NOW YOU KNOW HOW I FEEL!
Those were the words I heard within me a few days ago after speaking with Angel and although I can’t remember whether or not I cried, I remember being very emotional and feeling goosebumps all over. Allow me to take you on a short journey into my adventurously tumultuous past.
This journey started in August 2001. While I was in an American prison, Econet had just opened for business in Nigeria selling sim cards to everyone that was interested in getting a personal mobile line. For the equivalent of $300, you could get yours. My father was among the first 500,000 Nigerians to get a sim with a number that many people would eventually associate with my name. And so for N32,000 a sim card with phone number 0802300**** became the possession of the Akisanmi family.
Upon my deportation, sorry, arrival back into the country in November 2001, I was gifted with this mobile number that was purchased by my dad a few months earlier. I still thought it funny that a prodigal like me would be worthy of any gift after bringing such shame to the family. But then again, I bless God for putting me amidst a family that loves me like the prodigal son’s father did: unconditionally.
Fast forward to 2015. I had misplaced the phone that had the sim card and procrastinated on going to Airtel office to retrieve it. Procrastination can be expensive, I would later discover. By the time I went to Airtel’s office to retrieve the line 1 year later, I was told it was too late to retrieve. I was told the line was back in the system to be repurchased by whoever could lay hold of the new sim card anywhere in the country.
Fast forward to December 5, 2018. My friend and mentor, Theophilus, sent me a message on how he had tried to no avail to reach me on my defunct line but always got a “wrong number” response from a lady who kept picking the call. Though we chat on Whatsapp frequently with my new line, he was trying to call to send birthday greetings on October 31 when the strange woman answered.
And then an idea dropped in my heart. The idea of contacting the new owner of my former line and negotiating a deal wherein I’ll be able to repossess my line back. I’m always one that was given to a new challenge especially when it came to negotiating a seemingly-impossible deal. I mean, how can you contact someone you don’t know from Adam and convince them to sell you a line that you claim is dear to your heart. With my experience on negotiations (courtesy of Herb Cohen’s YOU CAN NEGOTIATE ANYTHING) & with God on my side, I proceeded to make the call to the strange woman in possession of my line.
I was nervous at first but I summoned courage after a few bites of sugarcane and ewa agoyin and fried fish. The call was shorter than I expected. I’m sure it was more of God’s help than my negotiation prowess that made it quite a short conversation.
I explained to the woman at the other end of the line my dilemma: my line was lost 3 years ago, I tried to retrieve it 2 years ago, friends have been calling me on it for over 1 year now and I was wondering what it would cost me to get it back right now. I asked her how much she would charge me to sell the line back and she asked me to make an offer that would help her get another line. I offered to pay N5,000 and was surprised that she accepted without a challenge. What she didn’t know was that I was willing to pay up to N50k for that line (even though I didn’t have even 5k at the moment of negotiation). The mobile number meant that much to me.
I asked her for her location and was told Port Harcourt. Thanks to Canon’s sponsorship of NiPHEC in 2017, I had gone on a photography training tour to over 25 cities in Nigeria and made new friends. Port Harcourt was one of the cities I made the most friends and I didn’t hesitate to call one of them, Angel, to help seal the deal.
I sent Angel the money to help meet the now-former owner of my former line. She called me a few days ago to give me the good news that she was now in possession of my newly prized possession.
NOW YOU KNOW HOW I FEEL!
That was the phrase I heard in my heart when Angel dropped the call. I felt God telling me the length at which he went to redeem mankind from the loss that occurred at the Garden of Eden. I understood the price He was willing to pay to ensure we become His prized possession once again. And although it took thousands of years later for our Heavenly Father to send His Son, the sacrifice was worth it.
Like the sim card, God could easily have settled for a new race of human being and wiped out the generation of Adam and start with a clean slate. I mean think of it, a new sim card costs less than N100 now. But Adam’s line was precious to Him. And if it had required even our Heavenly Father to die along WITH Jesus just to redeem us, He would have done it without hesitation.
I was emotional. Emotional because of how God seems to use the everyday situations & problems of my life to teach me one or two divine lessons about Himself & His ways. I was full of joy because my sim card that was once lost is now found and redeemed to be mine till death do us part 😁.
Although Angel has yet to give Seun Akisanni the sim card, he’s nonetheless happy that he has recovered what was formerly rightfully his, courtesy of his father. And just like the scenario in which Angel is yet to meet me to hand over my possession, there is coming a day when the Son will hand us over to His Father officially. Oh, what emotional day that will be for me.
This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. John 3:16-17
As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ this season, let’s be conscious afresh of the fact that his birth was the price that would eventually redeem us to the Father. Let’s be mindful of this and do the needful.
NOW YOU KNOW HOW I FEEL!