The offended armed-robber pointed his gun at me and fired.
I died on 26 December, 1993. I was killed by armed-robbers on the way from Lagos airport at the age of forty-one.
My wife was coming back from the United States and I went to meet her. On the way back, a gang of robbers blocked the road with their car. That incident ended my life. It also led to my introduction to “the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25).
Saving my life
I decided to fight for my life rather than surrender. I drove towards the robbers at top speed and nearly ran over one of them. I did succeed in driving past their car. I was just about to congratulate myself on making a clean get-away, when a lamppost appeared out of nowhere and I slammed headlong into it.
Once I hit the lamppost, I knew I was in trouble. I looked out the window to see the man I nearly hit coming towards me. But before I could panic, something dramatic happened. I heard a “still small voice.” “Femi,” it said, “nothing is going to happen to you here.”
Just then, the offended armed-robber pointed his gun at me and fired. I saw a flash of light and the glass at my side of the door came crashing down. Only when I opened the door to come out of the car did I realise that a bullet was lodged in my leg, although I never felt it enter my body.
As I came out, the armed-robber slapped me. “Why were you driving like that?” he demanded. “Please don’t be offended,” I pleaded. “I was only trying to get away from you.”
A living death
While this was going on, the young man was busy rifling through my pockets and removing my wrist-watch. Another accomplice was removing the suitcase in the back-seat of our car. And then I heard that implausible voice once again, defiantly oblivious to the situation. “Femi,” it repeated, “nothing is going to happen to you here.”
I was not really paying much attention. My whole life suddenly flashed through my mind. So this is how it all ends. I looked through the window of the car and saw my wife clutching Femi-Kevin to her breast. It was like seeing the future through the present. So at such an early age, this woman became a widow, I thought.
I noticed she was praying. I could see her lips moving silently. So I leaned through the window to reassure her. But the only reassurance I could give was the ridiculous one I had just heard. I said to her: “Karen, nothing is going to happen to us here.”
Paradoxically, that seemed to be the cue for my assailant to re-cock his gun. He pointed it at me again and barked: “Lie down with your face to the ground.” I was already dead, so I refused to obey him. For a moment, we stood staring at one another defiantly. I knew he would shoot again and could not care less. But suddenly, he changed his mind and left.
The Good Samaritan
Once they drove away, I came back to my senses and fear gripped me. Clearly, I needed immediate medical attention. My wife ran down the road screaming for help. I looked down and noticed that my trouser-leg, my sock and shoe were completely soaked with blood. I said to myself: “Well, you escaped that one. But now you are going to bleed to death right here in the middle of this road.”
But immediately that thought came into my head, the voice I had heard earlier came back again to counter it. It was no-nonsense and conclusive: “Femi,” it said categorically, “there is nothing wrong with your leg.” Instantaneously, my inexplicable peace was restored.
That was my personal introduction to Jesus; the Good Samaritan. On that fateful night, he spoke to me for the very first time in the enigmatic manner I have since recognised as his voice. He told me nothing would happen to me and, immediately thereafter, something happened. I was shot. A bullet was lodged in my leg and it was covered in blood. Nevertheless, he insisted nothing was wrong with my leg.
I was like a man falling off a cliff, trying to hold on to something. Jesus suddenly threw me a thread, saying: “Catch this and I will pull you up.” I knew a thread was not the answer, but there was no time to argue. If I had other options, I would have ignored it. But there and then, it was the only going proposition, even if nonsensical. So I grabbed the thread and unbelievably, it held my weight.
Thereby, Jesus saved my life by taking my life.