Loved (A mini-series): Episode 2 – Angels on Assignment

Written by Joy A. Adewumi

Loved Episode 1 Recap

‘Okay! Commercial break over!’ I announced after few short minutes of silence. ‘What happened in your third year that made you start praying for me in your fourth?’

He sighed. ‘I had a close call.’


I was no more enlightened after that vague response than I was before it. ‘With death?’

‘No. With giving up!’ He replied.

I stayed quiet. I figured he would explain further when he had gathered his thoughts. Waiting was out of character for me, so I was glad when he continued.

‘I was tired. I was bone-deep weary. I was done struggling. I was through with being self-destructive and edging towards depression-ville. I needed to save myself and fast. I was beginning to think no one else could help me except me. For as long as I’d lived, I’d known all things evil to be associated with being sinful and for almost as long, I’d repented and prayed over and over for a new life. I was tired of being in between. I wanted so badly to be a Christian and to live a righteous life. Looking back now, I suppose I wanted that because it was what was expected of me, and I’d never really thought I had any other choice. But it was proving impossible with each passing day. I was becoming a worse hypocrite with every breath I took, every lie I told and every battle I lost.’ He sighed deeply and my heart ached for the poor young man who wasted away looking for something that probably wasn’t his lot in life. I mean, there were tons of people who lived great lives and never heard about Jesus. It had to mean the Jesus deal was not for everyone.

He continued. ‘Then one day, I thought I’d had enough. I knew some people who were really who they professed to be. They had the joy they sang about. They radiated the peace they preached, and they were the only reason I held out for so long. I believed if they had it, it had to be real. I just needed to keep trying. I did that till I couldn’t anymore. My mental health was failing. I was depressed. I felt less with each defeat. So, I figured, being a Christian wasn’t for everyone. Good for those who had it all figured out. I wasn’t cut out to be one and with that, I allowed my inner self shine through. I stopped going to church and simply lived as me.’

‘Did that help?’ I asked completely engrossed in his recap. This was after all my school of thought too.

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‘Help? Depends. Did I stop struggling? Naturally. The flesh that wanted dominance finally had its way. Did I still feel like a failure who couldn’t meet up to expectation? Sort of. But did I feel better or more fulfilled in life? No. The fact that I’d stopped struggling with my addictions did not mean I was free from them. Though the feeling of not measuring up did a number on my mental health, I didn’t see until I gave up that it wasn’t the real problem. My problems with my academics did not fizzle out automatically either. But you know the worst part of it?’

‘What?’ I was not sure anything could beat all he’d just enumerated.

‘The fact that I didn’t realise, not until I had given it up, was that what I actually gave up was not the possibility of being a genuine Christian but the thread of hope that made me look forward to each new day. When I gave up on being a Christian, I realised all the while I was struggling to become one, there was one thing that kept me sane, after all. Hope. Hope that God was interested in my life. Hope that if I prayed hard enough I would overcome that phase and it will turn out for a testimony. When I realised I’d given up the only thing that made me look forward to tomorrow, I figured there was no reason to look forward to it, anyway. I was on a moving train to self-destruction – one that could not be stopped till it got its destination. I might as well just jump out and get it over with quicker, right? It was going to be the same result after all, so why go through the agony of sitting through the whole journey when I could get it done faster by jumping off.’

‘No!’ I whispered. Chills ran down my bones as I imagined this young man being so close to giving up on life itself.

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‘Yes. There was no other way out. Neither side of the fence was working for me, even the fence was not accommodating. I saw no other choice but to just bow out of the game. That was the plan till an unforgettable afternoon happened.’

Of course, here he was so it meant he didn’t go through with his suicide plans, but I couldn’t help the sigh of relief that slipped through my lips. ‘What happened?’ I asked. I’d never been interested in a person’s story much less a story of how they reunited with Jesus, but I couldn’t help my desire to hear this one.

‘By the time I began having suicide ideations, I had left my campus fellowship for a full semester. I had successfully managed to push away anyone who appeared to care, and I’d made it quite clear I was done with them and all they stood for. During that time, a new pastor was ordained to take over, but I was not aware. One fateful afternoon I got an august visitor.’ Pastors… Well, I had a lot to say about those, but no one asked, and I doubted Ayo cared about my scepticism but for some reason the mere sound of the word unnerved me.

Ayo continued, ‘If I knew he was from the church. I certainly wouldn’t have opened my door. In retrospect, God does work in mysterious ways. He came in and introduced himself as a professor in my faculty – which he was – not as the new pastor of my former fellowship. He said he was a member of the faculty’s student advisory board and he had taken particular interest in the steady decline in my grades since the beginning of my second year. He wanted to know if there was any way he could help.’

‘You bought that?’ I asked incredulously. We were in Nigeria for Pete’s sake. I didn’t think professors even in public universities made private calls to failing students.

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‘I didn’t. Though it turned out he was really on that board and thus had access to my records, but I didn’t know that at the time and even if I did, it just didn’t add up. Professors hardly ever played an active role in student advisement even if they are on the advisory board. There was also the fact that I’d never heard of a professor making house calls to failing students. But none of them mattered at that time. I just couldn’t get beyond the fact that someone cared. Cared enough to ask if I needed help. And I didn’t know how loud my subconscious had been crying out for help till that moment. I spilled.’ At this point I knew my face must have reflected pure empathy.

‘Thinking back on that moment as the years passed,’ he continued as he adjusted his bags at his feet. ‘I realised my cry for help wasn’t the sole reason I poured out all my troubles that day. That man did not come as a professor of psychology. He did not come as a student advisor. Those were mere covers. He was an undercover angel on assignment, backed with the full power and authority of the One who had sent him. He was a man on a mission that just had to be fulfilled. So, it was hardly any surprise that the dams of my restraints broke free.’

‘Wow!’ I was dumfounded.

‘Yes, I know. Long story cut short. He made me see I had been trying to become a Christian for all the wrong reasons. And they were the exact reasons I never lasted. I had no real conviction and so I always fell at the slightest provocations. That day, he asked me if I wanted to be saved from that moving train. I said I wanted that more than I needed my next breath. I wanted to live life for real and not have to wander in oblivion and obscurity wondering why I couldn’t find the joy everyone else seemed to have. I just wanted to be alive and free from all the chains that seemed to hold me down. Then he leaned back with a triumphant smile on his face and said, “Whosoever the Son of man shall set free, he shall be free indeed.” Then he declared, “You, Ayomide Ayanloye, are free in Jesus’ name!” While his recollection held my interest from the beginning, the sheer look of joy on his face as he shared this part had me spell bound. It wasn’t the kind of joy you can fake. It was the sort that could only come from the depth of the heart. It was the real deal. A wistful feeling washed over me, but I shook it off.

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‘Elizabeth,’ Ayo called my name and chuckled as that radiant unfeigned joy took over his features, ‘What held me tightly wound together for years suddenly broke and I felt relief and calm for the first time in forever. Afterwards the professor led me to Christ as he made me tell God everything I wanted as I simultaneously gave Him all of me. Then, I realised that Christianity was never a scam neither was it reserved for a select few. Rather, it was all about the conviction we have. I realised more than being a religion, it is a relationship. A very personal relationship between humanity and divinity, mediated by Jesus Christ the Son. He made it possible for such a connection to happen and that’s why He is at the centre of it all. The rest after that has been my nothing-short-of-a-miraculous existence.’

I released a deep sigh when he finished. Stories like this were the ones that made me ponder if I didn’t seek hard enough for understanding before giving up and never looking back. His was sure the most believable testimony I’d ever heard. I didn’t know I’d spoken out loud until he chuckled, and I realised he was chuckling at my statement about the believability of his testimony.

‘So, you began praying for me so that I can also see the light?’ I asked coming back to my actual question.

‘Sort of. It wasn’t like I just remembered and singled you out randomly and began praying. It was at the beginning of my fourth year just a couple of months after I finally gained my freedom. I’d returned to church where I was not-so-shocked to find out that the man who led me to Christ and had been following me up was the actually pastor of my fellowship. It all finally made sense. Anyway, there was a prayer challenge in the fellowship that month. We were to think back on who we were before we saw the Light and try to recollect how lost and helpless we felt. Then we were to start praying for people who were still stuck in that place. If the Holy Spirit ministered any person or persons to us, we were to narrow our prayers to those people till the Holy Spirit releases us. It didn’t matter if we knew them or not. If the Holy Spirit added anyone along the way, we were to take them up in prayers and continue with the previous ones too.’

‘Sounds like the Holy Spirit is in charge.’ I commented with intrigue lacing my tone.

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He chuckled. ‘The Holy Spirit is always in charge in the life of a genuine Christian. And dare I tell you, that communion with Him is the sweetest and most rewarding relationship known to man.’

I simply smiled. I wasn’t so sure about that, but I would allow him to win this one. He looked quite besotted with Jesus.

‘Anyway, I’d been at it for about a month till your name dropped on my mind. I was convinced that your case was a far cry from mine. I simply didn’t want to believe you went through that much struggle as a fifteen-year-old. But the Holy Spirit simply urged me to pray. There’s been other people, but you were the first and longest standing.’ He shrugged as if it meant nothing.

I didn’t know what to make of that. I was truly dumbfounded. ‘That’s been how many years exactly?’

‘Wait, let me do the math…’ He went silent for a few seconds and finally added, ‘Six. Yes, six.’

My jaw dropped and I heard him chuckle yet again. I didn’t think it was funny. ‘Six years is a lot. Did you ever think to stop?’

‘Yes, I did. But not because I was tired of praying for the same person. I figured after three years of praying consistently for you, the desired must have happened. That turned out to be presumptuous of me, though and the Spirit told me expressly to just keep at it. Said, when the desired happened I’d be the first to know.’

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I swallowed. The way this guy talked about God unnerved me. The way he talked about his conversations with the Holy Spirit about me made me uneasy. Little did I know that was the start of the journey of my own moving train.

‘Like I said before, six years is a lot. I find it hard to believe someone out of the sphere of my immediate family has been praying for me for that long.’

His brows furrowed. ‘Surely, there are more than your family members praying for you.’

‘That’s what you think but I’m saying what I know.’ I wasn’t going to launch into explaining why I believed “You are in my prayers” did not always mean the speaker was actually interceding for me.

I continued, ‘What I’m asking is, why would you stick to praying for me for so long? It’s burdensome you know. Besides, what if I didn’t want to be prayed for. Why does no one ever care that I’m fine just the way I am. You all have what works for you and I have what works for me. Why is it so hard for y’all to just accept that this is who I have chosen to be? Y’all don’t see me trying to shove my beliefs down your throat, so why do y’all keep trying to pull me over to your side of the fence? And you doing something so burdensome for the past six years, why didn’t you just reach out to me, preach to me and wash your hands off it?’ My dismay had turned to full-blown annoyance and I had a target.

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‘Elizabeth, why are you picking a bone with the wrong dog?’ Ayo asked looking bemused. ‘For the past six years, it never occurred to you that anyone random was praying for you, the only reason it is suddenly burdensome is because you now know. Now, you must understand that I’m the wrong target for your rage. I was saved to serve. When I signed up for service, I was appointed to my place of primary assignment, which is the place of intercession for you and any others the Holy Spirit ministers to me. I did not choose you randomly. I am simply a man on an assignment and God helping me, I will serve my Commander and do His bidding till I take my last breath. I did not reach out to preach to you or any other person I’ve been asked to pray for, for the same reason. I only do what I am asked to do. I pray for whom I am required to pray for, and I reach out to whom I am required to preach to. It’s the way of doing successful business with the Holy Spirit. It is the only way that works. So, if you need an answer to those questions, I advise you take it up with the Holy Spirit.’

I swallowed. He was right. I couldn’t believe I thought so, but he was right. He already declared from the start that the Holy Spirit was the one in charge. He answered to Him alone and if I needed answers, I needed to take it up with His Commander.

(Episode 2 drops next week Saturday)

Dear reader,

Angels on assignment have always been a central theme in many of my writings because this, I believe is the calling of every believer. We are saved to serve. We are saved so that we can help others out of the miry clay of life. Being an angel on assignment means being to a lost or needy soul what he/she needs most at that time.

Just like the Professor’s concern visit, sometimes it means being a listening hear to a soul starved of attention. It could mean being a friend to someone in dire need of godly companionship. It might even be as seemingly simple as making a random call to someone you haven’t heard from in ages.

However, there is no possible way to know what assignment you must take on at any given time if you are not in sync with the Holy Spirit. He is the Commander of this army of angels on assignment.

Are you saved? Then you are qualified to be enlisted in this army. It is your calling. It is your responsibility. Talk to God today and sign over your life and ask Him to use it as He wills.

Are you unsure of your stance? Do you feel like you are not fit for that army? Well, you can be sure, today. All it takes is one honest conversation with your heavenly Daddy. Don’t shy away from it. The best life changes come from honest conversations. He’s been waiting since forever to have this conversation. Tell Him about where you stand and where you desire to stand and let Him take care of the rest.

Together, I pray, we will run this Christian journey till the end and meet at Christ’s feet in Jesus name. Amen.

Yours in Christ,
Spirit Pen.