(BY NGOZI ADIGHIBE)
“Regardless of situations and circumstances, the safest place to be is under the pavilion of God.”
This was the submission of the Rt. Rev. Dr. Humphrey Olumakaiye, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Lagos at the grand finale of the 2018 Carnival For Christ, which was held at the old parade ground, Area 10, Garki, Abuja. The Bishop who spoke on the theme for this year, “God Our Refuge and Help,” said that whenever a person is in God’s will, he or she can face even the most dangerous of situations because God is with that person. He said with God, “there is a hundred percent assurance of uninterrupted and impenetrable security,” because God does not slumber or sleep. According to him, no matter how skillful, excellent, and gallant the security group may be, they will sleep within 24 hours and therefore, they are not as reliable as God. He said God’s security is 24/7 and so, anyone who believes in Him should not fear or be afraid.
The erudite scholar observed that the world today is besieged with terrorists’ attacks, and there is so much poverty in the nation that causes one to question whether God has abandoned His people. He said many are in the spiritual valley of trouble, defeat, death, dryness, shame, disappointment and in situations where all human wisdom and ability have failed them; explaining that at such times, man may be weak internally, but God is able to give him strength. Bishop Olumakaiye cited several Biblical passages to buttress his point that God is ever present to help His people whenever they serve Him with the whole of their hearts and call on Him in times of trouble. He mentioned examples of individuals in the Bible, including David, who were rescued out of turbulent situations when they called on God; stating that man is not alone in his struggles.
The Bishop of Lagos Diocese debunked the belief that once one becomes a Christian, there is no more pain or suffering; explaining that a Christian will encounter difficulties as he or she runs the Christian race, but that there is hope because a believer has God as a refuge and helper. He emphasized that nothing can help a person, except God; stressing that God always rescues His people from shame and destruction and He will never allow His children to be put to shame or intimidated. Bishop Olumakaiye defined strength as power and boldness and refuge as something or someone, a person turns to for assistance; pointing out that God’s power is unlimited.
The guest preacher at the grand finale of the 2018 Carnival For Christ programme opined that many times people’s fears are in their minds and imaginary, not real just as in the case of Peter who while walking on water, suddenly began to sink when he looked at the waves. He said Christians must keep their eyes set and focused on Jesus, avoid distractions and refuse to allow the devil intimidate them for them to experience God’s help and have testimonies. The Rt. Rev. Olumakaiye pointed out that distractions limit the operations of God in the life of any individual and concluded that rendering continuous service to God in His house and a persistent and radical lifestyle of prayer and holiness will necessitate the help of God. Bishop Olumakaiye rounded off his message with a series of prayers and declarations for individuals, families, the Church and the nation.
Highpoints of the event include the showcasing of floats representing the nine Archdeaconries in Abuja Anglican Diocese, and match pasts by representatives of the Archdeaconries, Diocesan Schools and Diocesan Organizations, including the Boys and Girls Brigade. Also present at the event was the Primate of All Nigeria Anglican Communion, the Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh and wife, Mrs. Nkasiobi Okoh, Chief Hosts of the event; the Rt. Rev. Simon Mutum, Bishop of Nomadic Mission, the Rt. Rev. Moses Tabwaye, Bishop of Gwagwalada Diocese, the newly consecrated Bishop of Ika Diocese, the Rt. Rev. Godfrey Ekpenisi and a host of other dignitaries and parishioners of Abuja Anglican Diocese.
It was a colourful outing as members of the different Archdeaconries were radiantly dressed in different colours representing their own Archdeaconries.