I have a small car that I love so much though at times it doesn’t seem to love me back. You see, someone in Japan decided they no longer need their seven year old car. But having been driven on smooth Japanese roads, the car was new to me. After it was left by its Japanese owner it found true love again in Africa. Divorce could not be the end of life for this car.
After two more years of jumping and landing on African roads, this nine year old car now looks forty. But I still love it, it’s well kept by the standards of this continent. I also love it more because I think some neighbors are envious of it. It feels good to have something good, and having a car that attracts some envy is like showing up at an event accompanied by a beautiful woman. Men know that feeling.
But last Sunday was one of those days this car decides it hates me a little. I live in a gated community. The landlords on the street where I live decided to install a gate at the beginning of the row of houses. Never mind that there is no other community facility worthy mentioning and anyone can just pass through at will, the mere presence of a gate makes ours a gated community.
The landlords decided this gated community does not need proper parking spaces so we park our jalopies at the front of the apartment blocks. The drivers in our gated community know each other well because the cars are parked like beans in a can and you have to wake someone at 6am every morning to move their vehicle.
That’s how I know Bule, my envious neighbor, who has a car so old it looks like the grandfather to mine. If his car ran for president, it would be Robert Mugabe coming back to power.
On Sunday my car refused to start just as Bule was coming out. I say refused because I have a relationship with this car and I think it wanted to embarrass me.
Bule waved cheerfully, ‘Good morning neighbor’.
There was nothing good about that morning but even if you are dying of hunger if someone says ‘How are you’, you respond ‘Fine’.
So like a robot I responded, ‘Good morning Bule’.
‘Eh, today your car has refused?’
The satisfaction in his voice was louder than his smile.
‘Yes, i think the battery is low’.
‘Oh well, I could jump start it for you but I don’t have any jumper cables. Sorry man. Just trust in God and it will be fine’ he said as he slid into his car with his gracious wife and perfect two kids and drove off.
Trust in God and it will be fine? I go to the same church with Bule and I don’t remember anywhere in the bible that says trust in God and your car will be fine. Though I think there is a verse that says love your neighbor and give him a lift to church if he is in need.
I don’t blame Bule. He is just one of an increasing number of people who will pray for you but not help you. These are the people who when you are hospitalized will text you, ‘Everything will be fine, trust in God’ and never visit you.
They will hear of a destitute cousin in need of school fees and even though they can spare a coin, all they will do is say, ‘I hope he gets help’.
They will see a man thrown off a moving bus, take a photo of him writhing in pain, post to social media and caption, ‘So sad, may God help him’.
Yep! A friend loses someone, they don’t visit to comfort the family instead they type ‘May God comfort you’ like they want God to come down here, make a cup of hot chocolate for the bereaved and hold their hands.
There is nothing wrong with praying for someone or wishing them God’s intervention but if God places us in a position to help shouldn’t we actually help? Well, it could be something big like donating blood to a stranger in need or it could be something small like giving your stranded neighbor a lift to church. Pray and help where you can.