He winked at me from the extreme corner of the room. I shook my head, stifling a smile. It was our evangelism day and that wink was actually his way of reminding me. We’ve visited hospitals, prisons, schools, market places, name them. It actually was exciting, every moment spent serving the Lord with him.
Ken and I were very close friends. He made his intentions clear in plain English, he hoped to take me to the altar someday. We had agreed to remain friends and unattached while we wait until the right time. He was very free to talk to other sisters and I was very free to get to know other brothers. You know, that was very okay with us.
I smiled to myself again. I wondered if he knew what drew me to him in the first place. Why I let him that close. He was everything any other girl would want in a man, but that wasn’t why. What made him stand out to me was that he loved Jesus. A lot of young men with the cash, charisma and all there was to offer, had approached me, but I was looking for something. That was the one thing they all lacked. An intimacy with the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, it wasn’t something that could be faked. The Holy Spirit in me is the same everywhere and if anyone didn’t have him, that witness wouldn’t be there.
At the end of the service, someone took the empty seat beside me.
“Hey, what? Ken, you were winking at me when praise was going on.”
“Oh, that.” He grinned from ear to ear.
“We have evangelism today, Vanilla,” he drawled, stretching out his long legs in front of him.
“Yeah, right. We going straight or grabbing some food first?”
“What do you think?”
“I think our growling stomachs won’t have much to contribute to any discussion.”
He laughed. “Yeah, right. Food it is then.”
I looked on proudly while Ken dissected the word to an ex-drug addict. I soon took over and afterwards we held hands while we prayed for her. When his hands closed over mine, the anointing was transmitted back and forth. We took one more round before heading home. I had my project to complete. Ken was a resident doctor and would be off to the hospital too. He dropped me off in my apartment and we had a brief talk over tea before he left.
We had already mapped out rules on the do’s and don’t. The don’t included spending too much time alone. I could never forget that cold night, the night we made that rule. He had come to see me when it started raining and the devil planned it in such a way that my lodge mates had traveled for long Vacation. I actually stayed back to work on my project. My name is Vanilla and I’m 23. I have blood flowing in my veins and I have hormones too.
We stared at each other for a while. It was easy to get lost in that intense gaze.
“I must go tonight, Vanilla.”
“I don’t remember asking you to stay,” I shot back, disconcerted by the feelings waking up from God knows where!
I began to understand the devil’s plan when the rain tripled, bangs of thunder announcing it. Lightening flashed. I’m a Nigerian and it was raining. Sure you understand what that meant? The electric light soon went off and I was in the same apartment with Ken. I excused myself and went to find the rechargeable lantern. I returned and set it in the parlour, then we continued our conversation. My eyes followed his lips at every word and my mind was already imagining things. I regret to admit I was weak at that point. Weak and cold, a wonderful combination. I excused myself again to get my sweater. He shouted that he was freezing too and needed a blanket. I grabbed my blanket and returned with it.
“I know. I should go and let you have the blanket.”
“But it’s still raining heavily.”
“How about we share the blanket?”
I knew it was the devil speaking through me, but I didn’t mind. The dude had great ideas. I was both surprised and relieved that he agreed.
We wrapped the blanket around us and tried to stay as far from each other as possible. I shivered. Not from the cold, but from what I felt. I didn’t even want to think of prayer or remember God, that would spoil the mood.
“You’re pulling the blanket to your side,” I complained. He shifted closer and we kept silent.
“Are you still going tonight?”
“As soon as the rain abates.”
“I would prefer you looked at me while talking to me,” I whined.
He turned on his side to face me. A muscle was ticking in his jaw.
He looked me right in the eyes. “You know how difficult this is, right?”
I didn’t even pretend not to understand. I nodded.
“I don’t know why I want to apologize. Truth is, I really want to hold you. Like, badly. I won’t do that though. If we start, we will never stop. My thoughts now are anything but pure, that’s why. If we succeed in stopping, we must have aroused emotions that might lead us to other sins to be relieved of them,” he said.
My face fell. He raised my chin with his index finger, so I would look at him.
“Vanilla. Somehow, I’m glad we found ourselves in this situation. We have to learn to discipline our bodies. We could both claim to be Christlike when there’s no real temptation. What makes us stronger is standing when the storm rages. I would rather sleep in the bathtub than touch you.”
“I’m really that repulsive?” I snapped.
He sighed. “That didn’t come out right. I’m a man. I will loose all respect for you if we do this. I may never marry you anymore. We would both feel guilty and you will hate me forever. Every other sin is outside the body but the sin of fornication is against the body.”
Eww. He just spoiled the moment. How could anyone be so annoyingly blunt. He stretched his hand over to the table and took my Bible. Shit! I left it there? He sat up and opened it between us. He flipped to some verses and read them out loud.
“Think of few moments of pleasure in a cold weather,” He whispered.
My eyes widened at the insinuation. Did he even understand what image he was creating? He grinned wickedly, earning him a punch from me. He grew serious again.
“Now, think of all eternity in a lake of fire. Think of God being so proud of you and being let down. Think of the devil gloating over his victory on us. Think of the Holy Spirit in us grieving for our sakes and leaving us. Think of a future that will never happen, the weight of sin and guilt, the hatred and regret.”
His eyes softened. “Think of that Vanilla. I love you. I really do. That love won’t let me do this. I can’t claim to love you if I break your relationship with Jesus. I can’t claim to love you if I pull you far away from the Holy Spirit. Vanilla, my plan is to take you with me on this race and not to be a stumbling block. Frankly speaking, I would rather be shot dead right now than touch you. There will be time for that. Right now, it is FORNICATION, a sin deserving of eternity in hell fire.”
I shifted uncomfortably and buried my face in my hands. I hated being so weak. I had done my best to make sure I never got into any compromising situation and here’s one. And to think I’m just drawn to this guy in a way I’ve never been drawn to anyone in my life. I looked up at him, not knowing what to expect. Did he scorn me for my weakness? What did he think of me now?
“You’re strong Vanilla,” He said, his face the picture of compassion.
“We both know I’m not!” I snapped.
“Okay…” He said thoughtfully. “I think that’s why God gave you a guy like me. God will help us. I will be strong for both of us, how’s that?”
I didn’t answer, but he had succeeded in spoiling the mood anyway. I went to find my old Bible and joined him. We dug into mysteries and expounded truths in the word. By the time we were done, the rain had stopped. He held my hand as we prayed. With a single kiss on my forehead, he left. That was when the import of everything that happened began to dawn on me. If only every man was like Ken, the earth would have been a perfect sphere.
My phone rang as a text entered, snapping me out of my reverie.
“Good day beautiful. Remember our date tonight, ‘Resurrection Worship.’ Prepare for another portion of anointing. See you there!”
I smiled into my phone. I was going with my girlfriends anyway and I didn’t need reminder. But hey, this was Ken. He could text to remind me to lock my door.
There’s just something about a man that loves Jesus. He understands love and practices love. Love is not just a feeling, it is an action and a personality. If that personality does not exist in your acts of love, you’re deceiving yourself. That personality is Christ.
Love is wanting the best for the other person no matter what. In a world eaten up by selfish lusts and confused youths exists a man like Ken. I shuddered as I wondered what would have happened if he wasn’t a young man with insight and principle. If Christ is not in a relationship, then it is bound to propagate the kingdom of darkness. Ken and I are moving grounds, pulling down strongholds and helping each other in our walk with God. So you’d know, we are young people too. Flesh and blood. Until your desire to please God becomes stronger than your desire to please yourself, you can never yield your life. We should all get to that point where there’s no resistance between us and the Holy pirit. He directs our every action. There’s just something about a man that loves Jesus, he loves you the right way. He understands what true love actually means.
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