I did a last minute check to ensure that I did not leave anything I needed behind. Having done that, we got into the vehicle heading for the airport.
Thoughts and questions ran through my mind as we set out on the journey. There were many questions but few answers. There was however one conclusion, God would take care of everything.
It was not the first time I would be leaving my family for a period of time but it was the first time I would be leaving them for an unspecified period of time. My wife asked me the question time and time again, ‘How long would it take for us to come and join you?’ I had no answer but once again I relied on my faith in God and told her, ‘Within a year from now, you should be with me, God willing’.
We got to the airport and after the hugs and exchanging goodbyes, I walked into a future unknown, relying on nothing but God. As the plane took off, I looked out of the window and watched the Lagos landscaped below, wondering when next I would see it. The full force of the decision I made hit me there and then and I began wondering if I had made a mistake.
Two years before this time, I had travelled to the United Kingdom on invitation from a God-sent friend who had been an instrument of encouragement at a time when I had given up on my British Citizenship. I had gone through almost two decades of being denied due to some required documents that were missing. She kept mounting pressure on me not to give up and we would have hours of conversation reminding each other of God’s ability to turn a hopeless situation around. She is one encourager that I will always remember and cherish because she allowed God to use her as a friend who stuck closer than a brother.
When my friend invited me and I applied for a visiting visa, it was swiftly issued, this was for me a sign that God had not given up even if I had. That same year when I returned, I re-applied for my Right of Abode to live and work in the UK. When I made the decision, some documents long lost, began to surface. One crucial one was my baptismal certificate which my dad found hidden somewhere. He was looking for something else when he found it.
Once again, I summoned courage and put in my application. I completely left it in God’s hands and continued doing other things. Nine months later, I had my passport handed over to me with a certificate in it confirming that I now had the right to live and work in Britain. Although I was expecting it, I felt numb inside. As friends and family heard the news, I was amused at different displays of joy and praise. I felt removed from everything and just did not know how to express what I felt inside.
Now I was heading to the United Kingdom, no longer as a visitor but now with a right to settle. I was not going there when things were rosy and the economy was doing well. In fact, I was going at a time when the country was going through a time of economic recession.
I remembered a colleague of mind at work, taking me aside one day and told me in very serious tone, ‘I think you may be making a mistake leaving Nigeria for the UK at this time. You have a fairly good job here and living well compared to many others. You can always visit the UK with your family anytime but just leaving everything and relocating at your age is not the best. I will advise you to stay’. I thanked him for his concern but told him that his advice had come too late as I had already tendered my resignation at work and had already booked my flight to London.
That scene kept playing on my mind as I sat in flight. I began to draw strength from Hebrews 11, focusing on Abraham, telling myself that my situation was better because I knew my destination but Abraham didn’t. All He knew was that God told him to leave his family and everything he held dear, for a place God would show him. The Bible says, ‘For Abraham was waiting for the city which God has designed and built, the city with permanent foundations’ (Hebrews 11:10)
The first few weeks were spent setting up required documents and accounts. I kept trusting God for a job. During this time, I had encouragement from my wife and the very few circle of friends God gave me. There were times of doubts and fear but they were temporary. I held on to God’s word like my life depended on it and truly my life depended on it.
By the second month I arrived in the UK, God gave me confirmation of a job, in fact I had the luxury of choice between two jobs. I have come to realize through my experience that God never fails. There are seasons of quick responses to prayer and there are the periods of waiting. I waited for almost two decades to finally hold my British passport in my hand but I took me just four months to process the UK passports for my children and just about 6 weeks to apply for my wife’s visa.
I do not know what you have been waiting for all these weeks, months or years. I can assure you that God is never too late. He does not choose who to answer and who to deny. He simply said, ‘Ask and it shall be given’ (Matthew 7:7) But that is just the first step! The same verse also says, ‘Seek and you shall find’. To seek something is a process, it takes time. It may be minutes, days, months or years but the second part of that phrase says, ‘you shall find’. That is an absolute statement. Finally we are instructed, ‘Knock and It shall be opened’. Except someone is actually at a door when you knock, you may need to wait a while before the door is opened. The fact that the door is not opened immediately does not mean it will never be opened!
I can confirm that all I have asked from God has been given, I sought the Lord for many years concerning my rights as a British citizen and he showed me the way, I knocked in heaven’s door when it seemed all was lost and the door was opened for me.
Looking back, I am proud to say I serve a living God. I thank Him for holding on to me and not letting me go even when I wanted to.
(c) Biblepraise Fellowship Online
Steve Popoola is the editor of Biblepraise Newsletter and the owner of Biblepraise Fellowship Online at http://www.biblepraise.org. He lives in London where he works as an IT professional. He serves in the ministerial team of his local church as well as in the music ministry. He is the Moderator/Editor of Biblepraise Newsletter. He can be reached through His email address,firstname.lastname@example.org