chijioke when did you become as wicked as this?” Francis came visiting his cousin. He had moved to his own apartment after settling down in the country.
“Please can I have the direction to her house then, if someone told you today were her birthday, you should at least call to send your wishes.” Francis said.
“That’s your business, ‘I will send her a text message when I am free.”
“I will advice you don’t get unnecessarily attached to this Sister.” Chijioke urged, he was referring to Chinonso.
“Thank you, I can take care of myself. But I doubt if I have ever told you I liked a lady like this before.” Francis said.
“Whatever, just be careful.” Chijioke said.
“Thank you, no wonder your last girlfriend jilted you, because you don’t know how to show care.” Francis said jokingly as he picked his car keys and walked to the door.
“She did not jilt me; she only broke up with me.” Chijioke raised his voice at his cousin who was already at the door.
“Look at you, what difference does it make? Anyway goodbye.”
He shut the door.
“Come in.” Nonso said from inside.
“It’s you Brother Francis, please have your seat.”
“Thank you and happy birthday.” He said.
“How did you find your way here, since your cousin did not come with you?” She inquired.
“He gave me the description.”
“Happy birthday once again.”
It was her twenty-ninth birthday.
“Please have this gift from the deepest part of my heart.”
Francis said after Nonso had offered her a glass of juice. He was happy that no one was around the living room with them.
Nonso collected the pack from him with a broad smile, it was not only a pack but it came alongside a bouquet of flower, and a small decorated box was attached to the flower.
She dropped the pack on the chair beside her, but she was inquisitive of what was attached to the flower. She opened the small box right away and was amazed at what she saw.
By the time she raised her head to ask him what the ring was for; Francis was already on his knees.
“Chinonso Akubueze, I love and admire you a lot, please will you marry me?”
Chinonso did not know what to say in particular as joy filled her heart, whether to go and pray about it or not. It was the best birthday gift she received that day.
God was not where she was looking, rather God showed her the direction HE would come from.
........................THE END .........................
NB: Characters in this story and every other ones are not intended to portray any group of people, they are mere fictions.