← back to list

Who is He to Us?

Posted by Mary Onoja on

Some years ago, back in Africa, Nigeria, I became a Christian at twelve, accepting and confessing Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. From the moment I did that, I knew that something in me was no longer the same, and a significant change had occurred deep inside me. I was a seventh grader then and was so excited that I wanted to share with everyone I came across that I had accepted Christ and that I was different.
I did share my story of how I became "new" with a few people around me, but I found out that I didn't need to do much talking for them to notice that some things about me had changed; instead, some of my schoolmates wanted to know and came to ask why I was acting differently. They saw a difference in everything around me. The change didn't just occur inside of me; it also manifested on my outside. I had the opportunity to talk about my new friend, Jesus. This "newness" gave me a new name. I was nick-named "Mary, the mother of Jesus" by my classmates.
Interestingly, that didn't upset or offend me in any way. Instead, I was excited and overjoyed because that was evidence that I was changed, and the change was noticeable. I always responded to my new name/title with a big smile and a wave. I was proud of my new identity. The title changed to "Sister Mary" in high school, even with some of my teachers. In college, one of my professors nicknamed me "Mary, the mother of the class," this name has stuck with me to date. All of these names indicate a significant change that I have always been so proud and excited to show off to others around me.
Mathew 5:14 says, "...A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden." For weeks, we have been taught how to showcase Jesus in our lives, homes, environments, and everywhere. We have been asked what Jesus is to us: Is He in charge/control of our lives? Is He our partner, friend, confidante? Who is He to us? And what are we to Him? Are we His friends, partners, representatives/ambassadors? Are we ashamed or proud of Him? He is always proud of us and engraves us on the palms of His hands (Is.49:16). He calls us friends. There is no greater love than the love He has for us.
There will be times when this relationship will be tested. I had those times, too, and my faith was so shaken. An example was when I lost my mom. I was a junior in college, and she was only forty-seven years old. This faith of mine was so shaken. I was close to my mom, and she loved the Lord with all her heart. I wondered why God allowed that to happen. I thought He was my friend and wouldn't let anything hurt me. Amidst that dark cloud of pain and sorrow, I kept hearing, "I am still God, and I am still here." Those words were hard to believe at the time. Finally, after a while, I lifted my head. With tears and deep pain, I mustered the strength to say, "God, You are still God, and situations or circumstances do not determine Your greatness, sovereignty, and supremacy." Trust me, I wasn't sure if I believed those words that I uttered at that time. But a few months later, someone who had just lost her dad came to me and asked that I pray with her because she felt I handled my mom's death "well." I smiled at her and said, "I didn't." She was surprised when I shared my story with her. "Who would have thought?" she said. Remember His words: "...for my strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinth. 12:9).


to leave comment

Joyce Wachsmuth Dec 8, 2023 2:31pm

Mary, your blog blessed me as you shared your story. You are an inspiration to all of us in our community.
In Him,
Joyce Wachsmuth

Jane Lewis Dec 8, 2023 3:35pm

Mary, thank you so much for sharing a part of your story with us, and for reminding us that God is sovereign and trustworthy, and that He is always with us. I do see our Lord shining through you.