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You Win in This Fight, Against God | Okorie Divine

You Win in This Fight, Against God | Okorie Divine

You Win in This Fight, Against God | Okorie Divine - Afrocritik

But not all the time do you win this fight against God. Like the year, in school, you first sleep in a room all by yourself. Sin can make you an enemy of God. An enemy of God is so vulnerable.

By Okorie Divine

The preacher’s voice has a sharp ring to it, so you conclude she must be somewhere around St Peter’s Chaplaincy. It is not too far from your window, this salvation the preacher harangues about, coated in a voice of beration. It is full of warnings, this voice — like threats. There is so much hell. There is so much death. There is so much that can die and so much that may die with the things that must die. But there is a way that scoops you away from death — Christ!

Maybe avoiding death is an effortless thing. Perhaps, all you need to do is leap from your bed and jump into your jeans shorts, belt it, cover yourself up with a duvet, so that when the erection comes, tearing and aiming high at your ceiling, something will keep it in place. Or you can do what you’ve always done, what they tell you sends bumps of fright to the devil: the power to deliver yourself is you (funny!), read your Bible, meditate, pray, invoke the angels and the addiction skitters aways, shrinks like startled mimosas. Or you can fill your ears with Travis Greene’s excessively cloyed worships, drumbeats that worry the brains and send thuds to your chest. You see, all these things are what you can do even lying supine on your bed. Nobody is asking you for too much. Just avoid death. 

Titus 2:12 — …live soberly, righteously and godly in the present world.

Romans 6:1 — Shall we continue in sin so that grace may abound.

Vs 8: Now if we be dead in Christ, we believe we live… 

The window and the hill are very funny. They have an irking tease, letting the voice up and into you, as if in conspiracy with the preacher. 

The greatest war man fights is sin. Because God hates sin. (Hmmm). In sin, you become an enemy of God. 

Do not be unequally yoked…

How many times have you really combatted God? You can’t remember because this combat is now a hobby, a thing you wouldn’t need motivation for. The vaguest memory of it you have is you on the couch at home: Mummy is in the toilet because dysentery has sworn never to let her bowels be. Daddy is out, riding on his croaking motorcycle because you must eat and go to school. Your brother is out to anywhere. That one that doesn’t have buttocks created to sit in a place. Someone is telling you on WhatsApp that it doesn’t take much time — this war and he assures you of winning. Flip it out, run a finger over it. He tells you his own is out, too. He is running a finger on it. Do you want to see? He shows you, a crisscross of veins like the bark of the dongoyaro tree in your grandmother’s compound, and intermittent nods — Agama in the body of a man. Shocks, waves of them. Spasms. Convulsive thrills. Lightning is zipping in irregular moves in your body. Water fills your mouth before you know it. And then the thing is out, in your hand. You don’t run a finger on it because Mummy is out of the toilet and she wants to know why your brain is so bleak that you can’t remember the ofe-akwu on fire. Maybe, then God wins in the fight, against you. 

God doesn’t win all the time. Like the second time. In your bathroom, cockroaches are surprised at the size that grows in your hand. They, too, must be numbed like the someone on WhatsApp who is gasping. Something about your age and the heaviness of your thing. It is early morning. You should be taking the first pee. Mummy is praying inside, perhaps waiting for you to join. Your brother doesn’t know anything that goes beyond his phone and sleep. You run a finger on your thing now, and something flashes inside you. The world may have ended. In two minutes you’re done. 

Mummy, arching her waist, clasping her praying hands: If we say we’ve not sinned, we are making you a liar and the truth is not in us. 

Nobody has asked you if you were a sinner and nobody has asked you for the truth. Apparently, this prayer doesn’t concern you. 

Or the third time. The bathroom whose walls must be familiar with your presence, with the smell of the spittle that proceeds when you rub too much, because they welcome you, wrap you in their grimy warmth, assure you that your secret is safe with them. When the someone asks you what you feel when the white spittle comes out, you remember what cold water does to your skin on a harmattan morning — numbing, skittering bumps on your skin. You don’t have a word for it yet, so you tell the someone it feels soooo good. 

Or the fourth.

Or the fifth. You wipe the spittle with Daddy’s dirty shirt and the stains crankle the next morning under your finger.

Or the sixth. Mummy should smell it because it was right beside her, with a little creaking from the bed. You don’t know why you are so daring. But Mummy is snoring away. The next morning, she says to God: Is there any way we’ve come short of your glory? Wash us clean. 

How does she know that you now wash yourself, your hand so clean after each time, as though you’re readying for a grand dinner?

But not all the time do you win this fight against God. Like the year, in school, you first sleep in a room all by yourself. Sin can make you an enemy of God. An enemy of God is so vulnerable. So, it’s not that you want to be a good boy, just that you don’t have the strength to fight that night. You are more scared of what may happen to you in the dark if God turns away than seeking to let God win. Or the day after the fellowship girl tells you that God loves you regardless. Maybe she makes sense. A man who doesn’t want to give up in a fight with you must be armed with an ulterior motive. God’s love is a stream, she says, a tornado may unsettle it, but it’s still existing. So when your body responds to the charge, you watch it nod and nod, and the veins rise like hairs. You don’t touch it. You let it die. 

Or like this morning. A morning so clothed in chills and wind. The preacher is making it to your mind, and you want to believe that, even with your hands smeared with so much spittle of profanity, you can make it to God’s requirement. Right. God has not come to condemn you. Romans 8:1. Ephesians 1:7. Something so evident. Something so palpable — this salvation. Only if you let the work of your hands give thanks to God.

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But you are wearing only underpants, and the only thing you know underpants do is stretch itself to the bulge, open up and let out your sin. 

And when it does this, through the three windows of your room — such extravagance in a building — the voice seeps in. 

God does not condemn. Never has he done so. 

Sin is a cankerworm to the soul. Do not stain your soul with the ugly. 

Now, this is not a sin after all. A sin is that which scalds and burns your soul, right? A sin is that which emaciates your soul, which makes it wither and repulsive before God. (Emphasis on soul!). But this is a body we are talking about. It’s your body. The battlefield is your body! Give it all it needs. 

As you pick it up to wrap your palm around it, your alarm blares for the morning prayer. 

Okorie Divine is a writer and student in Nigeria. In 2023, he emerged as the winner of the Abubakar Gimba Prize for Creative Nonfiction. He is a Prose Editor, working with Fiery Scribe Review and The Muse Journal, UNN. 

Photo by Boris Baldinger on Unsplash

 

 

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