“I have failed to fulfil them not because I did not wish to, but because I was unable to.”
– Leo Tolstoy
It’s not rocket science to notice how grateful Christians are for salvation. In my home church, all testimonies start with: “I want to thank the Lord for the salvation of my soul” or “My first testimony is I’m saved”. Many songs have been sung about gratitude for the saving grace of Jesus and the privilege to be called of God. This is lovely, really lovely, being saved from hell and all but there is a little problem: I’ve never felt this gratitude before. I’ve never wept about how grateful I am to be saved and chosen and called. I’ve never fawned over my salvation. I’ve never been smitten by just how much Jesus loves me. More truthfully and to the disappointment of many friends who will read this post, I’m more on the “so what?” end of the spectrum.
Previously, I had written on how I think this salvation game is tilted in favour of some persons, how God has somehow decided who will be saved and who won’t be. Find those thoughts here. I may be wrong. I know. Anyway, for reasons such as those and many more, the salvation of our souls is a very precious gift; also considering that we, who did nothing special, wouldn’t have had it if God didn’t want us to have it. So, why am I not grateful? Is it because maybe laslas I am not truly saved? Do saved people even write this kind of blog?
New to the faith, I kept giving my life over and over again. Some part of me was convinced I didn’t do it right the first time. I would answer many altar calls and close my eyes even tighter, mutter the words even more slowly. I desperately wanted something to erupt inside me. I wanted to understand the weight of the sacrifice on the cross and exactly what Jesus was saving me from. What did I do? Lie to my mother? Saw pirated movies? Was jealous of my classmate’s success? Had my name written in the attendance sheet even when I didn’t attend the class? Or, is it eternal damnation? Something I earn by doing nothing but be born?
My friend would say “the one who loves much was forgiven much” as an answer to my gratitude questions and some part of me would want to go and commit even more grievous sins just so I could understand and cherish this great gift I had. There are days when I would preach to my mind, yunno lecture it on why I should be grateful. Even go as far as watching passion of the Christ and reading about how painful crucifixion is. And there are days where, like Nigeria, I remind myself that this world is functioning by design. All these (where these is everything you detest about this world) was allowed by God for some grand plan that we can’t at this time comprehend. And there are days when I wonder how for such a shitty person I’m saved. If this – this deeply flawed, insufferable person – is saved, how then does unsaved look?
The whole thing is just so complex and technical (and I do not fault it for its complexity. Any plan to save this kind of world can’t be simple cos human beings sef aren’t), and I don’t know if I am able to can. What good am I if I don’t understand or appreciate what Jesus did for me on the cross? That’s the crux of Christianity!
I think I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I really want to be a Christian. I don’t want to live forever sha (more on this later) but I want to commune with the supreme. I want to engage extraordinary things and provoke healings and miracles. I want to know someone in front and behind me is watching over me, meeting my needs and listening to my cries. I want all who are responsible for this current Nigerian state (Lugard et al) to serve some kind of punishment but, but it disturbs me that for the most part, gratitude cannot exist independently. We can’t just simply be grateful. We can only be grateful with respect to something else, in relation to something else, at the expense of something or someone else. I have salvation, others don’t. Hey! Gratitude! I have food and sunshine, others don’t. Hey! Gratitude! It’s like pride. It’s not about being rich, its about being richer than someone else. It’s not about being an achiever, it’s about achieving more than someone else. Remember that time in church when you refused to pray and whoever was leading the prayer starts that some-are-in-the-mortuary-but-here-you-are-in-the-sanctuary line? Remember it? Those some that are in mortuary are other people’s loved ones. Those that died on the same road you travelled are other people’s sweethearts. They’re not objects to be used to blackmail you into gratitude.
Well, one day, me sef will die and they will use me to coerce you into gratitude. Some can no longer worship the Lord. Some want to worship but they can’t. Some are on wheel chairs. Some can’t even see without their glasses. Blah blah blah. Boring.