My wife’s shrill cry woke me up that morning.
She stretched feebly and winced. I sensed immediately that she was not feeling too well. I didn’t need a soothsayer to tell me that. . She was pale. My wife was a very strong woman. If she couldn’t get up to prepare breakfast at past six in the morning, then something was very off beam.
I wondered what was wrong with her. “Honey what is it?”
She wanted to say something but no word came from her mouth. She suddenly looked ashen with pain. What could have happened to her? I thought as I hurried to get a cab, gathered her in my arms and we headed straight to the hospital. My two daughters were still asleep when I left the house. I left instruction with my neighbour to help me look after them until my younger sister would arrive.
We were at the hospital in no time. I called my boss to tell him what was amiss but his number was switched off. When I couldn’t reach him, I called my assistant and informed him about the development. Richard was a colleague I had worked with for close to half a decade. When I told him about what was happening, he expressed some sympathy.
“Sorry about that Sir,” he said rather politely on the phone. “I will do as you said.”
After speaking with Richard, I felt relaxed and concentrated on my wife. Test result showed she had acute malaria.
“We are going to run a scan to ascertain if she isn’t pregnant,” I was told.
There was no way I was going to believe that my wife was pregnant because we were strictly on pills and her monthly flow had been frequent.
“It’s not possible that she will be pregnant,” I told the doctor with all certainty because I personally bought her a pad she used only few days before.
“It is not up to you to conclude until scan result is out.” The young doctor told me. He was a very handsome young man whom I considered too young until he told me he was thirty two years old.
“Ha, I thought you are ten years younger,” I blinked and he chuckled.
“People always say that about me,” he said and smiled. “In school, I was called Babyface.”
When he left me, I tried my boss’ number the umpteenth time but it was not connecting. Again I called Richard to remind him about my wife. “Please make sure you pass the message to Oga.”
“Yes, sure, I will do so most definitely.” Richard assured.
When he told me that, I became fully relaxed. I called my younger sister who was in Ota. “Please come and stay with the kids. Ify is critically ill. We are at the hospital now.”
Esther, my younger sister was agitated. She said she’d be coming immediately. Seconds later, the line went dead.
Settled, I heaved a sigh and waited.
I didn’t wait too long when the young doctor, Doctor Dike came to tell me what the scan had revealed. I stood agape as he told me that Ify, my wife was eighteen weeks pregnant!
“But doctor…” I stuttered as I held the scan result in one hand and stared at nothing in particular.
“The scan can’t lie,” he said.
Minutes later he was gone. I could not fathom how possible it was for my wife to be pregnant since we were using the pills and she was also still active with her monthly flow but she was. There are just certain things that only God can explain. Soon I was told that Ify needed blood urgently. That was how I began to run helter-skelter to go get it that day.
I got the marching blood at last at LUTH and rushed to the hospital with it. The whole of that day was spent in that traumatic manner and I did not eat until late at night. My joy at last was that my wife was recuperating even though she was still held at the hospital. However it worried me that no one called from my office to ask how she was doing.
At the crack of dawn, I hurried home to take my bath and thereafter went to the office. It was there that I got the shocker of my life. Richard was in a meeting with my boss. I was not allowed into my office because the secretary said I had to wait and see the boss first.
“Is anything the matter?” I asked as I was suddenly enclosed in fear and agitation. What was happening? Ruth, the secretary said she had no idea.
“Just be patient for a few minute Mr. Dan,” she said rather amiably. She was a very kindhearted person. She was almost in tears when I told her about my wife and showed her pictures of her lying on her hospital bed on the screen of my phone.
As I sat on the couch at the reception hall, I began to wonder what was happening. Why would the secretary not let me into the office? Was there a problem?
I was still deep in thought when the door to my boss’ office opened and Richard fell out looking as proud as peacock. He did not greet me or ask of my wife. He only whispered something to Ruth and walked away with his shoulders held high like bicycle frames.
Ruth made a call and nodded at me. Seconds later, I was sitting on the chair opposite the boss.
“Dan,” my boss said rather unceremoniously. “I want you to go straight into your office and pack your things. You are fired. The secretary will give you your termination letter and a month salary.”
I wanted to say something but he waved me off. I didn’t know what I did wrong and he was not willing to tell me.
“I have some work to do. Excuse me.”
Tears rolled down my cheeks when I left his office and went to meet Ruth. She gave me the letter and said she was sorry about what happened. When I had gone to my office and picked up my things, she handed me an envelope bearing my one month salary and surreptitiously slipped a piece of paper into my hand. I opened the paper when I was in the bus.
There were three bible verses in the paper. Ruth wrote that I should pray and fast for three days using the verses she quoted.
THE ENEMY HAS SOWN BAD SEEDS AT NIGHT BUT THE LORD GOD WILL SURELY FIGHT YOUR BATTLES.
Those were the words she wrote at the end of the paper. I was literarily fighting to hold back the tears when I read it. She was the only one who seemed to care. All the other people in my office, like Richard, remained aloof. I was to know letter that Richard had said some nasty things about me to my boss; lied that I had been doing personal businesses for clients using the company name. I wondered why my boss took that hook line and sinker.
I didn’t tell my wife anything when I returned because I did not want to aggravate her problems. I did the fasting and prayers secretly. A week later, she was discharged from the hospital and all the money I had went for her treatment.
Secretly I began to hunt for a job but still could not break my wife’s heart by telling her what had happened. I only told her that the office was having some challenges and couldn’t pay salaries. However, that lie lasted for just a while. One day, she ran into a former colleague of mine in the market and when he asked how I was doing, Ify sensed immediately that I had been sacked.
“You should have told me Daniel. I have been praying and fasting for your office to pull through from their financial crisis so you could be paid. I would have been praying instead for you to get another job. You should have told me.” She lamented.
I just could not say a word. She had gone past six months and we hadn’t yet bought one piece of baby clothing.
That night, Ify led us all in a very vigorous prayer session. She prayed as if it was her last prayer. My daughters too prayed. We all prayed and fasted for three days.
I went for job hunt a day after and found a guest house in need of a house keeper. I had no choice but to take the job when my wife urged me to do so. The salary was less than twenty thousand naira. My former salary was eighty five thousand.
“For the sake of the baby, take the job Dan. If that is what God has offered us after the prayers, take it and we will pray for His favours and divine connection.” Ify told me.
A week after I got the job, something happened.
My wife complained that she was in pains when I left the house that morning. I said she should take Paracetamol because I had no money for her to go for the necessary check up. That day all through, I was not myself at the guest house. A guest, a retired army general whom I came to change his bed sheets noticed my mood and asked what was wrong with me.
“You don’t look cheerful today young man. What is the matter?”
I told him that my wife was very ill and that I wish I could call to know how she was doing but we were not allowed to use our phones at work.
“She is heavily pregnant. I left her in pains this morning.” I moaned miserably.
The general – God bless him – gave me his phone to make a call to my wife and that was the call that saved her life. Ify was screaming at the top of her voice when I called her number. Fear seized me immediately and I suddenly turned into a statue.
“She needs urgent attention,” the guest said and quickly hurried into his clothes. He led me to the manager and pleaded that I should be released to lead him somewhere. In less than ten minutes, we both had arrived at my place in a taxi.
Ify was lying on the bare floor crying in pain with my two daughters also helplessly crying. Together, the general and I gathered her into the taxi and we headed straight for Havana hospital at Surulere. Ify was wheeled into the ER immediately. My knight in shining armour footed the bill through bank transfer and kept consoling me that evening as I wept like a baby.
All these happened about six months ago. My third child came too early and was in an incubator for two whole months.
Before he left Lagos to Jos a week after, the general gave us a cheque of five hundred thousand naira and promised to get in touch. He made me write him my account number on a piece of paper and told me he would reach out to a few friends to pay money into it.
In less than a week, more than eleven million naira rolled in! How many praise worship songs can I sing to this great God of mine? I have learnt from my experience that what we need as humans isn’t money or a fancy job. All that we need is divine favour and connection to break through suddenly. Wherever we are at any given time, when God’s favour locates us, our lives will surely be transformed.
This Sunday, we will be going to church for our thanksgiving service. I can’t thank the good Lord enough.
THE DIVINE FAVOUR by Japheth Prosper
(a true story)
My wife’s shrill cry woke me up that morning.