By Elder Siahyonkron Nyanseor
The world we live in is full of many surprises and misfortunes; some are temporary, while others are avoidable; but most of them I believe are caused by man’s disobedience to God. It is regarding this, I am sharing my recent encounters with you.
As Griot and writer, there is something within us that compel us to tell our stories and the stories of others. You see, life too, is a story! Once you come into this world your story begins. We who tell stories do so in order to pass on our experiences so that others may learn from them. A good example is the story and the warrior told by Dr. Philip Emeagwali.
When Philip Emeagwali was ten years old, living in Africa, his father posed the following question to him:
"The story or the warrior, which is mightier?"
"The warrior!" Philip replied."
His father shook his head in disagreement.
"The story. The story is mightier than the warrior," his father said to him.
"How can that be?" Philip asked his father.
"The story lives on long after the warrior has died," his father explained.
(Culled from a keynote lecture by Dr. Philip Emeagwali on February 17, 2003 - Black History Month at Arizona State University, West Phoenix, Arizona).
This is the reason in Africa Griot recites stories and writers write stories; especially, those that contained human interests.
My journey away from Lawrenceville, Georgia
I was away from home for almost one month. My travel took me to Silver Spring, Maryland to the funeral of my cousin, the late Rev. Dr. Blamo Benedict Nyentue Seekie. While in the DC Metropolitan area, I was hosted by my friend, Kcabeh Charles Walker of Woodbridge, Virginia. After the funeral, I went on to my old home town, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to visit family members and to reconnect with an old college (Temple University) interest and her family.
My visit to Philadelphia was like a homecoming. I visited my cousin Martha and her husband Leroy Freeman in Willingboro, New Jersey; also while in Willingboro, I paid a surprise visit to my cousin Amos and Gloria Williams who were having their daughter and son’s graduation party. The daughter graduated from high school and the son from college. Amos’ senior brother, Samuel Williams, Jr. was in attendance with his two daughters and son, all of whom are medical doctors. Also, I met old friends and acquaintances that I have not seen in years. I had a good time; the trip was worth it!
On my return trip to Georgia, I met up with all sorts of misfortunes, some I caused, others by miscommunication. First, I mistakenly left my phone charger at my friend friend’s apartment where I spent one night. Without the phone charger I was unable to make my usual phone calls to my family members and friends.
Worse of all, my trip back to Georgia was delayed for several days. The Amtrak train that I had to take to Atlanta left me due to a miscommunication between the Red Cap (attendant that assists passengers) and me. My train number was 99; the Red Cap thought I said number 17; as the result, the train left without me. The Amtrak trains coming to Atlanta the next day were all booked; I had to wait the following day. Similar thing happened to me the following day. My reservation was for train number 129; another Red Cap put my baggage on train number 97 instead of 129, I got on only to realize it was the wrong train. I had to get out at the next stop, which was the Camden, New Jersey station. I had to wait on the next train going to Washington, DC. The next train was 93, and it was not due until one hour and thirty minutes. Train 93 arrived at the station at 7:20 PM; and within 5 minutes we departed, I was praying to make my connecting bus that was due to leave the Washington, DC Union Station at 9:00 PM. When we arrived at the station, the bus has just left for Atlanta.
I called my friend Kcabeh to come get me from the Union Station. He was at work so he directed me how to take the METRO (train system like MARTA in Atlanta) train to the Springfield Station, which was close to where he lives - Woodbridge, Virginia. I made it there around few minutes to midnight; then I called him to pick me up. He was about twenty minutes away from the station, but on his way to get me, he ran into heavy traffic on I – 95 North due to road construction – some lanes were closed. It took him almost two hours. When we finally got to his residence, it was 2:00 AM Wednesday, July 9, 2014. At 10:00 AM, I made my reservation on OneBusExpress leaving for Decatur, Georgia, which was due to depart at 11:55 PM on Thursday, July 10, 2014 and to arrive in Georgia at 12 midnight the next day, Friday, July 11, 2014.
OneBusExpress does not stop in Virginia nor Washington, DC; the nearest location to board the bus from where I was stopping with my friend was Maryland Welcome Center off I - 95 Exit 34B. From Woodbridge, Virginia to Maryland Welcome Center is one hour and fifteen minutes. We drove to the Maryland Welcome Center at 10:30 PM; waited for the bus to arrive and depart for Georgia at 11:55 PM. The bus was delayed; it did not come on time. Having waited up to 12:20 AM, Kcabeh and another friend of his that rode with us decided we could no longer wait; we got on our way back to Woodbridge, Virginia. While on our way back, I received a call from the bus driver at 12:56 AM, informing me that the bus was about to depart, if I was still going with the bus to Georgia. You can imagine how I felt; but I was polite. I told the bus driver that in the first place they did not follow their twenty minutes call policy prior to departure, and that it was impossible for me to return from Virginia to board the bus.
By this time I was running low on funds. I did not receive credit (refund) for the bus fare I had paid. On the morning of Friday, July 11, 2014, I proceeded to search for bus to return to Atlanta. I could not find space on any of the buses going to Atlanta on Saturday (12th), Sunday (13th) and Monday (14th). I was able to get a reservation on the Mega Bus for Tuesday, July 14, 2014 that was scheduled to depart from Washington, DC Union Station at 9:00 AM.
During all of this time, my host, Kcabeh provided me with the best hospitality one could ever receive in situation like mine. His warm accommodation allowed me to watch the World Cup at the home of his brother Alfred; read, reflected and to write this essay. Kcabeh is more than a good friend – he is a decent and caring human being. Not too many of them are around today! I’ll pray for God to richly bless him.
Back to my trip to Atlanta
Due to the heavy volume morning traffic in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area, Kcabeh decided for us to leave that Tuesday morning (July 14, 2014) to the Union Station for my scheduled 9:00 AM departure on the Mega Bus for Atlanta. We left his home at 5:30 AM; he drove me to the closest METRO train station to the train to the Union Station. This was a smart decision! I made all the right connections, and I arrived at the Union Station at 7:30 AM. While getting off the train with my luggage, I felt weak – almost passed out; at that time a lady I referred to as my God sent Good Samaritan (Elizabeth Schrelber) came from nowhere, held my hand and offered to help me. This lady was on her way to work at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). I was so weak, she assisted me to sit on the pavement while she called for assistance. I lied down on the pavement, and in minutes all the right persons were attending to me, which included local paramedics that took me out of the station into their ambulance. Also, a fire truck was standing by.
In the ambulance, they performed on what they usually do in cases like this, which involved, taking pulse, blood pressure, monitor heart rate, etc. it was then I was told my irregular heart rate, and I had to go to the nearest hospital. By then, I was feeling much better. So I decided against going to the hospital in Washington DC to board the Mega Bus that had to depart in one hour. I had to sign a release form, witnessed by police man. I was released and headed to bus depot to board my bus to Atlanta. On my way I was praying in my heart to my LORD to make it to Atlanta with any problem. God answered my prayers, I arrived in Atlanta at 10:15 PM, July 15, 2014 – the MARTA Civic Center train station, where the Mega Bus use as its destination in Atlanta.
I kept my promise to God
In my prayers I promised God that if I got to Atlanta, I will go to the Emergency Room to seek medical attention, which I did. I called my Senior Pastor, Bill Harris that I was at the MARTA Civic Center train station off Peachtree Street. He came, and took me to the Eastside Hospital in Gwinnett County. We arrived at the hospital at 11:45 PM. We were at the hospital from 11:45 PM to 6:00 AM Wednesday when I was discharged. I received a clean bill of health. Praise the Lord!
Pastor Harris usually says, “When life gave you lemon, make lemonade”
In most cases when individuals find themselves in a situation like the one I found myself; it is the tendency for the person to get very angry and frustrated – this is the wrong way to go about these things. This brings to mind a story I heard some time ago:
A man was travelling out of the country (America) to make a presentation to a group of businessmen in China. On his way to the Hartfield/Jackson International Airport, he got caught in heavy Friday evening traffic. When he got to the airport, the plane had just taken off. He got so angry to the point that he and the airline staff got into a squabble. The airport securities had to intervene.
Afterwards, he then left the airport to drive back home; while on his way, he turned on the radio in his car; then there came a flash news bulletin that said – Plane Crash! Plane Crash! The announcer went on to say, Flight #787 (made up flight number) that just took off from the Hartfield/Jackson International Airport crashed in midair; there appeared to be no survival. This was the same flight that the gentleman who had the altercation with the airline staff was to be on. Upon hearing the news, he brought his automobile to a stop; packed it on the side of the interstate, prayed and headed back to the airport to apologize for his inappropriate behavior towards the airline staff. From there on, he promised never again to behave in such a manner.
Some times when things like this happened to us, it is God that is intervening on our behalf. Therefore, make the best of it! What appears to be a disaster for me, I used it to pray, read and reflect on the mess we find ourselves in today in this troubled world.
Now, this brings me to the main point of my essay.
The consequences of our disobedience to God
Like the children of Israel in the Bible who disobeyed God, mankind today are doing the same; creating problems for themselves by refusing in every way possible to disobey God’s Ten Commandments. Based on this observation, it is my honest belief that most of the catastrophes we have experienced; those that we are experiencing now, and others that are in the waiting are direct results of man’s refusal to obey God. It is that simple! Luke 21:31 tells us that “When you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near”. There are too many disasters, tragedies and upheavals for this not to be true! Around the globe, there are wars raging; famines devastating entire countries, environmental catastrophes and natural disasters such as earthquakes, droughts and floods killing thousands of people; reducing citizens to abject poverty; and there are violent crimes on the increase in spite of man’s best efforts to address them.
What is most disheartening is the fact that religion we used to look for solutions is often a part of the problem. Today around the globe, wars and armed conflicts are started by religious sects over whose belief (interpretation or doctrine) is correct. The same can be said about the United Nations’ Security Council, and the Electorate College System in American ‘democracy’. In addition, the way powerful nations and oppressed people or religious extremists resolved conflicts, is the wrong way to resolve conflicts. Classic examples are: “Regime Change”, “Collateral Damage”, “Ethnic Cleansing”, “Terrorism”, etc. These approaches in solving the world major problems have removed God from the equation and makes mockery of what justice should be. As it tis now, these practices were put in place to perpetuate and sustain the permanent interest of a few or a group to remain in control of the world’s resources and people. This is an abomination that is in violation to God’s plan for humanity.
A fellow countryman of mine by the name of J. Rodney Chesson states the problem correctly in his article: “Why There Needs To Be Changes In The Structure Of The United Nations”; with his permission, I included it here to reinforce my point, and it reads:
The United Nations was founded during an era of colonial domination and control of Africa and other parts of the world by powers like Britain, France, and the "new world powers" like Russia and China. That is why the UN's Security Council which is the most powerful arm of the UN controls the mission of the UN and whether or not ...the UN should or will intervene in a world issue or situation in the various regions of the world. These permanent members of the security council are a limited nations that are considered the "world powers." They are the only nations that vote and make final decisions on how the UN should function in a situation in the world. All of the other groups are selected as observers or non-permanent members and have no voting import in the final votes of the permanent members.
Today, the world deserves the presence of a Black Independent Nation as a permanent member of the Security Council. The Security Council as it is today and as it was in the past, does NOT secure and protect the interests of Black or African people. It is founded and controlled by nations with a majority of people who believed, practiced, and perpetrated the total subjugation, submission, enslavement, and disgrace of the African or Black man and woman. Hundreds of millions of Black or African people were killed because of or as a result of the wickedness perpetrated against the African or Black man or woman more than any other race of people in this entire world.
How then can these same people pretend now to be protecting the rights, interests, and equality of the African and/or Black man or woman today? How can the man or woman who kill or enslave me and my people throughout history be the same ones to be held responsible with my protection from enslavement today?
To me, that is a serious BIG JOKE!
So if the controllers and/or people of this world truly want to make me truly believe that the world leaders today truly promote a world of equality, protection and fair treatment of all peoples and nations, then there needs to be a restructuring of the UN and its Security Council. If the UN is truly an organization that speaks for all nations of the "Free World," then it is imperative that the Black man and woman be given their fair share of representing and speaking for themselves on and in any matter that impacts the entire world. Without a Black or African nation serving on the Security Council as a prominent member, Black or African nations have NO SAY in their inherent rights to protect themselves and promote their interests in this world - Colonialism still exists!
A Hint to the Wise is Quite Sufficient!
It is quite amazing that brother Chesson and I were thinking and writing about the same issue around the same time. These are serious matters that should not be taken lightly. As merciful as God is, He should not be provoked or knowingly taken for granted as the leaders of the world are doing today by disobeying the Ten Commandments of God. The Ten Commandments is clear as to what is expected of us. It reads:
1. You shall have no other gods before (or besides) me.
2. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the thirds and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
4. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
5. Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
6. You shall not murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
10. You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. (Exodus 20:2-17) -- Life Application Bible - NIV
By not obeying these Ten Commandments, we engaged in ungodly practices. As a result, the world is filled with more bad news than the “good news” about God. In a 24-hour period, there is more bad news than good news on either the radio or the television; print media too, is not exempt! You can flip channels – all you want, you’ll find more bad news. Sensational news has become the way our world operates. It appears that contemporary man/woman yearns for “bad news” than good news. One reporter said, “Sensational news sells”. This is the world we live in!
All of these things are happening to mankind because of man’s refusal to obey God’s Commandments; and the result of refusing to obey His Commandments leads to committing all sorts of sins. 1 John 5:17 defined sin as “…All unrighteousness”. On the other hand, sinners are: evildoers, dishonest, unjust, wicked, unfair, and mistreats others. These practices go beyond just physical actions; they can cross over into attitudes and motives, such as what goes on in our minds, which involve our thoughts.
At our Wednesday weekly International Christian Fellowship (ICF) Ministries’ Cluster Bible Studies in Gwinnett County, Georgia, Rev. Dr. William BGK Harris, taught one of our classes about - Brain Wave Frequencies, and how they affect our state of mind. These brain waves are known as Beta, Alpha, Theta, Delta and Gamma; they impact us physically and mentally. Lucifer uses some of these brain waves to trick us in committing sins. For example, when we allow evil thoughts to enter our minds and stay there, eventually they can spring into action, leading us to sin. Remember, we are what we think (Proverbs 23:8).
For over thousands of years, human beings have experimented with different systems of governments, beginning with feudalism, mercantilism, monarchy, dictatorship, federalism, parliamentary government, socialism, communism and democracy, but we have been unable to come up with the right system to fully address and solve the problems facing mankind.
Even though, prophet Jeremiah warns us: “It is not in man who walks to direct his own step” (Jeremiah 10:23). Also, he said, “…The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 10:23). Because leaders of the world refused to live by the WORD of God, He “…Gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strive, deceit, evil-mindedness; they whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:28-32).
We can pretend all we want, the Scriptures is clear about the fate that awaits those who disobey God’s Commandments. We can sin by the things we knowingly do; or we can sin by the things we do not do. And that is, we know that something is wrong but fail to speak against it because the person or the political party that does the wrong is ours or we benefit from the spoils, while the rest of society suffers. To which James 4:17 explains: “… To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him is sin”.
Finally, if we know that God required of us to do good, and because of greed and selfish reasons we neglect to do them that failure is sin. Those who fall short of what God required of them to do are called hypocrites; because God expects more of us than our simply meeting minimum standards of behavior. The truth of the matter is the world is facing many problems today because individuals, leaders, organizations and countries refused to do and live as God intended for them to live; instead, we choose to do it on our own. It is regarding these behaviors that the God we serve instructed King David to write: “They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside; they have together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one” (Psalm 14:1-3).
To punctuate my point here, I can unquestionably say, wars are being fought not only between major religions, but between sects of the same religions, who are supposed to be serving and worshipping the same God. They do so because of man’s disobedience to the Almighty. In short, God gave us dominion over the world’s abundant resources for our personal use; instead, certain segment of society divide the world into race and class; teach us to be different, and on the basis of where we attended school, i.e., Harvard, Yale, Princeton and schools that do not fall in the selected category are looked down on. Based on this distinction, we are taught how to earn six figures (money) as opposed to teaching us how to live godly and compassionately. This is an abomination to God; it must be stopped or the world will continue to head in the wrong direction. These raging wars; famines that are devastating entire countries, environmental catastrophes, natural disasters, earthquakes, droughts and floods that are killing thousands of people; reducing citizens to abject poverty; and violent crimes are clear warnings of what lies ahead of us if we do not change our behaviors and obey God’s laws and Commandments. Don’t say I did not warn you!
To God be the glory!
About The Author: Elder Siahyonkron Nyanseor is the Chair of the ULAA Council of Eminent Persons (UCEP), Inc. He is a poet, Griot, journalist, and a cultural and political activist. He is an ordained Minister of the Gospel. Senior Advisor to the Voice of Liberia newsmagazine. In 2012, he Co-authored Djogbachiachuwa: The Liberian Literature Anthology; his book of poems: TIPOSAH: Message from the Palava Hut will soon be on the market. Nyanseor can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org