Brother Chukwudi knelt down by his bedside, his chin resting on both elbows and eyes shut tightly. His lips were moving but no words came out, just a rapid intake of air, which he held and let out slowly. He could not tell how long he had been kneeling down, thirty, forty minutes? He wondered. He couldn’t form a word past the lump in his throat. His mind was in overdrive as several thoughts struggled for supremacy.
He could not fathom what God had just told him. It simply was unacceptable and he could not bring himself to dwell on it but his mind had a mind of its own and would not be detracted from thinking about it, even if it meant considerable distress to him.
He had been reading his bible earlier that night, like every other night in the past ten years since he became a born again Christian. The bible passage for the night was Acts chapter twelve; it had been chapter eleven the previous night. His goal was to finish the bible again that year, which would make it the seventh year running that he had read the bible from cover to cover. This was one thing that gave him great pride when he was challenging his fellow church executives members in the weekly meetings.
He had felt the familiar nudging, as he was about to delve into the passage following a short prayer for inspiration and a new revelation from the now familiar passage.
‘‘Read the book of songs of Solomon tonight’’ the still small voice had said.
He had been puzzled. His face had creased in a frown. He couldn’t understand why he had to be led to that particular book. It was not on the list of his favorite bible books and he often times skipped it. It was too un-spiritual for him. He often looked down at those mushy brothers who quoted from it to support their claims of love to a sister. Grudgingly, he had opened to the book, not wanting to disobey the voice of God, the memory of the last time he had done so still fresh in his memory.
After struggling through the first chapter, he had begun to wonder if he had heard right. What possible revelation could God want to show him from this highly sensual book? The only verse he knew by heart in the whole book was the one about the lily of the valley and the rose of Sharon, terms that had been used to describe Christ. He had closed his eyes briefly and prayed for inspiration and revelation.
As he opened his eyes, his eyes had fixed on the fifth verse.
I am black but comely, o ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of kedar, as the curtains of Solomon
Unbidden, the image of sister Kemi had filled his mind, and she was smiling at him, and saying the words ‘’I am black and comely’’. His heartbeat had picked up pace and his palms had become sweaty.
He had been perplexed. The last time he had felt something like that was when he had first set eyes on sister veronica. The feelings had never left since then. He had thought it strange to feel that way for a sister, especially when he had caught himself thinking how it would feel like to kiss her full rounded lips and had engaged in a three day fasting just to purge himself of the fleshly, carnal feelings.
When the feelings had not left, he had begun to think that it was God telling him that sister veronica was his wife and he had even been planning on telling her. He would have, if he had been able to summon the courage to walk up to her. His only challenge had been what to say to her.
He had shaken his head to clear them of the wandering thoughts and tried to focus on the bible passage at hand. He wondered what was wrong with him. He had never allowed any thought to distract him from reading the bible in all the years he had become a Christian.
He had closed his eyes to offer up a prayer of forgiveness for allowing his thoughts to stray while God was trying to speak to him. This time it had been clear.
‘‘She is the one son, the one that I have chosen for you; your helpmeet’’ it was the familiar still small voice.
He hadn’t needed specifics; he had known the ‘’she’’ the voice was referring to.