From Kemi Yesufu, Abuja The decision to retain health maintenance organisations (HMOs) as part of the country’s health insurance programme caused a major disagreement between the House of Representatives Committee on Health Services and the executive secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Yusuf Usman. Usman, at the just concluded two-day investigative hearing…
I had barely said my last prayer at the end of church service on Sunday when she emerged: one of the front-row female leaders of our church. She came armed with an assignment for me. She wanted me to write for the debut edition of the forthcoming women-oriented church magazine of RCCG Cornerstone Parish (My Father’s House), Okota, Lagos, where Pastor Tafawabalewa Danjuma is the resident pastor.
Now, my notoriety as a back-page columnist of The Saturday Sun has caught up with me. Whether I like it or not, I cannot reject this because it is an assignment from God. And I have always believed in using my God-given talent for the building and expanding of the kingdom.
“So, what do you want me to write about?” I asked.
“Just write on anything,” she replied. “It’s for our women’s magazine. Give us a man’s point of view on any women issue.”
Well, a whole world of “women issues” hovered around my head as I try to think about what to write. I think of the biggest newsworthy woman issue involving the President. President Muhammadu Buhari, talking about his wife as being confined to the “other room” and having no business in commenting on political affairs. Of course, you know the story and the hoopla it caused, not just in Nigeria but all over the world. And to think of the President saying this in Germany where a woman is the leader of the nation.
Next, I think of Hillary Clinton, the woman who tried to make history as the first woman President of America, the world’s most powerful nation, but unfortunately lost to Donald Trump in a shocking upset that broke the heart of many around the world. I think of all these, but in the end, I decide to write a letter in praise of a woman, not just one woman but all women of faith. This is for you:
You cannot call them necessary evil, because they are not evil. You cannot call them unnecessary angels because they are very necessary. What will the world be without women? What a lonely world that would be! What a dull world that would be! What a hard, tough world that would be! What a God-less world it would be! A world without a woman? May God forbid it.
Right from the very beginning when God created the world, He found them so necessary enough to attach them to us, as our helpers, our soul mates, our other halves. From Adam’s rib, so we are told, God created woman. God created Eve. You know the story very well. From childhood, you have heard it over and over.
For a long time, it has been a world dominated by men. The soul singer James Brown puts it in a song: “This is a man’s world. This is a man’s world. But it would be nothing, nothing without a woman.”
In the Bible, a woman is called the “weaker vessel.” Meaning a woman is so fragile physically and emotionally and would easily collapse, compared to a man. But woman, I tell you that you are not as weak as they perceive you. In most ways, women are stronger than men. Mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually, women are stronger. Have you ever wondered how strong a woman can be all through her pregnancy? And have you wondered her superhuman strength in the labour room, giving birth? Contraction after contraction. The woman fighting hard to catch her breath. At a time when they are most vulnerable, they find the strength to give birth to life. Sometimes, they deliver not just one, but two, three or even four at a sitting! Ah, woman, I hail your power.
When a man is down and out, when he is sad, when he is melancholic, when he has lost his job and he feels like it’s the end of the world, that is when cometh his women to strengthen him, to boost his sagged morale, to lift him up again from the doldrums and give him back hope.
Now, I don’t know: Who exactly is the spiritual head of the home? Woman, I remember how I will wake up most days and I would not be in the mood for prayers or anything. That is when you will come in with your Bible and morning devotion book, bursting into songs of praise and leading the whole family to pray. I will have to join.
Women are really strong when it comes to things of faith. I remember many a Sunday morning when I will not feel like going to church. I would be thinking of the next big football match that would be aired in three or four hours’ time and would not be in the mood for church. That is when you will be urging me to quickly enter the bathroom and get set for church. You will be commanding me, just the way a headmistress or a mother would be commanding her erring, petulant child. You will be hurrying everybody saying: “We would be late for Sunday School. We cannot afford to miss praise and worship. Hurry up, everybody. Let’s leave home before nine o’clock.”
I believe this happens in most homes. In my book, the woman is the leader, particularly in spiritual and domestic matters. If you take a census of church attendance, chances are that the women will always be in the majority. If you doubt me, start taking a census of church attendance right away! Count how many men. Count how many women. Tell me who has won!
Woman, church and beauty
A woman would want to meet her God in beauty and splendour. She will spend her time in front of the mirror, tying her head gear, putting on her best dress and making up her face and putting on lipstick, all to please the Lord. She takes spiritual support from Ecclesiastics 3: 11 where the Bible says God “has made everything beautiful in its time.” As for the man, he cares less about such aesthetics and cosmetics.
And when it comes to singing or dancing or praying in church, the woman is more vocal. She is more expressive in dancing for God. You can see her bobbing and gyrating like a ship on the ocean to the accompaniment of music.
Woman, you are everything and everything is you. You are the Sarah in the Bible. The submissive Sarah who obeys her husband Abraham and calls him “my master and my lord.” Submitting to me does not mean you don’t have a mind of your own, it doesn’t mean you don’t have a voice of your own, it doesn’t mean you are zombie. You just simply want to submit because the Bible tells you to submit to your husband.
Woman, you are Abigail, the woman in the Bible who is not just beautiful but combines beauty and elegance with intelligence. You are the Abigail who will risk her life to protect her husband Nabal.
Woman, you are Esther, the strong woman in the Bible, who is a bundle of courage. You are Ruth, the woman of good character and loyalty. The woman who says: “Where you go, I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”
Woman, you are the woman written about in Proverbs 31:10. If you don’t know what is written in Proverbs 31:10, then go and search your Bible. My prayer is that upon reading this letter, may you find whatever you are searching for which you have not yet found, in the name that is above all names. Thank you and God bless you.