It wasn’t strange to hear the same loud voice shout from over the fence again. He was just passing the street as usual and calling out to whoever was listening, in his funny Hausa intonation, “Iron condemn, condemn iron!” Those who had metal scraps no longer useful to them would come out and bargain their metal scraps for a price, the price was usually far lower than the original cost of the product, at most probably 10% of the purchasing price. Dad once had an argument with Mum for selling an entire generator at Ten thousand Naira. In her defence, the generator wasn’t useful and was occupying useful space in the house (it had truly been bad and sitting there for years).
Mum had decided that the generator was not needed anymore. Maybe there was a time it was useful, but right now, all it did was occupy space. She didn’t need it anymore. Dad had left the generator there for so long, it was surprising that he even still remembered it was at the back of the house. But he hoped that one day it would be repaired and be useful again, but Mum was done with it sitting there and defecting her beautiful compound. The metalscrapper wasn’t concerned about how useless it was to my mother, or if it could be repaired like my Dad. He was probably going to sell it at a higher price to someone else, to someone for who it was useful.
To everyone around you, you might have become just like metal scrap, or in the man’s words, a condemned iron. No one thinks highly of you. If they’d ever see you as useful it is as a tool. And maybe you have even settled for that kind of usefulness. Maybe you have forgotten how beautiful you are as a lady because every guy wants to have sex with you and be done with it. Maybe you have looked for self-worth from your father or those you look up to, but they have disregarded you far worse than anyone you know. I don’t know you, all I can do is guess what a mess your life has been or is. But I do know someone who does know you and knows everything that you have been through. Maybe your question right now is where was he when you went through all that you did, or why he allowed it.
You see, I’m still very much a young guy but I have had my share of a rough life. I have been ashamed, disregarded myself, and unable to reach out for help to anyone. I have cried secretly while putting on a brave front with a smile to match. I had no confidence in myself, no could I learn to trust anyone. But right now, just like Mary Magdalene said in the movie The Chosen, all I know is this; “I was one way, and now I’m completely different. And the thing that happened in between was him.” Help reached out to me! If you ask me why I believe in God, and why I can’t and will never deny him, this is what I’ll say; “When I did those things that made me ashamed of myself, when I felt completely broken and rejected, when I struggled to meet every goal I had and failed, and when I could have ended my life, in each of those moments, He was there. He watched, and he never judged me. He gave me one more chance every time I failed, and now, I have lost count of how many ‘one more chance’ I have received yet he remains here.” If this is what psychologists say is wishful thinking or a delusion, then I’m glad I am deluded. Why should I reject a ‘delusion’ that has made me a better person even though I am ever conscious of my mistakes and imperfections? But it is not a delusion, God stood by me through it all and still stands with me till this day, assuring me that even though I don’t look like his plans for me, I will get there, and I believe him – that is what faith is!
Hey, dear scrap! Rejected useless and worthless piece of trash! That’s what they called you? And you believed them? Let me show you something about yourself you should know. Have you stumbled upon the word Zion before? See what is said of her,
“The sons also of them that afflicted you shall come bending low unto you; and all they that despised you shall bow themselves down at the soles of your feet; and they shall call you, The city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 60:14, KJ2000).
He called you Zion, it means ‘Parched place’. There is a story behind it; just like you were rejected, just like you felt abandoned by God, Zion was forsaken for a moment. It had seemed to last forever, it seemed like God intended to destroy her, and salvation was out of reach for her. But he came when no one thought he would come, from afar, he climbed her hills and walked her lands. He brought healing with him and wiped her tears. Those who had robbed her of all her years, broken down her walls, and left her bare, void of any defences, saw her again and could not close their mouths. They stayed away from her in fear, they realised that she had a new King, one who was jealous to protect her walls. He had vowed never to let her shed tears again. This same King calls you his Zion. And though it doesn’t look like it, he says he will make you beautiful in all situations and cause you to be the joy of the whole earth (Psalms 48:1-2). Believe it.
Though you have been rejected, God hasn’t rejected you, neither will he. The metal scrapper bargains the pieces of metal for very insignificant prices making them seem even more useless. But your King gave all that he had to make sure he gets your attention, he did it because you were worth it. He was stripped, mocked, beaten; that was the price he paid to get you, and he died showing you that you aren’t useless at all, you were worth his life. And to let the world know that it was all for you, a price he wanted to pay, he breathed his last words when he was done, “It is finished.”And now that you belong to him? He is not just going to leave you at the back of the house, he makes you into something beautiful!
Did you know that the metal scraps that are gathered are at the end made into car parts or into something so wonderful that you can’t believe it was the same scrap of metal that you gave out and made you feel good about selling your dirt? I bet that if you knew that each metal scrap you sold so cheaply were used for making planes, automobiles, or even road constructions, you would have sold it at a higher price. That was exactly why he purchased you with the greatest price, his own life! Nobody knew your worth, but he did.
I hope you rejoice in this joy because He redeemed you for nothing. He redeemed you to make you the envy of all who would see you. You have now been called with a higher calling, to live not for yourselves but for the one who has called you beloved. Your purpose is now in God, and it is something wonderful, to be a light to those who have lost their way. “But you are people whom God has chosen to belong to him. You are a group that worship God like priests, and you rule with God like kings. You are a people group that belongs to God, so that you might proclaim the wonderful things he has done. He has called you from your former ways, when you were ignorant of his truth, and he has made you understand the marvellous true things about him.” (1 Peter 2:9, UDB).
Broken and desolate:
Her mourning was loud as a rising wind.
She had lifted her head to wail,
But there was none to wipe her tears.
His coming broke the night that rested over her,
He touched her heart and her sorrow went still.
She didn’t know who he was but he had done something in her.
A Prince, her King.
He was all that made her complete now.
Now all who see her call her;
Blessed is the Parched City,
The City of her God.Daniel Azenabor