A few months ago I embarked on a journey with a colleague to a small village in the outskirts of Ogun state: AKONKO. With less than 300 inhabitants, Akonko is a remotely-located village without electricity, telecommunications or most of the luxuries of life enjoyed by most people in Lagos. I had developed the habit of visiting the village once every 2 months after my initial visit in December 2014 when I helped document a medical retreat.
As was my custom during each visit, I took a stroll into a nearby forest in an attempt to take some pictures of any living thing that had legs. I would eventually discover that the forest had more grasshoppers than all the grasshoppers I’ve see in all my years of residing in Lagos. Never in my life had I seen grasshoppers looking so beautiful. Perhaps it was because I was using a camera/lens combination that helped me zoom into the details of the seemingly-annoying creatures.
I eventually stumbled on a grasshopper with a broken antennae. It wasn’t until I had spent a few minutes shooting did I eventually notice the flaw in the grasshopper’s head. At that moment, I realized that only 3 entities knew exactly what was wrong with this particular species: myself, my colleague & God. In fact I felt God had led me to this particular grasshopper for a specific reason & lesson.
For many of us that might be unaware, a grasshopper’s antennae are thin and very sensitive. They help the grasshopper feel its way around. That’s why antennae are often called feelers. A grasshopper smells with its antennae too. As a grasshopper feels its way around, it picks up scents from the surroundings. The grasshopper’s antenna is something like our nose but sense more information than our nose. It perceives odours, touch, humidity, vibration, wind velocity and direction.
So a lot is to be risked if any of the antennae were to be faulty. Talk of being paralyzed in certain abilities. Infact, this particular fault might not be repairable by scientists. I’m sure the grasshopper is still able to manage with one functioning one but nothing beats having two, else God would not have given it two. It’s like having one eye instead of two. Its like having one ear instead of two. Its like having 50% of your heart doing all the blood-pumping. Its like being heartbroken.
I realized that I had a few things in common with the antennae-broken grasshopper. Apart from the fact that it seemed like a gentle guy (how else will you explain the fact that it sat patiently for over 5 minutes while I took pictures), it must have been through some traumatic situations for it to have landed in that state of antennae brokenness. I too was heart broken. I had gone through (and still going through) a few situations that seemed to have broken my heart. I felt what the grasshopper felt.
At that moment of realization, the words of Jesus hit me. He had promised his disciples that He "would neither leave them nor forsake them." He had promised them that He would be with them till the end regardless of the accidents, turbulence, problems, and antennae-broken situations they go through. The same promise is available to you. He knows what you’re going through. He knows & understands that you can’t feel, see, sense or act the way you used to because your heart has been broken by someone or something or you. And though there’s the tendency to FEEL that no one understands or KNOWS what you’re going through, trust me when I say this: He understands, He KNOWS.
And though the broken antennae might be the first thing you or others see, all He can see is the BEAUTY in you. All He can see is the potentials you’re capable of. Potentials that can only be fully realized if we’re conscious of the fact that He has promised not to leave us or forsake us. He has promised to ALWAYS be with us.
Whatever the antennae-broken situation that you might have found yourself in that has made you loose your ability to perceive, feel or be what you’re meant to be, realize that the consciousness of this weakness of yours should make you depend more on Him for strength. For in our weakness is His strength made manifest.
Something tells me that this grasshopper will probably outlive its healthy counterparts because if God could use it to teach me a lesson, He must be a very caring God that will not allow the antennae-broken grasshopper to die without being a blessing to a human called Seun Akisanmi.