In the backdrop of the two Service of Songs held in Abidjan and Lagos in Paul Okolo’s memory and honor, my thoughts have been hovering around true values that are enduring.
Paul’s single-minded devotion and service remain an upper call to me and to many. I remember one of our favorite songs: “The Almighty is with us….. He seizes the wars, to the ends of the earth…Be still and know that I am God”. We often sang that song before we prayed. It connected our hearts in a very unique way. Maybe his experience during the war in Liberia also endeared him to the song.
Yesterday, another song which we often sang when we lived together in the brothers flat in Cocody came to me. “Seigneur je veux te louer car je suis dans la joie… Un jour tu m’as pris par la meme, je m’en souviens, un jour tu m’as pris par la main, je le sais bien”( Lord, I want to praise you because I am in joy … One day you took me by the same, I remember, one day you took me by the hand, I know it well “)
As I look back, I see the privilege we had to serve God during our very prime – to give our youthful energy to the service of God’s people and to humanity. In a time when young people dreamt of the Oxfords and the Harvard’s, we both chose to sign up for God’s Harvard and Oxford!
It is with a great sense of fulfillment that I look back at those years spent living truly as strangers to this world and fools for Christ. I am encouraged to continue on that same path till we get to see Paul on the other side of eternity.
That Scripture in Timothy has been resonating with me –
No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.
When we sang that song – “I am a hard fighting soldier on the battle field…” I felt like a fellow soldier honoring the memory and the service of a true hard fighting soldier”.
The same way the Obamas and the Bush’s of this world honoured the memory of Senator McCain, so are we honoring the memory of a true hero in the faith! I am privileged to have seen the service Paul rendered to God under really intense living conditions. Paul never looked back!!! I want to learn from his steadfastness!!!