Sought and Found: Chapter 3

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AND what of Sholabi? The story of her conversion is almost like that of another miracle. At the very hour when her son began to recover, the Holy Spirit moved over the waters of her soul, and she began to think. If she had ever thought before, it was only about how she might escape the anger of the idols she so greatly feared.
As Fakoyo slowly recovered strength, mother and son had many quiet talks about the new faith the poor old priestess had so feared and hated. She had many questions to ask, and though her son had only a very small knowledge of the written word, he had been made "wise unto salvation," and very gladly he became her teacher.
One day the wife of the preacher paid her a visit, and said, "Sholabi, God has been very good to you and to us all in sparing your son. Your gods could do nothing for him. Will you not love and serve the one true God?" She did not reply, but sat silent and thoughtful. For days she had been facing the question; but for her, a priestess of Ifa, the leader of all the women for miles round, a confession of faith would, she well knew, be no easy matter.
God is very patient and very gracious in winning souls, and it was her old friend Ogunyabi who, though not herself a Christian, really helped her to decide for Christ. Meeting her one day she said, "The gods have given you back your son, even though he has become a Christian.”
Sholabi felt she could no longer be silent, and replied, "No, it was not our gods; they could do nothing, though I prayed to them night and day, and offered many chickens and goats. The Christians prayed to their God, and He is stronger than our gods.”
The friends parted, and Sholabi went to her hut with a new joy filling her soul.
Her life had confessed the truth her heart had for some time believed. The next Lord's day she went openly with her son to the house of the preacher, and joined the Christians in their simple service of prayer and praise.
Her conversion made a great stir for miles round. It was bad enough for a dozen or more of the young men to have joined the faith, but worse, far worse, for the oldest priestess of Ifa, the most respected woman in the village, to have joined the Christians! Every means within their reason was tried to induce her to return to the worship of the idols, and only their fear of the white man kept some of the bolder ones from using personal violence.
Both mother and son stood the storm of trouble that gathered about them, and at last the day came when by baptism they were to make a public confession of their faith by receiving Christian baptism. It came at last, that glad, never-to-be-forgotten day, when the white missionary came to their village, and, with several other converts from the heathen, mother and son were baptized.
But the work of God in that heathen village went on, and more souls were won for Christ. As Sholabi walked slowly home after her baptism, she was met by her old friend Ogunyabi, who had been first puzzled and then impressed by the news of her conversion. Noticing her bright, happy face she said, "Do you not fear the gods a little, now you have left them?”
Her answer was, "Do you not remember the day that I told you that my heart was very heavy, because of the Christians and their God? For many years I served the gods of our fathers, and my only reward was fear. Now I have learned to know the true God, the God of the Christians, and He gives me peace and joy, and when I die I shall go to His house in heaven and be happy with Him forever. Why should I fear? The way of the Christians is a good way, as my son told me. Will you not come along it with me? The gods of the land can give you nothing but fear; my God can give you everything.”
Ogunyabi looked at her with a strange, wistful gaze. At last she said, "I know nothing about this way, but I should like to feel as you do. But I am only a poor woman; you have been a priestess, and have often talked with the gods. Your God may speak to you, but surely He would not speak to me.”
“My God is not like the gods of our fathers. His great book says He will be found by any who seek Him, and even little children may come to Him," replied her friend.
“Then I, too, will be a Christian. The gods of our people have never made me happy. If your God will have me I will serve Him all the days that are left to me.”
The two friends turned back to the house of the preacher, and while they knelt in prayer Ogunyabi knew that God had spoken to her, for His love was shed abroad in her heart by the Holy Spirit.