By Bisi Daniels
It is the third day since the 2021 edition of the interdenominational gospel musical event, Marathon Messiah Praise,began.
It means for over 48 hours at the Prayer Foyer of the 3/3 Auditorium, Redemption Camp, there has been non-stop praises, worship, and prayers to God to commemorate the 79th birthday of Pastor Enoch Adeboye, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG).
An elderly pastor of the church pointed out on Tuesday that all the praise-singing is for God and not for Pastor Adeboye. “If the organisers make the mistake of singing the pastor’s praise, I think the event will be reviewed or even cancelled because the Daddy GO has learnt never to share God’s glory,” he explained.
It is clearer to see the event as one that stretches for over three straight days – day and night; and watched all over the world. It started on March 1 and continues until March 4.
What started in 2012 when Pastor Adeboye clocked 70 at the Redemption Camp, is now a globally renowned event, which has, this year, drawn top Nigerian gospel artistes Nathaniel Bassey, Dunsin Oyekan, Tim Godfrey, Bukola Bekes, New Gen, Efe Nathan, Femi Okunuga, Olumide Iyun and Volunteer Praise Team to lead over 150 worship ministers and choral groups to minister at the event.
Like every other things of the church, the special event has been growing!
The 79-hour event is for sons and daughters of God to come together to appreciate God’s mercy and faithfulness to the world, according to the organisers.
It is to thank God for what He has used RCCG to do in the lives of millions of people around the world: lives saved, miracles received and spreading the kingdom of God.
It is about praising God for the church, its phenomenal growth from 40 parishes in 1981 to thousands of parishes, spread over 198 countries, and for all He does for the members. In the United Kingdom it is noted as the fastest Pentecostal church.
And also, importantly,to thank God for the personal miracles in the life of Pastor Adeboye, who is alive today by God’s Grace.
With the many near-misses in his early life, it must be only God who has kept him to fulfill his purpose.
The one he dreads to remember happened when he came face-to-face with a poisonous snake in a pit.
“Each time I remember it, I shake. Even when I wake up in the night and somehow I remember it, I shudder before I say,‘God, I thank you’.
According to him, it happened during the colonial rule, when white men were prospecting for gold, which left many pits all over the landscape in Ifewara. They were also so powerful that they did not only kill with impunity on the roads, but punished parents whose children were killed for their carelessness.
He said, “before we knew what was happening, a white man had turned the corner in his jeep and was heading straight for us.
“My sister grabbed me and we jumped off the road. We landed in an abandoned pit where they had been digging for gold. Our hearts were beating fast, thumping, because we had narrowly escaped death from the White man.
“Hmm, just as the beatings of our hearts were beginning to subside, we heard a sound, the hissing of a snake. A black, poisonous snake was in the pit into which we had jumped. It was very angry that we had come to disturb it.
“I froze! My heart stopped beating and I was sure my sister’s too had stopped beating. It seemed like hours, but it was only probably a minute when the snake, still hissing, crawled out of the pit and went away.
See! I am the General Overseer of the church today by the Grace of God.”
This other one was also close – purely a miracle.
Miracle on the Bridge
He says, “I was travelling from Ogbomosho (Oyo State, Nigeria) to Ilorin (Kwara State). We drove unto a narrow bridge that could not take 2 vehicles, first.
“I believed we were safe because other users would respect our right of way. Even when we saw an articulated truck coming towards us from the opposite direction and we thought that, since the driver had seen us on the bridge, he would stop for us to pass.
“But for one reason or the other – either his brakes failed or he just didn’t see us or whatever – he did not stop.He was approaching us at great speed and we were on the verge of colliding because the bridge couldn’t take two vehicles side by side.
“It looked as if it was time for me to go and sing with the angels in Heaven. There was no time to even think at that point. Somehow we met on the bridge, somehow we passed, and somehow we got to the other side. My driver parked by the side of the road for about five minutes. He couldn’t say anything; he was shaking like a leaf.
“Thank God he didn’t look back because I was shaking too. But by the time he turned I had calmed down a little bit.
“He asked, “Daddy, what happened?”
There was only one answer I could give: “God expanded the bridge.”
The next example, which is shocking, shows how some of our relation could derail our purpose in life!
The Deadly Pottage
Pastor Adeboye also recalled, “I had done something good for a member of the family and she decided to reward me with asaro(pottage). It looked and smelled good.
I was really young then, a secondary school student,but my mother had told me never to eat out when she was not in.I thanked the woman who brought the food and promised I would eat it.
By the time my mother returned, I had not touched it and immediately I showed her, she put her two hands on her head, and asked who brought it. “When I told her she said, ‘Oh God, oh God the only son I have.’
When I asked why she said that, she asked if I had eaten part of it. I assured her I hadn’t because she had told me not to eat in her absence.
“Throughout that night, because I was sleeping in the same room with her, she would wake me up from time to time to be sure I was alright.
“By the following morning, the yellow-looking pottage had turned black. She took a little bit of it and threw it to a dog, the dog ran.”
But beyond God’s direct interventions, observers say the former university teacher has lived a holy and humble life worthy God’s partnership in his ministry.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo observes, “The life of Daddy (Pastor Adeboye) in itself is one big miracle! For a man born to financially-challenged parents in the remote village of Ifewara, Osun State, who had no shoes at 18 years old, who was not a Born Again Christian until the time he was a mathematics teacher at the University of Lagos, becoming the leader of a church with a strong presence in over 198 countries, and with millions of members, is indeed, a miracle worth knowing.
“For this same man to remain infectiously humble, in spite of his enormous power, influence and popularity is also a miracle in itself.”
But perhaps the greatest miracle was on that day in 1973 when he recalled that, “sobbing like a baby, I ran to the altar to accept Christ as my personal Lord and Saviour.”
-Bisi Daniels is a journalist, writer and public relations consultant