Taiwo’s Story of Devine Providence

Taiwo’s Story of Devine Providence

Faith is about trusting God when you have unanswered questions.” ― Joel Osteen. In the fall of 2016, I  left Nigeria to take on a Master’s degree in International Relations at a University in Norway. I was excited and looked forward to a splendid life far different from the one I left behind.  As days turned into weeks and weeks to months, however, my dreams of a colorful and brighter future were fast becoming bleak.  There I was, alone in a strange land. I had no job, relatives, or friends, I struggled to find my daily meals. The thoughts of the big fat debt I incurred for my travel  — collecting interest by the minute— consumed me. Every step I took seemed I was walking against the wind. I had to make some drastic changes.

Taste and See

No one told me life was going to be this hard. In despair one day, I asked, is the bible really true?  Is there any truth to its claims? Can I count on Psalm 34:8  Which says to taste and see that the Lord is good? “I need a change so badly and I will do whatever it took,” I thought to myself. “I will make studying the bible and praying, a priority every day,” I said to myself. Not long after  I embarked on this adventure, I started noticing something. I noticed a change in my thought process. I was becoming aware of my thoughts, and the thoughts of God about me and others. Like one who just learned a new language, I could now tell when God instructs me. The daily words and thoughts I heard from God helped me turn my countless worries about groceries, bills and my debts to Him. Moreso, the more I spent time in prayers, the less I felt the need to worry

Obedience, a Test of Faith in God

About my second year of studies, the Lord brought my attention to the few teenagers at the church. I felt the teenagers weren’t catered for and I sensed that the Lord would have me speak to my pastor about it. I hesitated at first, but when I couldn’t resist the Lord’s prompting any further, I told my pastor my thoughts to see the teenager mentored more closely. My pastor welcomed the idea, however, he said: “There’s no one to take on the responsibility, would you take on the responsibility?”

Starting this group was challenging to say the least. We had only two teenagers show up at the start and it didn’t make sense to organize meetings just for the two of them.  I continued regardless— in the rain, sun, or snowy because I realized it was the Lord’s desire.

About this same time too, the Lord instructed me to start a weekly prayer meeting at the church. The pastor embraced this idea as well, but only a handful of people were open to this, so very few attended. On many occasions, I was the only one present at the meetings —this made absolutely no sense to me— however, I knew I shouldn’t stop just yet.

I tried all in my power to be present at all the meetings  —I took Fridays off to give more time to both the teenagers’ fellowship and the prayer meetings. Meanwhile, at this point in my life,  many uncertainties were piling up. Here I was approaching the end of my studies yet I had no clue what my next steps would be.

 More Weights Stacked Up

The months that would follow were stacked with even more trial weights. My visa was expiring in a few months, yet as I applied for jobs, dead quietness was all I received. I explored all possible options by applying for a PhD. studies in several countries as well.  About four months to the expiration of my visa, I got an offer to do my PhD. in Scotland. Yeah!!! I was stunned by this offer as I didn’t feel qualified for it. Though elated by the news, somewhere inside me, I didn’t feel it was the right step for me at this point —One more request of clarity added to my many requests.

At my Wits End

I kept on applying for jobs but by May 2019, I became distraught by the negative replies or should I say the dead silence from the companies. I was at my wit’s end or so I thought until the Lord asked me to quit my job at McDonald’s. “Quit my job, Lord, is this you speaking?” I convinced myself I was making this up.  Though this job wouldn’t renew my visa, it sufficiently settled my bills. “But I have no other source of support Lord,” I thought. No, I did not obey, at least not that fast.  My reluctance to obey came with a cost. I became sick and had such excruciating back pain from the job that I had to quit.

Now, with more time left to spare, I spent my days praying, meditating and applying for professional jobs. I had time for church meetings — but still no job.

My Groceries Paid for

I saw untold miracles during this time without a job. I recall one cool afternoon, I stopped by the grocery store to get some biscuits. Just as I headed out of the store, an elderly man whom I’ve met before walked up to me. He said: “The Lord asked me to pay for your groceries,” I stood there bemused. Not sure if I should cry in shock or laugh in excitement. “I don’t have much left at my house”, I thought to myself in amazement.  I  was quite embarrassed by his outlandish offer and almost shied away from the offer. Thankfully, he persisted.   I  returned home that day with a big bag full of groceries. My Landlord at some point wouldn’t even ask for his monthly bills. What was happening?

My Debts Paid

The Lord miraculously cleared my debts too. I got a report a certain week from the Norwegian Tax Office that my annual tax for the previous year was short of 12000 Kr ( $1700).  What a time to owe the government?  I was unhappy. “This is too much for me to bear” I whined.  Again, I turned to God in prayer and He showed me what to do. His instructions were simple:

1. Write down all your debts on a list  (amounting to Norwegian krone 17,000Kr   –  a little over $2,800 Can dollar )

2. Thank me for providing.

I did just that. My friends, before the end of that week, the Lord instructed someone to send me exactly 17,000kr. Incredible? Exactly, I was dumbfounded! I then looked back and realized that though I wasn’t working, God sufficiently met all my needs. The Lord needed me to focus on Him, serving him and others.

Job Search Continues

No, my need for a job didn’t vaporize. Following the disappointments from my many job rejections, I almost lost hope and thought to pursue the Ph.D. offer instead. The problem? The University didn’t release my funding. Anxiety began to swell as I mulled over the possibility of being sent back home.  Ever so often as I meditate on God’s words, His promises reassure my heart with peace like one observing fresh red roses dancing on water. However, I remained clueless.

It was a crisp evening when I visited a friend who had just put to bed. “No news yet” was my response to my friend’s question about my permit and job. Out of concern, my friend referred me to her friend who later sent me two job vacancies she found online. “How is this any different from my previous job applications?” I bemoaned. Reeeluuuctaantly, I summoned some energy and courage to apply for only one of the jobs. About one week later, I received a phone call requesting me for an interview. “This has never happened,” I exclaimed! I was startled at the thought that I almost lost this opportunity.

First-Ever Interview

The interview went well.  At first, the interviewers asked general questions and then asked how I’d been involved with youths. Of course, I didn’t hesitate to tell of my countless experiences working with youths.  The interviewers’ countenance glowed as I passionately narrated my involvement with youths. I had a feeling that I impressed the interview panel.  A few days after the interview, I received a call from the HR department of the company informing me that I’d been offered the job; my contract was sent shortly after that.

I realized that God instructed me to start the youth work not only because of the church or the teenagers but also for myself. God knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), and He knew I would need to leverage on that experience to get my job. I eventually got my work permit despite the hurdles and I can only look forward to the glorious future the Lord has for me in this land. Praise the Lord!  God is a good Father.

As I write and think about  this story I can’t help but ask myself and if you will you too, these:

Are you and I intentionally putting in our best foot to listen and hear God’s instructions for us regarding parenting, singlehood, career, business, finances… Have we been struggling in our healths, relationships, business or studies because we plainly are too busy to sharpen our blades? Do we persist and continue to do the right things we know to do?

See the Lessons I Learned

  • Every challenge and hardship we face is an opportunity to engage deeper; It is a calling to taste and see God’s goodness (Psalm 34:8).
  • “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the ax” —Abraham Lincoln said. We accomplish much more quickly as we sharpen our blades through prayer, meditating on the Word, and obedience. Eccl 10:10
  •  When the clouds are full of water, they pour rain on the earth —Diligence and persistence is the key to reaping all the blessings God has for us. Eccl 11:3.
  •   God rewards those who diligently seek Him.  Hebrew 11:6
Praise God! — Submitted by Taiwo from Norway We’d love to hear your stories and chat with you in the comments below.   God Bless You.
How God Provided Money To Offset Debt; The Incredible Benefit of Being Specific In Prayer.

How God Provided Money To Offset Debt; The Incredible Benefit of Being Specific In Prayer.

In 2014, we had our 3 little kiddos and were expecting another one. Thus, we felt the need to move to a bigger place. Only my husband had a job at the time, so we thought we‘d look toward the outskirts of Oslo, Norway for a more affordable property fit for a family of six.

 

 

At the onset, we had only a vague picture of what we wanted: a budget, the desired number of rooms, and a woolly idea of places we wanted to live in. We didn’t think it was necessary to ask God for other things that made living in a place convenient: street traffic, distance to the grocery stores, distance to the library,  type of schools in the neighbourhood etc.

 

We searched and viewed all possible houses in the city until we were flummoxed. We’d seen all types of properties. The grueling long search soon made us indecisive. We wanted this house and the next and the other.

 

One day, during either a bible study or a prayer session, I felt the Lord ask me, “What do you really want?” Pointing me to (Mark 11:23) which says, “Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

This mountain signifying — a definite request.

I believe the Lord nudged me to put it down in writing. After discussing this with my husband, we came up with the following

At least a three-bedroom house with its yard (specifically) at the back for safety

An attached rental property

A slow traffic street

A special school for one of my daughters with walking distance to the train station and grocery stores

Finally, I desperately asked God for a prayer room

 

 

Around my 7th month of pregnancy, we visited a couple who lived in this calm and well-kept community called Ås, situated in the Akershus province of Norway. It’s lavishly surrounded by quaint houses, well-tarred walking, and bicycle paths and sandwiched by nicely manicured hedges. The streets had a calm traffic and were surrounded by lovely greeneries. It also had a short route to the bus stop.  The library and the grocery stores were only a stroll away. At first, I was but attracted to the serenity of the neighborhood, the feeling of fresh air, and the birds chirping. The well-kept parks fascinated me even more. As our friends saw us to our car, almost in a flighty way I said,” Lord, I would love to live in a neighborhood like this”.—We were in for a big surprise.

 

 

From that time on, we started considering the neighborhood of Ås in our search.  Turned out, property prices in Ås were awfully pricey. As we viewed properties in Ås, we noticed that though the asking prices of the houses were at the upper bound of our budget, they were eventually sold for higher prices — anything from 200,000 Norwegian kroner or more (33,000 Canadian dollars) above the asking prices. In fact, one property we’d gone to see in Ås was sold for 1.5 million Norwegian kroner (250,000 Canadian dollars) above the asking price—thanks to the property bubble market.

 

 

After this outlandish pricing episode, we were exasperated and decided to take our eyes off Ås and settle for somewhere more affordable. Though our decision was to forget Ås, every so often, the allure of  Ås came tugging at us. One day, we saw a property for sale in Ås, our treasured location; we gave it one more try. Unlike the previous house viewings here, strangely, we were the only viewer for this property. This rather shocked us until we learned that the property had been on the market for a while. It wouldn’t sell because of a drainage problem in the basement. As we set our eyes on the house, it evoked no special feelings. The house was anything but splendid. Instead, it had a bland and empty look. We were hesitant. On a second thought, we wondered if this could be an opportunity that’s been shrouded in rags waiting for us to refine?

 

 

We consulted with some plumbers who gave us a glimmer of hope to purchase the property. On that slender thread, we dared to buy the house and hoped not to be greeted by mold surprises. After we fixed the drainage problem, we touched up the paintings inside the house, pulled down the wall separating the kitchen from the sitting area and behold, magic happened!

 

We began enjoying our house with all we’d asked for — a three-bedroom house with an attached rental property, the child-friendly neighborhood and a very low street traffic. The closest school which was about 4 minutes walk from our house, was the exact school suited for my first daughter. Not to mention the park merely 2 minutes away.

 

The day finally came when the former house owner —a Christian woman— came visiting. She was surprised at the changes we’d made to the house. She couldn’t believe it was the same house she’d sold us months earlier. As we got talking, she revealed something gripping to me. “The room in the basement was my prayer room”, she explained, “It was sacred to me and I would want you to do the same.” She said she felt the need to tell me. Astounded by what I just heard, I immediately felt a tingling sensation of God’s love inside of me. In the subsequent days,  as I kept wondering why this lady divulged that to me, I was engrossed with the thought that perhaps God wanted to hint to me that he’d given me exactly what I asked for.

 

I believe God wanted to show us that we could ask for anything —within the boundaries of His will— in faith and receive it. It mesmerized me that God cared enough to hear every single word we uttered. She telling me definitely built up my faith.  I believe being specific in our prayers helps us recognize when we receive our answers; convinces us of the graciousness of God, and increases our confidence in God. This definitely jacked up mine.

 

More still, about one year later, in October 2016,  the time came for us to leave Norway for Canada. With deep sighs and heavy hearts, we began the process to enlist our house for sale. It was no pleasure having to let go of our “promised” home. After we contacted a realtor to enlist our property for sale, we wondered if the balcony and some other things we needed to fix would affect the sale of the house. Here again, prayer dispels doubt. Philippians 4:6 tells us not to worry but to pray about everything.

We employed our newfound truth about making definite requests in prayer by faith. We asked the Lord to send someone who would buy the house within three months (we scheduled to leave Norway Dec 12th) for a price we had in mind. We had only three months to tidy up the house, sell the house, and handover to the new buyer.

Surprisingly, someone who desperately wanted to buy a house in that neighborhood contacted us before we put our property up on the market. To cut the long story short, we sold this property before the official viewing day for 1 million kroner (more than 166,000 Can Dollars) more than we bought it in the previous year.  Did I mention that because of the initial drainage problem, we bought the house for less than the asking price?

This is just one testimony of how God answered a specific need and sent financial relieve to offset our debt.

“Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession”. Psalm 2:8

 

 

What we learned from this episode:

  • Being specific forced us to think about what we really wanted
  • Writing down our requests helped us visualize our desires — an act of faith according to Hebrews 11:1
  • It also helped us pray specifically using related scriptures  to target our prayers
  • Being specific helped us to recognize when God answered and to praise Him accordingly
  • The act made us stand in awe of God when we saw that He actually answered; this made us trust God more in other areas of our lives.
  • It changed the way I relate to God. I now see God as my Daddy that I can tell all my worries and be confident that He hears.

 

Has God answered your prayers? please, do share with us in the comment box below.

God bless you!