Kolade slammed his palm into the steering three times in frustration and hurt. He couldn’t be angry because it was his fault so his feelings were more of fear and shame. What was he going to do?
Amanda hadn’t threatened; she didn’t even say a word. For two weeks he hadn’t even seen her because she had gone to stay with her mother in Lagos. He told the church she had gone on a vacation but that was a lie. He was afraid God will kill him if he dared to step on the pulpit so instead he handed over duties to pastor Mike.
It was raining heavily this evening and Kolade was parked outside his office. It was time to go home but he couldn’t. Just confess. But he had and it cost him his marriage. Who else would he confess to? He might as well lose everything.
His phone buzzed on the seat beside him and he almost ignored it but a short glance reflected his wife’s name beeping in the screen so he quickly snatched it before it disengaged.
“Hello,” his voice was husky and Amanda sensed it but she was too upset to act like she cared
“The kids want to talk to you”
“Oh okay, thank you” what was he thanking her for, weren’t they his children or he just felt he didn’t deserve to hear from them.
“Good evening daddy” little Deola spoke into his ear she was just five and would probably not understand what was going on.
“How are you baby girl, hope you’re being a good girl?”
“Yes daddy I am. Are you okay?”
“What!” Kolade’s heart skipped a bit. Could she have detected the sorrow in his voice or was she just asking. “Yes yes baby I’m fine. How is your brother?”
“He’s fine. He’s sucking. Mummy is feeding him”
“Okay let me talk to your mum” before he could say another word the line cut off and he knew she didn’t want to speak to him. The pain came back and the shame. Once again he slammed his fist into the steering. The tears came then. They had been bottled up in his throat too long.
Kolade looked down at his watch, it was nine. He looked out the window and it was still raining. Impulsively he pushed open the car door, took the key out of the ignition, shut the door and ran into the rain. You usually see such ridiculous things in movies. As the rain hit him it seemed to wash away some of the hurt. He marched forward until his knees gave in from under him and he fell to the wet floor. Drenched from head to toe like his sin had soaked into his clothes.
“Lord I’m sorry!!” he cried into the night. He felt like David; not so sure how David would have felt but he felt detached. He felt spiritless.
“I know I’m not worthy to quote your word but this is me confessing.” He took a breath
“Please forgive me!! What do I do? Please! You said if I confess that you will forgive me. I will never make this mistake again but I need you to help me!
Please have mercy on me please don’t take your spirit away from me! Please don’t put me to shame!”
Put you to shame? YOU put HIM to shame!
“Lord I’m sorry I put you to shame! Please forgive me”
All of a sudden the rain stopped. Kolade wasn’t sure if that was an answer but he still couldn’t move. If not for the flashing lights and blazing horn before him, he might not have shifted from his place in the middle of the road.
“Aren’t you going to sleep?”
“Not yet mummy.” Amanda looked up at the concerned face of her mother. Her father had passed away two years ago so it was only her mother’s worried face she had to look at.
Mrs Madike didn’t say anything else to her daughter. She patted her on the back and retired to her room to pray for her only child.
Amanda alone in the sitting room did the same thing. Every time she got on her knees to pray she cried and today was no different.
“Was I wrong? Did I make a mistake? Lord please forgive me!”
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
“Then help me to forgive him!!” she cried “I’m too angry and I know in my own way I’m also not without sin but his own was too much! Lord please help me and my children!”
“Ah pastor good morning!”
“How are you?”
“Fine thank you pastor”
“Okay. I won’t be coming to church on Sunday so please I’m putting you in charge okay. I hope you’ve prepared your sermon.”
“Yes sir I have”
“Okay say hello to your wife. I’ll call you after service. And tell Ibukun to make sure she finishes the church records before going home”
“Okay sir I will”
Kolade cut the line and rested his head on the dining table. It had been five days since his ‘in the rain’ encounter. He had started fasting after that and he felt he should avoid church altogether and take time and pray. He still felt hurt but he felt better that God was speaking to him again. He hadn’t spoken to his wife this past week except only when she allowed him to talk to his children but they hadn’t had an actual conversation.
Kolade picked up his phone again, this time calling someone at his office.
“Femi how are you?” he said in Yoruba.
“I’m fine and you?” Femi replied in the dialect.
“Good. I won’t be coming to work on Monday. I would be going to Lagos and I’ll be back on Wednesday.”
“To see Amanda?”
“Okay. I’ll handle things at the office. Don’t worry”
“Thanks a lot”
“No problem. I’ll be praying for you”
Kolade said goodbye and hung up and he resumed his bible study.
“Ma! I’m coming”
Amanda came downstairs wondering why her mother could have called her name so suddenly this morning. She hoped everything was all right. She turned into the sitting room about to call out to her mother again but the words got lost in her throat; she even almost choked.
“Your husband is here to see you” Amanda shut a sharp look at her mother. Why didn’t she mention that since maybe she wouldn’t have come downstairs. Mrs Madike lifted her sleeping grandson in her arms and left the room for the couple. Amanda was almost threatened to follow her out but stayed; at least he had come all this way.
“There’s no need for-”
“Please forgive me-”
“If I say it was the devil then I should be slapped but it was my mistake as well for not fleeing and for allowing myself to lust.”
Spare me please! Was what she wanted to scream at him but all she remembered was forgive us our sins as we forgive those who trespass against us.
“But why” she said in a calm voice she never knew she could utter.
“I don’t even know. I’ve worked with her for five years. Midweek service we come together and sometimes after work I take her home. I guess we just became close. I want to be very honest with you I didn’t make the first move but regardless of that I allowed it and I’m sorry. She’s also married. She said she wasn’t close to her husband because she didn’t have children.”
“That’s not an excuse” the words came out so bitter that the room was silent for five minutes.
Kolade didn’t know what else to do so he got down on his knees
“Amanda I love you and before God and you I’ve failed as a pastor and as a husband. I’ve prayed and cried and I’ve begged God and he has heard me now all I need is for you to hear me too and forgive me. I can’t be the man I have to be without you and I cannot allow you to raise the children alone. You are the first person I loved before these children; the first member of my own family.
God has been merciful to me. I thought because of this sin I’ll lose everything. But if I don’t have you back then I’ve still lost everything. Please”
His words made her cry. She’ll forgive him but can she really still live with him?
“Okay but I’m not coming back with you” she sniffed.
“Okay then I’ll move here”
His words shocked her that her mouth opened and then she was upset again. I don’t want to be around you!
He saw the change of emotions and changed his mind as well “Okay I’ll leave you alone. I’m sorry. I-”
She was even more shocked that he could read her mind so easily.
“Kolade I want to forgive you. I’m finding it difficult to forget. I don’t know what to do.”
But she loved him. At least he was honest with her. If he didn’t tell her she probably won’t have known and besides it could have been worse. What if they slept together and she got pregnant-another man’s wife!
“Is there anything you want me to do?” his words cut her off in her thinking.
“Does John know?”
“I’ve been too ashamed to tell him but I don’t know if Lola did”
That was the first time she had heard that woman’s name in three weeks.
There was a long pause
“When are you leaving?” Amanda broke the silence
“Wednesday, but I don’t want to leave without you please Amanda”
She stared at him for a long time.
Almost one week later.
Amanda missed the fresh smell of lavender in the room. She had picked the scent because she loved it. In her room again-the room she shared with her husband who had cheated on her. He had stayed in Lagos and everyday he was coming to the house. Her mum had spoken to both of them. She forgave him and came back with him because that’s what a good wife would do- a godly wife.
Kolade was happy that his wife was back. Every hour he spent in Lagos was a ‘pray without ceasing’ hour. He wanted his wife back and pleaded with God everyday till she agreed. He was so happy when she agreed that he almost dared to kiss her but he was afraid that she would be angry and change her mind. There were still a lot of things to do. He had to see John. He had to see his sheep. He had not preached in church for over a month because of guilt. His wife was still on edge but he was going to do everything to make her happy.
John couldn’t believe his ears. Sitting across from him was his beloved wife, his pastor and his pastor’s wife. The news was huge but it wasn’t as serious as he thought but it was serious however because it all fell under the category of adultery- and with his pastor!
“Why?” that was all he could ask his wife. She didn’t even glance his way. She was humiliated clearly.
“Please pastor don’t brother me”. His words were like a knife that tore through everyone.
“Please forgive me-and your wife” John looked up into Kolade’s face and then at Amanda’s and then at his wife. A small laugh escaped from him. Everyone was puzzled. Lola got scared.
“This is unbelievable. Why did you have to tell me? Why did I have to know that this stupid woman is a devil.” Lola started crying. Amanda’s mouth couldn’t close and Kolade was speechless. “Is this her first time? No! Is this her second time? noooooo….Sir thank you for confirming that my wife has a problem.”
Kolade and Amanda glanced at each other.
“Thank God you did not sleep with her maybe you would have contacted whatever evil spirit she was carrying” John took his gaze from his pastor and looked at his wife “ you’re going back to where you came from! There’s enough rice and yam in the kitchen to sell you back. This time I’m paying them to carry their property.”
Kolade stood before the congregation from the first time in about a month.
“Brethren God is faithful.” he paused “He said he will forgive us if we confess our sins and he is just to forgive. There is nothing we do that God doesn’t know about and there is nothing we can hide from him. When Cain killed Abel God knew; when David slept with Bathsheba and killed Uriah God knew about it. Unlike Cain, David was repentant. There are people amongst us who have disobeyed God and are hiding. Where can you hide from God? The earlier we realise that the better.
I haven’t preached for a month on this pulpit because I disobeyed God and I was ashamed and guilty. I had to confess to every single person I let down. Day by day we struggle to be like our heavenly father. We stumble, we confess, we repent, we ask for strength and we get up again. The moment we stop repenting is the moment we choose to stay down. The moment we choose to stay down is the moment we tell God stay on your own and let me stay on my own. I don’t know how many people want to tell God sorry today and are determined not to go back please come forward now.”