LAGOS: Mega City…Mega Wahala!

Traffic snarl on Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, recently

Traffic snarl on Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, recently

HE that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of Jehovah. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” (James 1: 6-8) So, let us pray to God to give us clear vision that we may know where to stand and what to stand for. A dream that isn’t clear won’t get you anywhere. You should know what you want to accomplish with your life. Who do you want to become? What do you want to contribute? What does success look like for you? If you don’t define success, you won’t be able to achieve it. Most people don’t get what they want because they don’t know what they want. They have not defined their dream in clear and compelling details. The indispensable step to getting what you want out of life is: decide what you want and exactly how you want it. Being specific does not necessarily mean having every detail thought out before you move forward. But your main goal must be clear. The rest will unfold as you move forward, making adjustments as you go.

It is important that you ask yourself: “Am I single-minded?” “Fix your gaze directly before you,” Solomon admonished in the Torah. It does not take any effort to let your mind drift and drown. But it takes great effort to set your mind to the task of developing a clear goal and compelling dream. For me, the process of goal setting begins with questions I must ask myself; questions of how to add value to my life, the lives of my family members and the lives of members of my community.

The dream must always be rooted in the dreamer, in her experiences, circumstances, talents and opportunities. However, a clear picture may come to you all at once, in lightning-bolt fashion. But for most people, they need to keep working at it, clarifying it. The process, though difficult, isn’t any reason to give up. Just keep working on it; a clear dream is worth fighting for. If you have clear sense of where you are, what you know and what you want, you are well on your way to embracing the thing God put you on earth to do.

Moses spent the first two-thirds of his life working out what God wanted him to do. He tried to do things his own way, only to fail. But he had a heart for Jehovah and a vision from God; eventually he succeeded. In spite of beating about the bush for years, you will succeed too. A corollary to being single-minded, as a panacea for success, is prayer. “Ask and you will receive that your joy may be full.” (John 16:24) If your prayers for the fulfillment of your dream aren’t answered, then search your relationship with Jehovah. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, Jehovah will not hear me.” (Psalm 66:18) Anything that adversely affects your relationship with God also affects your prayers. Friendship with God gives you favour; intimacy gives you access. Jesus said: “If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you.” (John 15:7) Being single-minded and having faith in God enable your prayers to be answered. “Without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Heb. 11:6)

Three words stand out here. First, believe: Jehovah’s deepest longing is to be believed. Second, diligently: when you pray, put your soul in it. Third, God: God is not some force; he is your heavenly Father, who knows that you need all the things you are praying for. Your priority is to build your relationship with Jehovah. Show patience until God’s time comes. See how God tested Joseph. Can’t you hear Satan say: “I thought your dream said you were to be prime minister; what are you doing in prison?” But it only looked like a prison. Really, it was the birthplace of destiny. Joseph saw God’s promise fulfilled, in God’s time. By being single-minded, patient, prayerful, you will find fulfillment too.

Our champion this week is Professor Stefan Hell, the German Physicist who won the 2014 Nobel Prize in chemistry. He overcame a 120-year-old problem in biophysical chemistry. It concerned light microscopes. The limits had been set since 1873. One night, the desire to overcome such a limit overcame him. Hell got round the problem by using a trick. Experimenting with losers, he made fluorescent molecules attached to cells flow one after the other. It was revolutionary; it won him the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry – the epitome of renown. Hell knows his success resulted in overcoming yet another type of limit: national borders. As a child, he left Romania for Germany. But it was in Finland that he worked on his dream for a stimulated emission depletion microscope.

Yet, Germany again became his base when he joined Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Gottingen. He has been the institute’s director since 2002. It was there that he was able to achieve his dreams. He was able to bring his new microscope to the market. He even had to turn down an offer from Harvard. Instead, he worked with the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg. He is still kicking, a middle age man in his sixties.

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